DeWitt Wallace Library: Saving the environment one sheet at a time

By Kathy Kim

Thou shalt not waste – well, at least not on Wednesday. This week, the library, in conjunction with the Sustainability Office, turned off all of its printers for eight and a half hours during the peak usage times during the day on Wednesday in an effort to call attention to the amount of printing done in the library.The library estimated that every day over 15,000 sheets of paper are printed from the library. This totals about 100,000 sheets per week, costing about $26,000 each year to provide Macalester’s students with printed copies of articles, assignments and more.

Currently, there is no system for keeping track of the exact number of pages printed in the library. While each day’s amount of paper used is undermined, staff in the library have noticed an increase in printing.

“The number of trips to refill the paper cartridge has significantly increased since last year,” said Dave Collins, library associate and one of the coordinators for the event.

The unreliable printers and the inconvenient hours of other computer labs almost guarantee that students will choose to print their JSTOR articles, homework assignments and other documents in the library, making it the largest paper consumer on campus.

This event was intended to tackle these problems, get new ideas for ways to print less frequently, and “to address concerns that students and faculty have,” Collins said.