SGA to propose an increase in print credits

by Beacon Staff • February 15, 2006

The Student Government Association (SGA) Senate, which is comprised of class and department senators, is working to increase the number of print credits students receive each year. An increase in the amount of credits, which allow students to print from school computers located in the library and computer labs, is a necessary change, many Senate members said.

Samantha McAfee, recent Emerson graduate and last semester's Writing, Literature and Publishing (WLP) Senator, initiated the push for more print credits during her tenure. McAfee originally proposed that WLP majors get the extra credits.

With the help of current WLP senator Emily Patrick, McAfee devised the new print credit plan, which has been extended to include students of all majors.

"Obviously it's something the whole student body would benefit from," Patrick said.

Emerson students now receive $5 per semester toward printing. Black and white sheets cost 10 cents each, which means that students get 50 sheets per semester, or 100 sheets each year, according to Manager of Technical Support Services Neil Davin.

Once students use their last print credit, they must pay for anything they print from the labs out of pocket.

Patrick, along with SGA Vice President Samantha King, met with Dean of Students Ronald Ludman last Thursday to propose that Emerson students receive $66.25 worth of printing and copying each year. The Senate chose this figure because it was the average number of print credits that they found students received at eight area schools, King said.

The Senate used local schools including Northeastern University, Harvard University, Emmanuel College and Boston College for their study. Representatives from all of these schools confirm that each offers its students unlimited print credits for black and white copies.

At the other schools included in the research-Syracuse University, Hofstra University, Carnegie Mellon University and Simmons College-the Senate calculated that students receive between 400 and 1,600 credits annually.

A representative from Simmons College said that students receive 800 each year (400 per semester). Employees at each other school confirmed the Senate's findings.

King said the colleges were chosen because they attract students similiar to those at Emerson.

"We left out a couple schools that didn't have any print policies," said King, a senior organizational and political communication major.

The Senate is working to implement this policy for the 2006-2007 school year.

"We brought the Dean our proposal for print credits [and he] recommended ways to improve it," she said.

Last week's meeting with Ludman went well, King said. For example, Ludman suggested the Senate start a letter-writing campaign.

It has not been determined to whom the proposal will be sent for approval, King said.

"This meeting was the very beginning of the whole process; we were going to him for help," King said.

The plan will require increased funding of around $200,000 to implement, and the Senate has yet to decide where that funding will come from, King said.

King said that she thinks the plan is the right step for the college.

"Compared to ... competing and like schools that get unlimited printing, it doesn't make sense that [Emerson] would choose ten dollars [in print credits per year]," King said.

Patrick said she has been personally affected by insufficient printing funds.

"For one [writing] class I had, we had three 10 to 15 page papers and we needed 19 copies of each paper," she said.

Printing for that workshop alone exceeded her entire year's worth of print credits, and Patrick said she is often in more than one writing workshop at a time.

Many students interviewed also said that a new print policy would be helpful.

"I think it's a good idea, because we have to print a lot of scripts, long papers and analyses," said junior broadcast journalism major Angelique Piccolo.

Piccolo said that the new print credit policy would alleviate the costs of printing from her own computer.

"If we had unlimited printing, you could save a lot on ink," she said.

For King, the new print proposal is just the first step in the process.

"Ideally we would [eventually] like unlimited printing," she said.