IT Commission looking to add mobile printing

Story by Alex Zank, Chief Copy Editor

In a short Student Senate meeting on Monday, a bill was introduced in hopes of adding a mobile printing service to campus in response to consistent student requests for such a program.

The bill introduced is a special allocation request to make possible a pilot program for a mobile printing kiosk on campus. The bill was introduced by Information Technology Commission Director Ben Streeter.

“It provides an alternative to those who want to have something ready for them when they get to campus, and they just want to print (something) off rather than logging onto a lab computer,” Streeter said when introducing the bill.

The IT Commission conducts student technology surveys yearly, and the bill stated that the one recently conducted “indicates continued desire for printer accessibility on campus.” This program aims to do just that.

There will be four different locations where students can print off documents. These locations are in the Davies Center, McIntyre Library, Towers Hall and the Haas Fine Arts Center, Streeter said.

The pilot program, if the special allocation request is passed, will start in Spring 2013.

The amount requested in the bill to fund the program is $8,883.92. This will cover the costs of four duplex printers as well as purchasing the software. The funding is planned to come from the Student Technology Fee Contingency Fund.

The software is somewhat limited in scope of what document files it can recognize and print.

“There are a few different files you can print,” Streeter said during the meeting. “They’re still working on       developing more options.”

Streeter’s hope is that students will be able to print basic Windows and Adobe file types.

Students would have to bring their own paper to print off their documents, just like using the other printers in the computer labs, Streeter said, although he did say they were looking into alternatives to this.

“Other institutions have a mobile printing system where you pay per page,” he said while answering fellow Senators’ questions. “That’s actually easier to run … but it also puts the burden on students having money at the time they want to print.”

Senator Sam Milewsky asked Streeter how long it would be before the software would need to be updated.

Although Streeter was unsure, he did say it would work as long as the university was using the Windows 7 operating system.

The bill will be voted on at next week’s meeting on Nov. 19 in the Dakota ballroom in Davies Center.