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Printing Quota

In a previous article, we talked about why Williams decided on a printing quota. In this one, we’ll focus on how it will be implemented.

Student allotment

Free printing per semester:

Underclassmen: $50
Seniors: $75

This is equivalent to 500 (750 for seniors) black-and-white double-sided pages worth of free printing, which according to the data we collected last semester, should meet the needs of 90% of all students with no change in printing habits. more...

At the end of each period (semester, winter study, and summer), any unused portion of the free allotment will be removed, and a new allotment will be credited at the beginning of the next period. Any remaining purchased printing credits will be carried forward each semester during your time at Williams.

Uncollected printouts from Saywer library

Collaboration station in Jesup 316

You can log in to your PaperCut account ( at any time from on-campus to check how much printing you have left.

Running low

If you are getting close to using up your allotment, you will be notified three times by email that you are approaching the end of your print allotment: once when your account credit drops below $10.00 (about 100 double-sided pages remaining), again at $5.00, and finally at $2.50.

If you do not have enough pages in your current allotment for a print job, a pop-up notification will alert you and you will not be able to print it on a networked printer until you add credits to your account.

Buying more printing credits


  1. Log in to your PaperCut account with your username and password.
  2. Click on “Add Credit Online” on the left hand side.
  3. Select an amount from the drop down and click the “Add Value” button.
  4. Fill in the credit information.

Via the Bursar’s Office:

  1. Purchase a $5, $10, $20, $50, or $100 PaperCut redemption card from the Bursar’s Office in Hopkins Hall.
  2. After purchasing the card, login to your PaperCut account.
  3. Choose Redeem Card from the left-hand side menu.
  4. Enter the number on the front of the card and your account will be credited for the value on the card.
Printing for departments & organizations

Student groups and organizations can obtain a shared printing account, or pre-pay for printing credits. Alternatively, a student organization may opt to assign someone to print on their behalf. It is then up to the student to be reimbursed by the organization.

If you have student workers that print on behalf of your department, you should request a departmental account. After it is created, your student workers will be able to select the departmental account when they print. You will receive a weekly report showing the printing activity associated with the account.

To set up an account for your department or organization, email You will be asked to provide a list of students that are allowed to print using the account.

For more information, visit the Printing @ Williams FAQ.

Printing Quotas

We all know that preparing terms papers, reading documents, and scribbling notes are part of the college experience, but with the proliferation of computers, printers and easy access to online documents, we may be using more paper than we really need. In an effort to raise awareness about paper consumption, the college is working toward implementing a paper quota system in the Fall of ’09. more...

The goal is to continue to provide students with the resources they need for classes, but also to add a mechanism that motivates students to cut down on the waste that sometimes happens as a result of unlimited access to printing. Currently students are not charged for paper or printing at any of the campus printers, so there is little motivation to find ways to use less. There are many ways that paper consumption could be reduced: selecting duplex printing, printing only those documents that will be used, reducing the number of flyers printed and finding other ways to advertise events, and editing and reading documents online when possible.

“We want to put an incentive system in place. We don’t want to tell you the best way to cut down on printing because we don’t have the perfect solution. We want people to figure out the solutions that suit them best.”

– Amy Johns, Zilkha Center

OIT has been tracking print jobs through PaperCut since the start of the Fall ’08 term, to evaluate student printing habits. The exact quota has not yet been determined, but is intended to be sufficient to support academic needs in most cases. Students will only be charged for additional paper if they exceed their quota.


Many details are still under discussion, but here are a few that are unlikely to change:

  • Color printouts will cost more than black & white ones.
  • Students will be warned well in advance if their quota is low, and given ample opportunity to purchase more printing credits.
  • Credits will be purchased by students directly, rather than showing up on their term bill.
Quick Facts: in the Fall of ’08…
  • Students printed over 880000 impressions on over 500000 sheets of paper.
  • The 100 most prolific printers (~5% of the student body) did almost a quarter of all the printing.
  • The average student produced 475 impressions on 275 sheets of paper.
  • Seniors printed almost three times as much as first-years.

For more information about the quota, contact Stephanie Boyd, Director of the Zilkha Center for Environmental Initiatives.

18% of the print jobs at Sawyer are abandoned at public printers. Nick Baker, librarian, shown with the orphans of Fall ’07.

Holiday Shutdown

The college’s experiment of shutting down non-essential buildings and services from Dec 25th to Jan 5th in order to cut costs and emissions was a success on a number of fronts, according the Zilkha Center. I spoke with Amy Johns, an environmental analyst on the team, about the project. “We’re very pleased with the results. The College saved roughly $90K in energy costs and about 1% of its annual carbon emissions.” more...

The College learned a few things from the shutdown. Amy summarized the biggest areas in which we can improve:
“This shutdown was done on fairly short notice. If Williams decides to do another, more notice would almost certainly make things run more smoothly.”
“Mail and package routing was definitely a challenge. To the best of our knowledge, everything ended up getting to the correct destinations, but it took a lot of work and patience.”
“Some of the newer buildings- like Morley – were designed to be very highly conditioned, and there’s no easy way to put them into a passive mode. There’s little or no dead zone between air conditioning and heating, so once the thermostats were set lower, the building went in to cooling mode – drawing in cold outside air and then reheating it, instead of just taking less steam from the heating plant. Facilities learned a lot about those buildings from this shut down, and are working on solutions to that issue.”
Monitoring energy use on campus during the shutdown gave the sustainability team more insight into the consumption patterns of different types of buildings. Most dorms nearly flatlined during the shutdown, which affirmed their assumption that most of the energy used in residential buildings goes into heating, light, and appliances.

Buildings like Jesup saw a much smaller reduction (about 18% less than normal), because essential services were still running- in this case the server room.

Overall, participation was excellent, and the savings from energy costs were nearly three times what was predicted. The Zilkha Center asked me to thank everyone who helped with the shutdown effort on their behalf. So a big thank you to everyone who took the time to pitch in, and faced the inconveniences. Your help was truly appreciated!
OIT’s role
As part of the shutdown, all of the classroom computers needed to be powered down and unplugged. A team of OIT employees made the rounds on Christmas Eve day to turn everything off, and came back early on Sunday the 4th to reboot and test all of the machines before people returned to campus. Out of 80 classrooms, only one computer failed to turn back on. The exercise has Media Services thinking about better ways to design classrooms to accommodate shutdowns- connecting them to a single power source that can be turned off via circuit breakers is being investigated.

Even though Jesup was closed, Desktop staff (Guy Randall and Josh Trivilino) continued to provide support from Hopkins Hall for those who needed to come in during the shutdown.

OIT staff

OIT’s shutdown strike force: Jim Lillie, Phil Remillard, Bruce Wheat, Jonathan Leamon, and Paul Smernoff.

For more information about sustainability at Williams, visit the sustainability website.

From the C.T.O. (Spring 2009)

Dinny Taylor We are happy to present our first online-only version of Connected. We are committed to helping Williams attain its sustainability goals and felt this is a good way to promote the use of electronic resources rather than paper. Going online-only has the added benefit of conserving fiscal resources. more...

The articles cover a variety of topics in all areas of OIT and answer some of the questions we’ve been receiving lately about new directions and additional services. We hope you will find the format easy to use and enjoy the articles.

Green Edition

Edition:Spring 2009 Department:C.T.O. Tags: