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Campus Life + Science & Tech

Reducing the Paper Trail

University to centralize, network, and charge for printing


Nearly 200 new computer workstations will be part of a revamped Mugar first floor this fall. The area will also house BU’s central Print Center, which will print jobs sent from any computer on campus connected to the BU network. Photo by Chris Berdik

Don’t print this story. In a bid to save both money and trees, Boston University will begin charging for printing in the fall semester. In addition, printing services are being centralized, networked, and hopefully speeded up, but late-night printing orders, generally from 2 a.m. to 7 a.m., won’t be processed until the next morning.

Undergraduates, faculty, and staff will be allocated 100 free sheets of printed paper per semester on the University’s high-speed printers, but every additional sheet will cost 12 cents. The per-semester allocations for graduate students will be 500 sheets, and 1,000 sheets for law students.

Any computer connected to the Boston University campus network will be capable of printing to the University’s high-speed printers, which will now be located exclusively in print centers in Mugar Memorial Library and the School of Law (law students only) and in mailrooms at the following locations: Warren Towers, Myles Standish Hall, Towers, the Student Village, Rich Hall, and 518 Park Dr. (South Campus). Printing fees will be deducted from Convenience Points.

Hours for the Mugar Print Center will be:
Saturday – 8 a.m. to 11 p.m.
Sunday – 10 a.m. to 2 a.m.
Monday to Thursday – 7 a.m. to 2 a.m.
Friday – 7 a.m. to 11 p.m.

Unless otherwise posted, mailroom hours are:
Saturday – noon to 6 p.m.
Sunday – noon to 1 a.m.
Monday to Thursday – 9 a.m. to 1 a.m.
Friday – 9 a.m. to 6 p.m.

These changes are part of an overhaul of the University’s computer and printing services, centered on Mugar Library. By the end of the summer, much of the library’s first floor will have been transformed into BU Common@Mugar, an updated common study area outfitted with printing, scanning, photocopying, and IT support. The aging machines that used to populate the library will be replaced with about 200 Thin Client computer workstations; more than 100 of these will be clustered on the first floor in common areas with soft seating, tables, and whiteboards.

“It’s all meant to be conducive to group study and collaboration,” says Catherine McLaughlin, Mugar’s administrative coordinator.

In addition to the new computers, the library’s reference desk will be renamed the Research Center to go along with a new IT Help Center, a Scan and Copy Center (with free scanning), and a Print Center. Also as of September, the University’s other main computer lab, at 111 Cummington St., will be no more, while ResLabs, the common areas in residences furnished with computers and printers, will each have two Thin Client computer workstations, wireless Internet, and LCD displays, but no printers.

The new printing policy is based on the recommendations of a working group convened to study the issue last spring by University President Robert A. Brown. Among the findings: in fiscal year 2008, nearly 13 million sheets of paper were consumed by print jobs at computer labs managed by BU’s Information Technology office, a paper trail that could stretch from Boston to Jacksonville, Fla., and back.

When the idea of a printing fee was being debated last spring, some students argued that their tuition covered printing, and therefore any additional costs would be double-charging. But Michael Krugman, associate vice president for information systems and technology, who chaired the working group, says the lack of a direct connection between the volume of printing and its cost “caused huge waste.” He estimated printing costs for the University to be “north of a million dollars [a year], maybe several million dollars,” driven by much duplication and unnecessary printouts.

“Students can now buy a printer for $50 to $100 that’s more capable than what we provide,” Krugman said last spring. “We believe that pretty much every student owns a printer, but they don’t necessarily bring it to the University.” With the new policy, that may change.

“A decade or two ago, it was an affordable service for the University to provide,” says Krugman, “but as more people did everything electronically, including printing out textbooks delivered online, it became an open-ended liability for us, particularly now as we focus on sustainability.”

The new policy will be overseen by Tracy Schroeder, Boston University’s new vice president for information systems and technology. We asked her for more details.

BU Today: How will the new printing system work?
You will submit the print job from any computer connected to the BU campus network, including your personal computer. Then, you will go into the online BU MyPrint site and enter your Kerberos password to release the job.

Printing will be double-sided, unless you request otherwise. The Print Center will hold onto a hard copy for five days before discarding it.

Where should people turn for troubleshooting and technical support?
They should contact the IT Help Center, which will be located in the new BU Common@Mugar and at the main offices at 533 Comm Ave.

