ITC printers seeing double


The Instructional Technology Center printers’ switch to double-sided printing contributes to the UI’s effort to go “green” — without helping students save any money.

But not everyone is complaining.

“With the economy the way it is right now, I don’t blame them for keeping [the price] the same,” UI freshman Hillary Block said. “I think the price right now is pretty fair, especially since you get $10 of free printing.”

UI nursing major Beth Van Toorn agreed.

“[The price] is pretty decent,” she said. “It’s more any other place.”

During spring break, all capable ITC printers defaulted to printing on both sides as part of the UI Student Government’s plan to create sustainable computing on campus. According to the ITC website, the switch will save an estimated 1.75 million sheets of paper per semester and lessen the environmental effect of printing on campus.

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Chris Clark, the UI’s manager of Learning Spaces Technology, said the switch has been in the works since the fall of 2008. He said both he and UISG officials preferred a switch mid-semester.

“We wanted to do it in the middle of the semester instead of at the beginning to increase awareness,” Clark said.

Block said the switch is beneficial, although she didn’t know about it until she printed something Monday morning.

“I like it because I have a class that has 20 to 25 pages of notes,” she said. “[Double-sided printing] means less paper I have to waste and carry around.”

According to the ITC website, paper is the least expensive component of printing — a single sheet of paper costs the UI around $0.004.

Clark said the change could save the UI up to $7,000 a semester, but replacement costs for printer parts specific to duplex printing — the double-sided printing — may eat up some of the savings.

“We expect those [parts] to break more easily,” he said, noting printers that used to do approximately 5,000 duplex printing pages a month will now print an estimated 100,000.

Even with the switch, UI faculty, students, and staff can still print one-sided if they choose — what Block says she’ll do if she has something to hand in for a class.

But Van Toorn said she’ll still use duplex printing, including for assignments that are turned in.
“They can just as easily read it on the back side,” she said. “I’ve never had a teacher complain about it.”

Block, a communication-studies major, also said she’ll use the ITCs more now that the printers default to double-sided.

“It will definitely be an incentive to use it in the future,” she said — ITCs are her primary source of printing since her computer broke.

All ITC printers with a green sticker reading “reduce your carbon footprint” are duplex-ready, Clark said, but he noted that some departmental computer labs may not be duplex capable.

Color printers will continue to print one-sided, unlike the rest of ITC printers, because most color printouts are intended to be only one page, according to the ITC’s website. Color duplex printing will still be available.

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