Sustainability Project Changes Printing For Faculty

Colgate’s Sustainability and Climate Action Plan hopes that the campus will be climate neu-tral, or have a net total of zero carbon emissions, by 2019, and many steps have already been taken to achieve this goal. Many of these are obvious changes: Frank Dining Hall no longer has trays, Zipcars have been brought to campus to decrease the total number of student vehicles and printers in the libraries have held documents in a queue that must be released from a central computer since Fall 2009 to avoid accidental double print-ing. All of these changes were primarily meant to change student habits, but that doesn’t mean fac-ulty and staff aren’t being asked to change their ways as well.

In various offices throughout campus, Multi-Function Devices (MFDs) have been installed. These are essentially high-tech ver-sions of the networked printers that students use in the libraries. An MFD is an all-in-one copier, printer and scanner and can even email documents. These toner-efficient machines can perform many more tasks than most personal printers and will encourage faculty and staff to discard their ink-guzzling printers. By replac-ing many personal printers with one MFD, the Information Technology Services (ITS) depart-ment staff hopes to encourage Colgate offices to become more environmentally friendly.

“MFDs can speed office workflow, increase efficiency, cut costs and aid productivity,” Interim Chief Information Officer Trish St. Leger said.

MFDs are not cheap, however, and ITS is not installing them until older copiers and printers need to be replaced. The goal is to provide as many offices as possible with MFDs in the next two years. When a department’s main copier is sched-uled to be replaced, ITS will talk with the depart-ment to determine how many new devices need to be installed. In some cases a department, for one reason or another, may need to continue using personal printers, but a MFD can handle most of-fice tasks and replace two or more machines. Not only would this save electricity costs, but it would help ITS repair malfunctioning machines quickly.

MFDs have more than just environ-mental benefits. For example, faculty members who enjoy having a personal printer because other people can’t see what they print have the option of releasing the document only after entering a self-select-ing passcode into the MFD. This way, the document can be printed when no one else is using the machine.

These new devices will also help Col-gate move into the digital age. While Col-gate has an advanced, digital telephone system, fax machines are analog. Colgate hopes to replace all fax machines on cam-pus and set up new technologies, many of which can be facilitated through a MFD, such as scanning documents.

“With advanced scanning capabilities, these machines can help to digitize impor-tant documents. This can lead to signifi-cantly reduced paper use while speeding up workflow,” Director of Sustainability John Pumilio said.

Overall, the MFD initiative should re-duce paper, electricity and ink consumption on campus. Slowly but surely, new machines will be distributed throughout campus in the next two years as older, inferior copiers and printers need to be replaced. Current users of the system already seem to be satisfied.

“We have seen increases in efficiency with the ability to quickly and easily scan documents – a process that formerly en-tailed relying on one individual within the department for scanning,” Human Resources Consultant Jill Dinski said.

As students have witnessed in the past few years, many steps are being taken to save money and the environment. With the instal-lation of MFDs, Colgate is one step closer to reaching its goal of becoming climate neutral by 2019.

Contact Jared Goldsmith at [email protected].