Do you expect delays as print jobs queue up?
In the old system, for an average, typical job, there was a four- to five-minute delay between when a job was submitted and when it came out of the printer. We don’t know how heavy the demand for printing from personal computers will be and whether that will increase the queue for printing, but in general when you charge for printing, the volume goes down. So I expect that delay to be even shorter, on the order of a few minutes.

Are any of these changes affecting the Medical Campus?
Not at present. Their semester starts earlier than the Charles River Campus, and so they weren’t going to be ready to deploy anything for the fall. We decided to defer any decisions until January 2010.

How will faculty and staff printing be affected?
This new policy doesn’t apply to departmental printers or local printers in offices. It only applies to centralized printing at the University computer lab locations and the print stations located in student residential buildings. If a faculty or staff member chose to submit a job to one of the high-speed printers at Mugar, then it would be counted against their allocation.

Chris Berdik can be reached at cberdik@bu.edu.


47 Comments on Reducing the Paper Trail

  • Anonymous on 08.07.2009 at 11:04 am

    While I applaud the University’s efforts to reduce consumption and waste, as a graduate student, I do find this policy to be a bit frustrating. 500 sheets for a semester, will only allow for about 16 articles (average of 30 pages each) to be printed. If double sided is counted as one sheet, this is still only about 30 articles. Given that most of the reading assignments are given via blackboard and student link, I find this immensely frustrating. I wonder if it would be more cost effective for professors to place all online reading within a course packet, and charge students for the packet (though maybe not given book fees these days). Furthermore, students conducting intensive research projects and or a thesis will incur large costs as 500 sheets will quickly run out.

  • Anonymous on 08.07.2009 at 11:45 am

    Second the above comment

    As a grad student, I find this ridiculous. 500 sheets is one week of reading for one class. Ideally, I’d like to be green and not print everything, but in order to excel I need to take notes alongside the readings. Am I wrong for studying in that way? Additionally, when you’re reading over 500 pages a week it is very straining on the eyes to do it on the computer, which is why the print outs are absolutely necessary. Will BU pay for laser surgery after this year to get my eyes fixed?

    Will BU up the amount of loans we can take out in order to meet printing costs? With the amount of work that grad students are assigned, it’s absurd to think that we will be required to pay for all of this printing on top of the 800 books bill, oh and the 50,000 tuition bill.

    BU should have some faith that students aren’t printing out documents without reason. Most of us are just trying to get our schoolwork.

  • Anonymous on 08.07.2009 at 2:35 pm

    24 Hour Study

    Also, will there be areas on campus available for 24 hour study? Cummington was really important for students who worked at night. Extending Mugar’s hours to 2am does not make up for this lack.

  • Steve on 08.07.2009 at 8:22 pm

    Environmentally, this policy is very good, however it may unduly for some students into a further financial bind because professors force students to print out large numbers of copies for classes, and I’m not talking about term papers or short essays. For instance, I just graduated from the Film/TV department in COM, one class I had during my junior year my professor required on multiple occassions we bring in excessively high numbers of printed news articles (30-50 articles) on a topic we were interested in doing a project on so she could pointlessly check that we had the paper copies. Under this policy, I’d go through my print quota in 2 classes because of needless printing. In another screenwriting class, we had to bring in 8-10 copies of parts of a movie script we were writing about 4 or 5 times during the semester, each script being anywhere from 15-40 pages. In this instance, it was very useful for us to have the copies since the script was read aloud and proved extremely helpful. Unfortuantely, it ate my 500 page print quota very quickly and under the new policy I wouldn’t be able to bring enough scripts to one class.
    I think this policy could work, but the university must hold professors accountable for requiring students to bring in excessively large printouts, especially ones that are essentially useless like the first example from above. Printer ink is extremely expensive these days and buying cartridges and reams of paper over and over to fulfill everyday requirements for class exclusive of term papers, etc. will rack up even more unnecessary expenses for students.

  • Patrick Michaelyan on 08.09.2009 at 8:39 am

    This cuts both ways...

    I too am a Grad student, and I echo the sentiments of the other commenters.

    My concern is two-fold.

    First, the idea is to reduce the costs incurred by the University by reigning in on less-than-efficient printing practices. If the effect of this new policy is to “encourage” students to bring their own printers to school then there is one obvious issue to consider: What will be the additional energy cost of powering a new fleet of printers on campus?

