The concept of the "paperless office" was introduced in the mid-1970s as a dream of efficiency and cost reduction, and invigorated by the advent of the personal computer in the mid-1980s. Many in corporate and academic workplaces alike believed the elimination of paper would not only lower costs but also help streamline daily work. Yet today, printed materials are still very much a part of our daily lives — so much so that one might argue that technology has actually increased our willingness to print. While a variety of non-print sources are becoming significant outlets for written works — wikis, blogs, web sites, ebooks — many readers continue to find great utility in printed material and even, some may say, visceral comfort in holding a book, a newspaper, or a printout. At the same time, we are all becoming aware of environmental issues. In an effort to initiate more sustainable printing practices, and to increase efficiency, ITS has implemented a print management system at all student computer labs and centers.
Concepts such as "efficiency" and "cost reduction" are at least as old as the technology of printing and continue to be valued, guiding principles. But the new century brings with it new challenges, including a greater need for environmental responsibility. ITS has had a longstanding practice of providing unlimited printing to NYU students, faculty, and staff. In 2008, within the four ITS student computer labs, NYU community members printed over 18,000,000 pages. Recent industry analyses indicate that nearly 30 percent of these pages were wasted — either thrown away immediately or simply abandoned at the printers. The printing process consumes a lot more than sheets of paper; the ink and energy costs represented by the wasted printing are significant. In an ongoing effort to enhance technology services to the NYU community — and to take on a more environmentally conscious role as these services improve and expand — ITS has introduced a new print service.
ITS' new Print Service offers exceptionally convenient and flexible printing via a more environmentally sustainable process, while also helping to minimize waste. The ITS Print Service is currently available in all the public ITS computer labs & centers. In addition, ITS plans to expand the service to include various other locations, such as ITS-managed classrooms and public areas near NYUHome Station clusters.
And you can access the service from your own computer — Windows or Mac, laptop or desktop. Once you've downloaded and installed the necessary software components from the ITS website, your computer is ITS Print Service-enabled, and you can use your computer to send documents for printing from anywhere within NYU-NET. This incredible feature gives every NYU student and faculty member unprecedented independence when it comes to printing. With the ease of a few keystrokes, you have the ability to send a file to be printed from wherever you are, using your NYU-NET-connected computer, and then have it printed at location that is most convenient for you.
Every student starts the semester with an ITS Print Service grant that allows for the printing of 500 sheets of paper. (Depending on your printing options, this could represent 1,000 double-sided pages or even 4000 pages using N-up layout techniques! Read more about N-up printing in our how-to guide.) The process is straightforward: from any ITS Print Service-enabled computer, choose the "print" function in the software application you're using (e.g., Word) and select "ITS Print Service" from the list of printers. You're then asked to tag the document with your NYU NetID and an optional document name. Your document will now be held in a secure location on a centralized server. When you're ready, you go to a convenient printer location, swipe your NYU ID card, and select the document(s) you want to print. The service also supports the Bobst Library Reusable Card, which is available for purchase at the Bobst Library.
Expanded, Flexible, Greener
The new ITS Print Service has been in full operation across all ITS-supported locations since the beginning of the fall 2009 semester. The service has already realized a huge reduction in overall printing waste and a near total elimination of abandoned print jobs! With a more than 40 percent annual conservation projected for paper and printer support materials, and through widespread use of recycled printing materials such as toner and paper, ITS is bringing an expanded, flexible, and more environmentally conscious service to all the NYU community.
So, next time you're at one of the ITS academic technology centers or CoLabs, sitting in Gould Plaza with your WiFi-enabled laptop, or even studying in your dorm room, you can conveniently and confidently send your document to the ITS Print Service and pick it up when and where it suits you.
ABOUT THE AUTHOR
Liam Fry is the Manager of Student Technology Services within ITS.