The Cost of Paper

By: Daniel Munhoz Staff Writer

Montgomery College recently added the W.E.P.A. printing system to all three campuses, which came as a surprise to students. I do not understand why MC decided to make this sudden change. Before the beginning of the school year, we could print for free as long as it was not more than 20 pages. Now that this new printing system situation has come up, it seems to be something of an inconvenience to my fellow students, as well as myself.

One of the main reasons why many of us attend MC is for its affordability. But now, besides paying for text books that can cost up to $150 or more, as well as tuition for classes, we now must also take into consideration the cost of simply printing.

I, for one, find it a little ridiculous that we have to create an account, give a printer our credit card numbers, and open up a “tab,” just so we can print out homework assignments or papers that we may have pulled all-nighters for.

As someone who does not have the luxury of having a printer at home, I can’t count the number of times I saved a file onto my flash drive, so I could print it out at MC right before my class started. But now I don’t know what I will do when a situation like that comes up. I may have to receive zeros on my assignments, all because I could not access a printer to print my work.

I asked a few librarians why this new printing system has been so strongly enforced, and the main answer I got was, “Too many students were wasting paper.” I can understand where they are coming from, but is justice really served if students who may need to print out just a single page are charged as well?

I believe there are some kinks that need to be worked out on this printing issue. Perhaps charging for printing could begin when you want to print over four pages, or the printers could be set to make all printing jobs two-sided.

As a side note, in the library it could be that people from the community who are not MC students were using the printers. In that case, couldn’t the library have just installed a scanner in the printers to read our student I.D.s, so that only actual students could print with no charge? People who come to the library but don’t attend MC could pay through the W.E.P.A. system. That way, MC students could have less trouble when needing to print things out quickly.

Ultimately, my fellow students, the problem of paying for printing does not only rely on the people who run our college. If the students who attend MC don’t voice their opinions on this matter, who’s to say we won’t get charged to use other things? Will we still stay silent if next year MC decides to charge us for using their computers for over 30 minutes? Or how about adding a couple extra dollars to the cost of drinks in our vending machines?

Since the start of this semester, I have seen many students who aren’t happy with the W.E.P.A. printing machines. It seems to me that a lot of us just want simplicity back; the simplicity of the ability to print the materials we need in order to get our course work done. Is that really too much to ask?