    Secondly, the costs of attending this University are undoubtedly high, and they are rising. From the perspective of a Grad student, we aim to reduce our own costs in every way possible, including ways that may ultimately reduce our productivity (simply because we have a tight budget to meet). Your typical Grad student is thoughtful and aims to do more with less as much as can be achieved, and limiting his or her print quota to 500 sheets is a fine idea if, and only if, you drop the fee of $75 (I believe this is the figure) for printing per semester. In turn, individual schools (or programs) could begin discussing their own ways to meet bottom line and (personal) budgetary concerns, with respect to prinitng.

    I am totally concerned about and active in improving BU’s sustainability performance, but this new printing policy seems a bit misguided because it took the recommendations of a panel (working group), but it seems no students were included.

    Policy that affects all students should not be a top-down only affair. The possible effects — positive and negative — should be revisited and weighed out in light of other options for improving the University’s bottom line with respect to high printing costs.

  • Anonymous on 08.10.2009 at 6:28 am

    I hope this committee thought of

    I hope this committee thought about the alternative costs to this plan. I’ve studied environmental science and I can’t help but think that having thousands more printers hooked up to outlets (constantly because lets face it, most kids don’t unplug appliances they’re not using) will be more harmful than having people print too much. I hope the committee has run a pretty complex cost-benefit analysis on this issue.

    I’m glad that BU is actually making a move on reducing our impact. I’ll admit that as a freshman 3 years ago, I was stunned that BU didn’t even have recycling bins. I was also stunned by the chosen plan for heating & cooling the CAS building. The strategy is to open all windows–all the time. Winter, Spring, Summer, and Fall CAS will have open windows. Necessary? I think not. Now, BU is working on these problems (yes, they still are problems) and has followed through with many other green initiatives such as the energy efficient lightbulbs in Mugar and StuVi II (BU’s very own LEED certified building). That’s good work BU.

    I just do not agree with this day and night attitude about being environmentally friendly. These changes are going through pretty swiftly which is commendable but its just about money. BU, students are angry. Most students entered a university that didn’t care about the environment and I’m sure that was a great draw for them. Was it really the best time to increase university tuition AND increase student fees AND increase students’ out of pocket costs (because now they need printers, ink, paper, furniture to house these items) AND reduce the services they used to get for free at the same of the largest financial debacle in decades? I know that BU is trying to cut costs but the transition would go through more easily if the university tried. For example, starting printing at 12 cents? I’m sorry but that is a lot. I know for a fact that at other universities, printing is as cheap as 5 cents a page. Why not give every student a couple packages of paper or refilling their ink the first couple times? This would surely lower students’ anger. Then in the next couple of years, you could up the printing fees so that students have to pay for all their printing.

  • Anonymous on 08.10.2009 at 10:59 am

    I understand that something needed to be done about the way we use printers on campus. And to be honest I have no problem with the the restructuring of he computer labs. However, I’m relatively positive that I will probably go through my print quota with in the first 2 weeks of classes. Last semester it wasn’t unusual for me to print 50 pages or more for one night’s reading for my history class. I’ve always prited papers and essays on my own printer but printing out class readings o my personal printer would have sent me to staples for ink and paper every other week. I feel like any document printed from the blackboard or courseinfo sites shouldn’t cost students, we’re not the ones to decided to assign several dozen articles instead of finding a more comprehensive text book.

  • Anonymous on 08.10.2009 at 11:33 am

    Once again, BU’s efforts to “go green” are going to have negative externalities on the student body. What started at removing trays from dining halls to “reduce water waste” (read: save money for BU) has now gone to removing 24 hour study locations and severely limiting printing. Now, this isn’t to say that I agreed 100% with the policies before — printing was basically unlimited and you could extend your quota multiple times without any check by the University — limiting undergrads to 100 pages is pretty asinine. Anyone taking a writing class or SMG class has fallen victim to having to print multiple copies of lengthy essays, business plans, and even copies of the sources attached to them. Many courses require students to print hundreds of articles in the past – but I don’t think that every student should be punished for this formerly unchecked behavior – a 100 page limit is simply ridiculous, especially when this school wastes money on so many other things.

  • Anonymous on 08.10.2009 at 12:06 pm

    Will you still be printing cover sheets? Those sheets are some of the most wasteful things I’ve seen.

    The way to avoid them would be to release the print job only when present at the printer. (i.e. you can only release the print job via MyPrint from a computer directly connected to the printer. An example can be found at Pardee library.)

