A Student Association leader is proposing a new policy to decrease the cost of double-sided printing at campus printer kiosks.
Logan Malik, the chairperson for the SA’s student life committee, says offering a discount to students who print double-sided will provide an incentive to reduce the amount of paper used at GW.
The policy, which Malik said he is still planning, aims to decrease paper consumption on top of saving students money. If the policy’s discounted prices increased double-sided printing by 20 percent, the University would save 1,027,000 pages annually, according to Malik’s policy report.
Malik, who ran for his SA seat on improving sustainability, said he first began to work on the proposal after learning that the University used more than 4,000 cases of paper annually in each of the past two years. Each case contains 5,000 pieces of paper, meaning GW used more than 20 million pages in one year, according to the proposal.
“For a massive institution, finding a way to lower that will have a massive impact over time,” Malik said. “It wasn’t until I did the research that I realized how much changing these policies could have an effect.”
Meghan Chapple, the director of the Office of Sustainability, said paper reduction is a “critical” component of decreasing the University’s carbon footprint, and that it fits in with GW’s overall sustainability goals.
Chapple said sustainability officials are supportive of students like Malik who propose sustainability projects.
“Logan is keen on addressing both environmental and cost issues with his proposal,” Chapple said. “He is addressing a key component of any natural resource issue – the involvement of every person in reducing waste.”
Chapple said the sustainability office and procurement department have partnered to remove non-recycled paper from iBuy, the system offices use to purchase products. Currently, users can only purchase paper with 30, 50 or 100 percent recycled fiber content.
Peak Sen Chua, MISPH-U, said SA members were surprised to find out that there wasn’t a cost reduction for double-sided printing.
“We were pretty outraged that the small price increase for double-sided printing actually existed,” Chua said.
Similar programs have had trouble getting off the ground in the past, which initially made some SA senators wary of Malik’s proposal, Chua said.
“Past administrations have worked on it and failed,” he said. “The conflict, if any, was probably about whether someone would seriously and methodically pursue this.”
Malik said he will meet with representatives from Academic Technologies this month to discuss the the proposal’s logistics.
Printing through the WEPA printing kiosks currently costs $0.07 cents per black-and-white side and $0.85 cents per color side, with no discounts for double-sided printing.
Malik’s research in his policy proposal states that when comparing the printing prices with other peer schools, GW’s mono printing prices are higher than the average at GW’s peer schools.
The proposal states that many of GW’s market basket schools offer a discount to students, staff and faculty for double-sided printing, and that GW charges the second-highest rate for black-and-white double-sided printing. The highest is the University of Southern California, where students pay $0.20 per page, according to USC’s technology office.
Although GW is the only school out of its peers that is in contract with WEPA, the company offers discounts on double-sided printing at other universities. At the University of Georgia, which uses WEPA printing services, students pay $0.06 per black-and-white page but only $0.03 per side for double-sided prints.
Calandra Waters Lake, the director of sustainability at the College of William and Mary, said the proposal would be a simple solution to a larger sustainability problem.
“It would certainly help promote sustainability through less resource use, but also demonstrate a sustainability connection that is both environmentally and economically savvy,” Waters Lake said. “The encouraging part is that it is something people can do relatively easily.”
Grace Noyola, the communications manager for sustainability at Michigan State University, said reducing paper consumption at a university can directly affect the paper industry’s production.
“The more we are able to reduce our own use, the less incentive the industry has to continue producing paper,” Noyola said. “This would be a direct benefit for the land that is displaced in the process of papermaking.”