Limits to printing proposed

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Limits to printing proposed

Erika Ward

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While waiting for what seemed like an interminable amount of time for a student in the library to finish printing, Western Illinois University student Elizabeth Flesher said that she was inspired to write to President Jack Thomas asking him to limit free printing offered by Western.

 “When I was in the library one day, it was really irritating,” Flesher said.  “This one girl was printing for 20 minutes. In that 20 minutes, I drafted a mini-proposal and sent it to the president of the university.”

 According to Flesher, a recreation, parks and tourism administration major, Western is falling behind other public schools in the state.

 “We’re the last public institution in Illinois to do this,” Flesher said. “No other public institution in Illinois does not have a quota. We’re the last ones.”

 Flesher said that she received printing statistics from the Leslie F. Malpass Library and was amazed with the amount of printing done by students and the public. 

 Flesher’s proposal asks to limit student users to 300 pages for undergraduate students and 500 pages for graduate students for free each semester and charge $0.05 per page after the quota has been filled.

 After being presented at a faculty senate meeting, the issue was brought up at a Student Government Association (SGA) meeting where it was not met with friendly responses. The proposal is being presented by the Horn Environmental Learning Project (HELP) at Western.

 “The whole point of this is it’s an environmentally friendly initiative,” Flesher said. “(The statistics) were kind of astonishing to me because one student alone printed off over 20,000 pieces of paper in less than a two year period.”

 Flesher also spoke about the public users utilizing the free printing at Western as well.  Public users are able to print at no cost because Western students are allowed free printing.

 “The public users printed over 270,000 pages in less than a two year period for free,” Flesher said. “You can’t charge those public users because there’s a state law that’s standing (that says) if you’re not charging the students, you can’t charge the public because it’s a public institution.”

 One of the most outspoken critics on the issue was student member of the Board of Trustees, Michael Quigley. 

 “This is not about saving energy or trees – this is about saving money and/or generating revenue,” Quigley said.

 Flesher responded to SGA’s accusations that this proposal is an attempt to increase revenue for Western.

“I’m not going to disagree with that,” Flesher said.  “It very much so is a revenue issue.”

Flesher went on to describe the sustainability reasoning behind the issue.

“Sustainability has three pillars,” Flesher said.  “In order to sustain a sustainability initiative or an eco-friendly or an environmentally-friendly initiative, you have to have all three of these pillars in place or you’re going to fail.”

Flesher said the first pillar of sustainability is having an environmentally friendly initiative.  The second pillar requires that the initiative fulfill a social aspect.  Thirdly, the initiative must involve economics.

“Of course this is a revenue generating issue,” Flesher said.  “When you start wasting money in an initiative, you can’t support it.”

According to Flesher’s proposal written to the IT Governance members, over 120 trees have been cut down to provide paper to the university within the last couple years.

“The goal is not to severely cap someone’s printing,” Flesher said. “The goal is to stop the excess. Excess, in this day and age, has gone away.”