  • LM on 08.10.2009 at 6:07 pm

    stop hiding behind "green" thinking to cut cost

    BU is charging MORE for tuition this year and providing LESS – with the excuse that they’re “going green.”
    Taking away dining hall trays seemed a bit silly considering there are a lot of hot plates that come straight out of the oven, but I could at least respect that decision. There were people who load up on plates and silverware they barely use just because they could.
    But the print quota and computer lab changes are ridiculous! No university can call itself “world-class” and not offer a 24 hour study area with computer access, especially not one with a very high off-campus population. A 200 page print quota per year sounds reasonable – until you realize that many professors post entire books worth of reading on the courselink. As an upper-level history student, I’ve had multiple classes with over 50 pages of courselink reading per week – I’d go blind if I read all that tiny textbook print on a computer screen each week!
    And no, most of us do not have a great printer at our fingertips. Most of us are giving all of our money to tuition.
    Wake up BU. If you really wanted to go green, you’d install individual thermostats in every dorm room and classroom, so that the 16th floor of Warren isn’t heated the same as the 6th. You’d install new airtight windows in every old building. Stop calling yourself a non-profit while running yourself like a corporation, move a million from the presidents salary to things that affect help students’ education, and stop the lame excuses. After all, you’ve educated us to see through bs and ask real questions.

  • Anonymous on 08.10.2009 at 8:10 pm

    I hope that BU plans on buying printers for those of us who don’t have our own personal printers…

  • Megan Griffith on 08.11.2009 at 2:40 am

    Confused and Offended

    I find it extremely offensive that this decision was announced while most students were gone for the summer, directly after Summer II ended.

    Last semester, rumors about this decision ran throughout campus. Instead of including the student body in discussions about changes, those running the university chose to pretend these rumors did not exist – only to bring up these changes in August, weeks before students move into the dorms.

    In the past, I’ve heard professors tell classes that their department can’t afford to print, but students can use their print quotas. Now these print quotas have shrunk considerably. I’ve often had to print required reading for classes that can be hundreds of pages long – has BU also run a study on how harmful reading from a computer screen can be for one’s eyes?

    If I’m already spending over $600 for one semester’s worth of books, being required to purchase a printer, ink, and paper makes me resent the additional cost of being a BU student even more, especially if it’s blatantly obvious that individual printers are much less efficient.

    If you’re mandating buying all of these things, BU, be straightforward with it, and don’t exclude your students even more from the decision-making process.

  • Anonymous on 08.11.2009 at 2:53 am

    Hmph. If the university truly wanted to go green, they could start by replacing all the flimsy windows with decent double-glazed one to reduce the astronomical heating bills. And how about updating insulation materials along the way?

  • Anonymous on 08.11.2009 at 5:40 am

    This is preposterous! I rely heavily on the computer labs for printing – nothing else! How can they do this to us!

  • Anonymous on 08.11.2009 at 7:33 am

    I brought my printer to school. First semester freshman year I used it to print everything, but I realized I had to buy ink every 2 weeks! Ink is $25 for black and $25 for white, so this was not cost efficient for me. So, I started using the print labs for my large files on courseinfo and that saved me money, even if it took more time.

    However, I consistently used up my entire quota – and this was only the files on the courseinfo site that my professors put up.

    This article provides only a biased opinion on wasteful printing by students. I do not believe wasteful printing is the norm. The type of students who take the time to print out their work with the print labs usually go into the room knowing exactly what they want to print and then leave. To take the time to go to the lab, something already has to be important enough to be worth waiting in the printing line.

    This is not a “green” project by the university; this is a ploy to save money. It’s fine to try to save money, just don’t take away student essentials.

  • Anonymous on 08.11.2009 at 8:41 am

    Cover sheets and release stations

    The print job cover sheet (header, separator) is a necessary evil in a shared printing environment, as the only way to identify whose job is whose, particularly where printing volume is high. Thought of as a cover, it also affords some degree of privacy such that others cannot readily have a look at what you’ve printed.
    The job release station concept does not serve general needs. Most conspicuously, it represents a single point of failure that can greatly disrupt services. Printing needs are best served where a student might print from their dorm room, to a printer in Mugar, so as to swing by that location on the way to class in order to pick up the output – a scenario which a Web-based release mechanism makes possible.

  • j on 08.11.2009 at 9:24 am

    How are $50 printers that require $40 in ink “more capable” than dedicated high volume lazer printers?

    Most regular ink printers dont even support double sided printing so calling this a ” going green” incitiative is a giant pile of bull. Never mind the fact that ink cartridges are terrible for the environment.

