Printing Error

Charles Myers

At the start of each academic year, Villanovans enrolled in the College of Liberal Arts receive 60 dollars worth of print credits that can be used at the print centers around campus. At the going rate of six cents per page, this amounts to 1,000 pages of subsidized printing for the entire academic year. At first this amount may seem like a great number, but as many have found out the hard way, it isn’t.

For a freshman or a student who does not take many classes requiring extensive printing, the amount may be adequate; however, for any student who takes classes heavy in research, the 1000 pages disappear quite quickly.  First come the articles, which professors “request” to be brought to class for discussion. Next come the articles required for the research papers our professors “request” that we write. Then come the papers themselves, which, if we actually write a draft – as opposed to simply turning in a first draft – take up even more print credits.

Suddenly that princely sum of 1,000 pages starts to seem less and less generous.

Obviously, this is not the professors’ fault.  They are simply trying to provide us with the education that Villanova says we will receive if we pay the tuition, act as students ought to act and actually think while doing our work.  Neither can this situation be said to be the fault of Villanova’s students; we help finance the University, and – if we wish to graduate in good standing – we are required to complete the work assigned.

Furthermore, if we wish to attend graduate school following the culmination of our undergraduate careers, there is an increasing amount of pressure for us to have published something worth reading.  This means more drafting, more research, and more articles.

Villanova has long complained about its place in the rankings of colleges and universities, claiming that it is a first-rate institution whose students are capable of conducting first-rate research.  As true as that may be, it is rather contradictory for Villanova to have a printing policy that provides a financial incentive to students who avoid conducting the very research of which our University claims them capable.

It is possible to argue that perhaps we should simply download the articles as PDF files and read them, but anyone who has ever tried to underline or annotate one of those PDF files knows that they are a poor substitution for paper that can be marked.  Furthermore, studies have shown that individuals read less efficiently when reading off of computer screens than they do when reading from physical pieces of paper.  So the suggestion that we ought to simply abstain from printing articles out misses the mark.

In a quick survey of my peers enrolled in research seminars for history, political science, and philosophy, there emerged one common complaint:

“How is it that I am down to less than 10 dollars in print credits when the first semester isn’t even over yet?”  Perhaps these individuals should just care less about studying and more about binge drinking.

There are several potential remedies for this problem. Perhaps as an interim measure, Villanova could encourage double-sided printing by cutting the cost of printing in this manner by one third. This will still more than cover the cost of the ink and paper expended on a non-color page.  Next, Villanova should consider – at some point in the near future -doubling the print allowance while capping it to 60 dollars per semester to discourage excessive printing,  Even allowing students to purchase more subsidized printing (20 dollars for 60 dollars worth of print credits, for instance), could help solve this dilemma.

The only thing Villanova should not do is maintain the status quo.

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Charles Myers is a junior political science, history and philosophy major from Elkins Park, Pa. He can be reached at [email protected]