Printers cannot keep up with demand


Janie Coronado sits in one of the computer labs experiencing printer problems on campus.

Classes at St. Edward’s University are as demanding as ever, but students are unprepared and frustrated because of difficulties with the printing and technology services on campus.

“I was in the research lab, [last week] and I wanted to print something, but I couldn’t because the printer we have in there has probably never worked,” Leah Mulaly, senior Biology major, said.

Then Mulaly tried printing at the Johnson Lab but the printer was out of paper.

“So I had to go to the Woodward Office Building and that printer worked, but it was low on toner,” she said. “And then that happened again today.”

St. Edward’s has seen a 20 percent increase in pages printed compared last semester, said Claire Dunn, communications coordinator for the Office of Information Technology (IT). “IT doesn’t work where we get new printers every year…it’s just seeing a higher turnover, it’s getting used more each day,” she said.

Dunn attributes this increase to the larger freshmen class and the fact that many professors are providing digital copies of material. It would seem that digitizing the reading material would cause less pages to be printed, but Dunn speculates that this causes more students to print compared to if they were only reading from textbooks.

The IT Office employs someone to make daily runs to all the labs to check on the services and is in the process of hiring a student to make a second run each day. Dunn encourages students to reach out to the IT Office in between these daily check-ups.

“We also really need feedback from users so if there is a jam or paper outage that’s in between our visits,” she said. “We do rely on students to reach out and get in touch with us.”

There are several ways to get in touch with the IT department, which include Twitter, Facebook, email, phone, live chat and in-person visits to their office in Moody 309.

In the meantime, Dunn wants people to “take a sense of ownership” when it comes to the technology services. “We do have paper in the labs, and we encourage students to load the trays,” she said.

Students are required to pay a $200 technology fee per semester, but IT spends a “considerable” amount more than what that fee brings in, said David Waldron, vice president for IT.

The bulk of that money goes to maintaining the systems on campus that keep everything running smoothly, like the Internet connection and the network that connects all the buildings.

“We pay scores of thousands of dollars a year to maintain our connection to the Internet,” Waldron said.

Waldron has his own theory on printing: “It’s not my sense that bigger investment of money will be required…an adjustment to the methodology that examines these printers on a daily basis to check paper levels and toner levels is what will do the trick.”

At the University of Texas at Austin, students use a different system than the one implemented at St. Edward’s. Students have a copy card that can be loaded with money. They use the card to print pages at 13-20 cents each.

UT senior Becca Chavoya likes their system and said she has never had any technical difficulties. She estimates that she pays around $20-$30 per semester on printing.

“I would rather pay and just know that everything’s going to be printed,” she said.