    And did I understand correctly that resinet labs will now only have two computers? Even though in the past Ive had to wait because all 12 were currently in use?

    And the central lab is gone? I doubt everybody in there at 3am was doing so by choice.

    Also, to the above comment, StuVi 2 is NOT LEED certified. BU doesnt believe in certification, we’re supposed to take their word that its good enough.

  • Anonymous on 08.11.2009 at 10:46 am

    Don't expect my donation in 10 years!

    This is absolutely obnoxious. I sure hope professors start printing all the massive articles they require us to read on their “departmental printers.” The Mugar “common area” is a joke. Supposedly BU is trying to cut costs so they can “offer more financial aid to students,” but somehow they have the money to spruce up a library no one wants to spend time in anyway. I actually liked spending time in 111 and really don’t need a pretty area to do my work in. Also, 100 sheets is not enough when professors use online PDF’s as required readings. I’m glad I’m going abroad next year just so that I will only have to put up with all these lovely changes for my senior year at BU. Also, it’s quite the clever little PR scheme to claim this is to “avoid waste” when clearly the university just wants to save money and continue to charge students for services they no longer provide. Then again, this is BU…why am I even surprised. This is one more alumnus who will not be donating back to BU.

  • Anonymous on 08.11.2009 at 1:31 pm

    Green vs. Money? Both green to me

    Bad move BU, seriously bad move. What the hell am I paying for if you’ve raised tuition and cut out BASIC student needs? I don’t buy the idea that this new policy is so we can further “green” our school, as much as it is for them to make a profit in whatever way possible.

    First, why hasn’t BU considered the effects of their crusade to “go green” on students and their budget? As someone mentioned, this should not be a top-down argument…in fact, there was no argument at all, no vote, no nothing. If they want to save money and keep their face with students, hooking up thousands of printers is going to waste MUCH more money than having more printers in the printing areas. That’s TWO costs to students – buying a printer, and paying for printing fee that isn’t going to benefit us. Who did both the environmental and monetary cost-benefit analysis? They need to go back to their spreadsheets because I think they’re missing something big here…

    Secondly, why don’t we turn off lights in the academic (not residential) buildings at night? Turn off the AC or heat in these buildings at night? Replace the awful lightbulbs with energy saving ones? There is a wonderful energy-saving measure taking place in Mugar itself, has anyone noticed? The lights in the aisles (second to fifth floors) don’t turn on until someone walks in them, and then turn off when someone has left. This measure has been proven to cut energy use, and it was a STUDENT that put into effect and analyzed this. Why can’t we put this into effect in other areas of the school? Instead of having those at the top cut out what students at a UNIVERSITY truly need, and sugar coat their reasoning as being a desire to go green, why don’t we set up a student-administration committee with public meetings to come up with ideas and policies that we can truly agree with, and that can benefit everyone?

  • Anonymous on 08.11.2009 at 2:08 pm

    They take away some print labs.
    They take reduce our printing quota.
    They took away shower pressure in some dorms.
    And yet they still raised our tuition, residence hall costs and even sports pass fee.

    Obviously the administration doesn’t want the economy to effect their paychecks.

  • Anonymous on 08.11.2009 at 5:50 pm

    not possible

    How can this possibly work. I was printing out at least 50 pages PER WEEK last semester that was just REQUIRED reading for my classes? I think if they are going to reduce the print quota that much, they should at least require professors to provide hard copies of assigned readings.

  • Chase Ansok on 08.11.2009 at 10:54 pm

    This is absolutely incredible.

    If my mind had a Facebook status, it would be “blown.” This is utterly disgusting. How can a university that charges me forty-eight thousand dollars a year justify giving me only 100 pieces of paper for an entire semester? I print that much every three weeks; I’m a pre-medical student for Chrissake. Next semester, I’m taking two classes that will undoubtedly require me to print slides for each and every lecture, in addition to the notes that I type on my laptop. I’m likely going to have to buy ink every other week because of this preposterous policy. I thought BU students had a right to vote on the actions taken by the university. Am I mistaken in that? I certainly never had a chance to voice my opinion on this matter. Between BU shutting down University Computers and this nonsense, I am so happy that I only have nine more months at this institution, which clearly views its students as nothing more than five foot ten wallets that vomit money at the drop of a hat. Congratulations President Brown on making Bernie Madoff look like an upstanding gentleman. You’re swindling thousands of students and you simply don’t care.

