The Paper Chase: A look into printing at West High

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“There is definitely a decline in paper. We are in a transitional phase, where everybody is kind of getting used to using the chromebooks.””

— Marie Wenzlaff

With the end of the trimester coming up soon, the West High students are printing off essays and other projects. Intro.wsspaper.com’s Patrick Taylor decided to look into the process and its environmental impact.

 

Many students may remember doing the tedious, eight-step process to add a printer every time they sat down at a computer. Whether it be an English essay or a new copy of a paper that was lost, printers are an integral part of the educational system at West High. For many, the school printers are the only way they can print a document at all. The printing system is rapidly changing, though. With the introduction of Chromebooks and general moves to paperless learning, the amount of paper printed will change. So let’s take a look at one of the most fundamental processes to the American educational system.

 

The bulk of the printing at this school occurs in the copy center and only involves students as the consumer and final destination. Marie Wenzlaff, the school’s Copy Secretary, prints tens of thousands of pages for teachers every day. With the debut of Chromebooks this year, she has noticed a strong decline in the amount of paper printed, but there is still much work to do. “We are in a transitional phase, where everybody is kind of getting used to using the Chromebooks,” said Wenzlaff. Changing to Chromebooks is not an overnight process. It will take years for teachers convert content into online forms. Currently, she estimates 10,000-20,000 pieces of paper are printed daily. Eventually, this year, two million to 3.5 million pieces of paper will be printed.

 

While the copy room numbers are large, that still excludes some smaller, but more student-based data. Like the copy room upstairs, Librarian Jill Hofmockel has noticed a sharp decline in the amount of paper printed, due to the addition of Chromebooks. In the first ten weeks of the school year, printing has declined by over half, from 34,962 pieces of paper in 2016 to 16,911 in 2017. A small part of this total can be attributed to the first week of school when zero sheets of paper were printed, due to printer issues.

 

The librarians and students also have another reason to be excited. With the introduction of Chromebooks, wireless printing became an urgent matter, as they can not be physically networked. Librarian Beth Belding remembers helping students with the eight-step process used to add printers last year. “We remember how much time it took us every day to help with [adding printers to computers].” Hofmockel agrees, “And you had to re-ad it every single time you sat somewhere that was different. It’s so much better now.” Now the process is easier: simply click the printer you want under the “destination” drop-down menu.

 

With more emphasis on sustainability, what can students do to reduce paper usage at West High? “As a society, everyone is doing their part to just print two pages per side, to fit 4 pages on one sheet of paper.” said Wenzlaff. Both of the librarians agreed. The majority of teachers tell students to access documents online. So many of you might wonder: what can you do? First, try to double-side. Second, try to fit more pages onto one piece of paper, if applicable. Third: Print as little as possible.

 

 

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