WLP senator proposes new print credit plan

by Mike Disman / Beacon Staff • October 25, 2012

The first draft of an initiative calling for an increase to print credits given to Emerson students was unveiled at the Student Government Association meeting Tuesday, sparking a discussion about the most efficient way to raise the additional funds it would require. 

Writing, Literature, and Publishing Senator Alyssa Guarino presented the preliminary proposal, which she said will be updated as she compiles survey data from students. The draft addresses the need for an increased amount of printing funds, especially for students with writing workshop classes. 

“We have concluded that the current allotment of five dollars of print credits per semester is not a sufficient amount for most students, especially those whose classes consist of multiple workshops,” the initiative states. 

Guarino said in an interview with the Beacon that the issue of insufficient print funds has been on her agenda since she was elected as senator last December, but the problem was not a priority until this year.

“When I first started as senator, at the time I was trying to address bigger concerns for students,” said the senior writing, literature, and publishing major. “This year we’re focusing on smaller things, and that’s why [print credits] have come to the forefront again.”

Currently, all students begin each semester with $5 worth of print credits.  Each one-sided pages costs $0.07 to print. If a student runs out of print credits, they can obtain more by adding money to their EC Cash account, Emerson’s digital monetary system.

However, as SGA President Tau Zaman said at Tuesday’s meeting, some students may not be able to afford using money for extra document capital.

“This, for me, is more of a social justice issue,” said Zaman at the meeting. “There have been times when I had to write a shorter story than I wanted to because my check from work wasn’t coming until [later].”

At Tuesday’s meeting, many possible fixes to the issue were brought to the table. Members agreed that two solutions that were most viable either a standard, school-wide increase for all students or individual applications for more printing money.

Class of 2014 Senator Benjamin Halls said that certain courses that require students to print more may be a good way to determine which students should receive more credits, but he said he will advocate for the school-wide surge in funds. 

“We can’t get bogged down in dream solutions,” said the junior writing, literature, and publishing major at the meeting. “There are a lot of things we need to deal with in terms of applications; we can derail ourselves in terms of ambition.”

However, Zaman expressed his support for individual applications.

“Well, instead of giving the entire student body more print credits, an application would ensure that the money is being spent effectively,” he said.

After the conversation between SGA members, Guarino said she is going to introduce a survey to writing, literature, and publishing students to determine the best way to implement a solution.

“What we hope to do with the data is to construct a plan and give the administration a clear idea of what the average student’s need is,” said Guarino.

In addition to getting baseline data for student use of print credits, Guarino said that she wants to use the survey to inquire about related matters like tuition hikes and potential alternatives to print credits. 

Guarino said she hopes to release the survey before Thanksgiving break, so she can make progress on the initiative before she graduates in December. SGA initiatives generally take two academic years to become fully implemented, according to Guarino.

However, for students like Kaleb Worst, a writing, literature, and publishing sophomore, print credits can now have an effect on academic standings.

“The fact that some students are required to print 12 copies of a 15 to 16 page story is not fair,” said Worst. “If you don’t have money for printing, you just can’t print your story. So I think more credits is definitely a good idea.”