Double-sided printers leads to wasted paper (and frustrated students)

Calvin College has both a commitment to environmental issues as well as academics; some printers automatically printing double-sided, however, puts these two in conflict.

Recently, I was printing out a paper for one of my classes: ten pages, and worth 30% of my grade. The professor did not specify if she would accept double-sided, and I was not about to risk losing points because of formatting.

I ended up spending 10 frustrating minutes wrestling with my computer and the printer, eventually printing each sheet individually, until I finally had a 10-page single-sided paper to staple and turn in, as well as eleven extra sheets of paper from my attempts to get it to print correctly.

That’s eleven sheets of wasted paper because of the dissonance caused by some Calvin printers automatically printing double sided, and my professor failing to clarify if she would accept double-sided papers.

It’s a frustrating moment that many Calvin students can relate to. Not only this, but whether or not a printer will print double-sided seems random at times, and some print open to right while others print open to top.

It’s good that Calvin cares about our environment. But in the end, I think these printers end up wasting paper. No student will risk a lower grade because of a double-sided paper.

With all that in mind, Calvin should set all printers to automatically print single sided, while still making it easy for students to print double sided should they choose too, or enact a policy in which professors will accept double sided papers unless specified otherwise.

Calvin has excellent academics, and our professors expect good, properly-formatted papers. At the same time, Calvin cares for our world, and tries to limit paper waste. Both of these are good, but Calvin needs to figure out a way for both of these ideals to work together in order to save the countless extra sheets of paper frustrated students end up printing in an attempt to get it to print right.