The Print Quota initiative is sponsored by Bill Campbell, Mark Adrian Winters and Cynthia Jurado. Campbell responded to our questions.

What led you to put this initiative on the ballot?

First off, we took about six to seven students back in January and pulled a variety of students here on campus and took a simple random sample to determine what the main issues students really were concerned about. From my perspective, the print quota was actually one of my main issues and then it turned out that it happened to be one of the main issues on campus as well. So we decided to bring it to the ballot because we were deeply concerned with the repercussions for environmental sustainability, high academic standard, convenience and financial solvency if we do not have any print quota at all. And so considering all the repercussions that can occur when we don’t have a print quota, not being environmentally sustainable, not pursuing high academic standards, primarily not being financially solvent and then also the convenience issue. We decided to go out and pursue this initiative. We collected more than 2,000 signatures, so this is something students really care about and are concerned with.

Why should students support this?

Students should vote for this initiative first, because it’s more sustainable to have a print-quota system than not. So while we do reduce overall printing, we don’t actually. There’s other implications for that.

Students go print at home. When you print at home, they buy printers, they buy ink and ink cartridges for those printers. They also typically buy paper that is not as high quality or 100 percent recycled, which the university will do so at a cheaper cost. When we print off campus, we use energy that is not often generated through winds or better renewable sources. The university buys environmentally friendly power. We also have our steam plants.

When you add everything up, it is much more environmentally sustainable to have a print-quota. Second issue is cost. When we institute a print-quota system, it is much more cost effective than without.

So right now without the print quota system, it costs about 5 cents per page. When you add a print-quota system, it drops to about one-third of a cent per page. So we’re talking astronomical difference in costs. Economically, it makes sense to have the print-quota system. We also want to instigate a cap-and-trade system. So if you don’t use your prints, you can sell them back to the university and sell them to the individuals who need to print more than the print quota allows. Right now, the initiative does not call for an exact level of prints. Realistically, it will be somewhere around 180 to 200 pages because those are the sustainable limits and those are the cost-effective limits, and what we also think would be primarily convenient for students.

If the initiative passes, will it need funding to implement? If so, how much and where will it come from?

Right now as it reads, it doesn’t call for specifics. It encourages the AS and university administration to work together to implement a print-quota system. Realistically, what that means is its probably somewhere around $2.70 to $3 per student, which would most likely be wrapped into the technology fee next year. It’s being re-evaluated this year; that’s one of the other reasons we’re bringing this print-quota initiative to arms. That is most likely where it will be implemented. It is written the way that it is so we can re-evaluate on a university scale. For example, [in] computer science [classes], they have print costs that are automatically added to their classes to allow them to be able to print. With a print-quota initiative, the Computer Science department would not necessarily have to do that, and we can lower their fees. And this way we don’t just add fees to students.

Official campaign statement:

This initiative calls for a collaborative effort between the AS Board of Directors and the university administration so as to develop and implement a new sustainable print-quota system, to be executed within and no later than the 2012-2013 academic calendars. This new print quota system shall establish a new print quota for all students, recommended but not limited to include a new, realistic cap level of 200 pages. A realistic cap level is both economically feasible and environmentally sustainable. While acknowledging that the previous cap guidelines were simply unsustainable, it is obvious that the current quota is far too low. This initiative also calls for the implementation of a roll-over system allowing the unused pages in one quarter to roll over into the next. This roll-over system will only operate during a standard academic calendar, in the spirit of environmental sustainability and economic feasibility.