  • Anonymous on 08.12.2009 at 3:25 am

    I actually do like this.

    I think that this is a wake up call for the BU study body. Most people seem very unhappy with this decision, but very few people seemed to do anything about it even while the rumors were spreading throughout the campus. How many facebook groups sprung up when taco bell became starbucks? Yet, a group didn’t show up on the doorstep of the Dean of Students office to ask questions and express concerns. I think the same thing has happened here.

    If you are going to complain about having to fork over 50K a year to attend BU, you should exercise your right to be part of the university. This is your money, your experience, and your soon-to-be alma mater. Get active.

  • Anonymous on 08.12.2009 at 10:35 pm

    I'm missing something.

    I must be missing something. How is this initiative in any way aiding “going green”? Sure, university owned printers will be printing less pages, but it is expressed that this will be a nonissue because students can purchase their own printers to do the same printing the university printers would be doing. So, if students are expected to still print the same things they have all along, just from different printers, then this isn’t reducing our “paper trail” at all. What a weak facade.

  • Anonymous on 08.13.2009 at 12:30 am

    This is ridiculous. While I understand and commend BU’s sudden desire to make everything green, I don’t really feel like they’re trying for greening the university moreso than their pockets. Raising Tuition, Lowering what we get with tuition, and expecting our parents to foot the bill where we cannot. Most of us are feeling the pinch of the current economic situation. Why is it that BU feels the need to make this burden WORSE? I own a printer and bring it to school. I do not have the money to keep buying ink for it. I do not have the eyesight to read hundreds of pages on a tiny screen that I cannot highlight. I get migraines if I try.

    BU is doing nothing but ensuring it’s endowment continues to shrink. What are they going to do then? Raise costs more of course. My University makes me feel like a business venture rather than a person.

  • anonymous on 08.13.2009 at 1:08 am

    Typical BU

    Does this university actually care about its student body? BU actions are so see through. Do they take their students to be idiots? YOU increased my tuition and I want MORE printing pages than last year, not substantially less. Perhaps an administrator would take time out of their busy schedule to read these comments and realize how disgusted we all are. I’ll take my 50k elsewhere thank you!

  • Anonymous on 08.13.2009 at 1:09 am

    Does this university actually care about its student body? BU actions are so see through. Do they take their students to be idiots? YOU increased my tuition and I want MORE printing pages than last year, not substantially less. Perhaps an administrator would take time out of their busy schedule to read these comments and realize how disgusted we all are. I’ll take my 50k elsewhere thank you!

  • Jennifer Brown on 08.13.2009 at 1:13 am

    This really just depresses me.

    What depresses me the most is that despite the student outcry for this NOT to happen, President Brown has decided against it.

    How are you going green if you’re making students buy printers, ink cartridges, and paper that they normally would never buy?

    There are so many ways to have avoided this. All I can say is that I am so happy I have done a good job avoiding spending money at BU and that I would never take the “student ambassador” position that I see so frequently assumed by BU students around campus.

    This is a prime example of how this university cannot function as a whole, but as a hierarchy of authoritative policy-makers instead. I was under the impression that BU was less like this and that is why I chose this university. Little did I know that I’d have to spend my college career fighting for the very things I signed up for. Sad.

  • Anonymous on 08.13.2009 at 1:58 pm


    From my standpoint, I do wish BU admin should be more transparent with these changes especially when these changes have a profound effect to the community. Before such announcements have been made, I only hear of rumors of such changes but nothing official. Now, that the changes have been made, I felt that the BU admin did the changes in a clandestine way and at a time where the student body and those concerned are unable to react sufficiently.
    There were no details about the changes during the proposal stage. If there ever were, it was not prominently displayed in places where students cannot miss. I did not get any emails informing of such pending changes.
    For me, this gives me an impression that BU admin had something to hide or was in fear of something. If we are to be a community, I think we should solve problems that face the community as a community.
    I am sure that having creative people in the community. We would be able to come up with alternatives to such a problem like this and minimize any disruptions. Perhaps, even improve the situation.

  • Anonymous on 08.14.2009 at 5:33 pm

    BU takes advantage of student's understanding

    I am shocked that eliminating the computer labs was even allowed to take place. Now they want to charge for printing? For real? BU should really focus on the future. Sure, you can nickel-and-dime your students, but remember the consequences in a few years when asking alumni to donate. This is the reason why there is so little school spirit – administrators take advantage of students. Students aren’t asking for anything outrageous, just to not be taken to the cleaners by their own school. BU should really look long and hard about cheating their students – schools thrive off endowments, not tuition.

  • Anonymous on 08.15.2009 at 8:34 pm

    Students, pay up; administrators, be honest.

    Of course I don’t like the idea of paying for printing, and I think the proposed BU pricing is stiff, but paying for printing makes sense to me.

    Other Boston-area campuses charge for printing (Tufts $.10/pg; BC 500 pg free then $.03/pg; Northeastern 400 free, then $.10/pg). BU’s proposed 100 pages free then 12 cents/page seems typically overpriced, but not outlandish.

    Before course materials were online, I and other students had to go in person to the Mugar reserve room to read or copy materials–an inconvenience, though one that kept me from making copies of absolutely everything I read.

    If you want your own paper copy of materials, it seems reasonable that you should pay for them, like you pay for your other course readings.

    I do think BU’s claim that pay-for-print is an environmentally motivated decision is a cynical misrepresentation–it’s clearly a cost-saving decision, with an unlikely green side effect. Administrators should be honest about their motivation.

    • Anonymous on 09.16.2009 at 4:27 pm

      I have to complain about this new printing system. While I understand the need to limit paper use, and agree that something must be done, the new print/release system is inefficient, time consuming, and frustrating. It takes at least five minutes for a printed item to show up on the MyPrint page, and an additional five to ten to actually print once it has been released. Instead of printing and receiving the paper right away, everyone must wait at least 10-15 minutes to get any document, given that the print line is short. If it isn’t, the wait is even longer. Furthermore, 100 pages is VERY limited as many professors (if not all) require double spaced essays. Given that a student has a normal course load of 4 courses, and the avg. (doublespaced) paper is 6 pages (normally only 3 pages) that allows each student to print only 4 times during the semester, a EXTREMELY limited amount, and unrealistic amount. Not to mention that it doesn’t leave any room to print sources or the syllabus etc. Furthermore, a person taking five courses is limited to merely 3 papers per class. Please revise this system soon – or at least add a simple way to print from home to BU printers for PCs, and change the limit to at least 200.

      If you want to reduce the use of printing, encourage professors to accept electronic copies of papers via Blackboard. This system is less wastful, less costly to BU, and saves time and energy, not to mention that it is convient for all involved. Or, encourage faculty to require single spaced pages. For another way to save paper (although not nearly as extreme as the first two ideas) stop using coversheets each time a student prints. Instead, have their username appear somewhere at the top corner of the first page of thier printout. That’s a huge waste of paper.

  • Kate on 08.16.2009 at 2:41 pm

    Hah! Green?

    Please…the only green initiative BU supports is filling their coffers with our cold hard cash. I hope they didn’t cut back on Student Health staff…I suspect a lot of visits to SHC for migraines and mild seizures due to excessive amounts of time spent glued to a computer screen because students can’t afford the ink to print out the massive PDFs professors require us to bring to class.

  • Anonymous on 08.17.2009 at 9:50 am

    Who are you kidding, BU?

    The print quota kept my studies afloat. It feels like BU is continuously putting up roadblocks to get in the way of students actually trying to do work. This is possibly the worst move the university could have made because now we’re going to be wasting a TON of energy keeping our computers on longer (trying to read) or printing hundreds of pages with our inefficient and expensive little printers.

    This situation is conducive to neither studying nor contentment and I think it will have an adverse effect on the student body.

  • Anonymous on 08.21.2009 at 12:41 am

    As a recent BU alum, I think BU should go back to the drawing board with this initiative. While I applaud BU’s efforts to go green as well as reduce the amount of money wasted on fruitless printing, I do not think that 100 pages for every undergrad is enough for a whole semester. Maybe 500 would be better. Or maybe BU shouldn’t include courseinfo/blackboard printouts in the 100 pages. That could work. The same goes for graduate and law students’ printing quotas.

  • Anonymous on 08.23.2009 at 9:01 pm

    Huge backlash en route…

  • Half-measures yet again? on 08.25.2009 at 4:50 am

    Why does it seem that BU is always trying to be “green” and have the best intentions, but nothing beneficial ever happens because of it? This is yet another trivial “half-measure”…Sound familiar? BU decided to get rid of trays, but kids are still taking the same amount of plates- Now perhaps more than ever over several trips. BU creates “blue bags”, but students have to request them- Far from any recycling initiative at all! This is just another attempt to save money- obviously. Why else would BU commit to an action that doesn’t yeild positive results towards it student body? Closing down the Resnet labs and creating yet another obstacle- BU is clearly on a self-serving path to its own financial ruin. My family can’t even afford the tuition anymore. I am a child of a single mother who works her hardest to even send me to BU in the first place. I don’t have a printer or a computer- Thus I’m enraged that BU’s “solutions” are causing me to waste more money, I don’t have, towards things I thought was guaranteed to me as a student. I really hope BU reconsiders this insanity because I’d like to go back to caring about my major rather than “What will BU do next?”

  • Anonymous on 08.27.2009 at 9:00 am

    Taking away the computer labs, taking away University Computers, and taking away most of our print quota (and charging more than any comparable school for extra sheets) is just too much at once.

  • Stephanie on 08.27.2009 at 5:22 pm


    This was a sneaky and disappointing move to do this over the summer. I went to the Kinko’s/FedEx store today (on campus) and they will print for .05 a page as long as you bring in a flash drive or email them the files you need. I decided to make my own course packs because as a grad student reading articles online is NOT an option. I am all for reducing waste but .12 cents a page is completely out of line and BU knows it.

    I REFUSE to give BU any more money. I saw go to Kinkos they are working WITH the students.

  • Anonymous on 08.30.2009 at 11:45 pm

    This would not be that bad if it was 500 pages and the new lab is 24 hours. Comparable to other schools.

  • Anonymous on 09.03.2009 at 1:16 pm

    Allow Email Submissions

    Why doesn’t the IT department set up a paper submission website, or at least ask faculty to accept electronic submissions. BU has reduced the amount of paper we are allowed to print, but has not reduced the amount that will be submitted, thus pushing the cost onto the students.

    This quick fix was made for all the wrong reasons. Way to go BU, you reduced your paper trail and costs, but wait, you increased our paper trail and costs.

  • Anonymous on 09.03.2009 at 11:20 pm

    BU goes (money) green

    So let me get this straight- Having every student bring their own printer is more energy efficient than having a few centralized printers? And everyone is supposed to go to Mugar for studying? 200 computers is nowhere near enough, and you can’t do a group project in a library, since it requires quite a lot of talking. Cut through the BS and it’s clear that the redesign will look really good for potential students touring Mugar and will save BU a ton of money, but it gives students an unnecessary roadblock to doing their work.

  • Anonymous on 09.04.2009 at 11:21 am


    I agree with the majority opinion here and hope that the decision makers will take note of the response here. If BU wants to run itself like a business, it needs to listen to its clients!

  • Olivia on 09.04.2009 at 2:11 pm

    BU can afford to sponsor a Beach Boys concert over the summer, but can’t afford for it’s students to print what they need for class.

    I think this sheds light on BU’s spending habits, along with luxury-style apartments (that probably BU alums cannot afford) and 2 million dollar renovation of the library. I’m glad this is my last year. I no longer want to give money to an institution that can, but WILL NOT, reciprocate it with BASIC, undergraduate resources.

  • Anonymous on 09.08.2009 at 3:20 pm

    This new print policy is completely unacceptable. In the first few days of classes alone, I have been REQUIRED to print 65 pages for one class and 35 for another. If you print double sided, that’s HALF of my print quota. And that’s just what’s been required so far.

    BU is finding yet another way to make a quick buck off of students, and for the money we pay to go here, it’s wrong. BU claims that it spent over $1 million on paper, cartridges, etc. last year. Ok, so say it IS $1 million. At around $50k per student, that’s 20 students’ worth of tuition. If BU continues to marginalize students, make it more difficult to do their work, and basically tell students that they don’t care we think, I predict it will make MUCH more than 20 students question their decision to come here.

    Furthermore, I guaruntee that BU isn’t paying 12 cents per sheet, especially when they’re buying paper in bulk…not only are they charging us…they’re making a profit! This is just inexcusable! WAKE UP BU ADMINISTRATION!! The students aren’t happy…and our tuition money pays your salary.

  • Anonymous on 09.10.2009 at 7:18 am

    12 cents per sheet? That is 60$ per 500 sheet ream. Mr. President, it’s time to start buying paper from Shaw’s…

  • Stephanie Lui on 12.12.2009 at 3:28 am

    Mail room/ print room hours

    BU has not updated their housing site on the mail room hours. I have been googling to search what time the towers mail room opens tomorrow, and all the results I get back are old and outdated ones. BU should inform students about changes in policy directly or at least have an updated website on new changes.

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