Students returning from winter break will notice a change to printing on campus. On Nov. 20, 2020, the IT Department announced that they were partnering with SOS Printing and would be replacing the old WEPA machines while students were home for break. Much like the WEPA machines, these new printers give students a declining balance with the cost of $0.05 per black and white copy or $0.25 per color copy.
On paper, this new printing service sounds like a great idea. It will be more convenient for on campus students to print, because there are printers in the lobbies of most residential buildings. There are a few residential buildings that do not have a common area to host this printer, such as Swanson, Johnson or the Village. For those students, there will be printers located in common areas that have yet to be announced.
Convenience and a cheaper price are both strong benefits to this new printing service. One of the major issues that students are facing with SOS Printing is the fact that, as of right now, the printers are only compatible with PDFs. Until the printers are updated and more formats are available, we will have to convert anything we want to print into a PDF. In the long run, this only takes a few extra seconds and clicks, it’s just annoying.
At the beginning of this semester, each student attended a mandatory hall meeting, where the Resident Director goes over the changes made to the housing contract. Bryan Blount, the Chief Information Officer, briefly attended the meeting and gave students a run down about why the College decided to make the change. WEPA was going to raise costs to keep the machines on campus, and the College wanted to go with an option that was more cost-effective.
The switch makes sense, WEPA was asking for an unreasonable amount of money and the new machines cost less money per print for students and faculty. Even though we’re only able to print PDFs currently, this is going to change. The only reason we can’t print in other formats is because the college had such little time to implement the new machines. Even though it is, more or less, more convenient to print, there are issues with SOS Printing. As time goes by, printing on campus can only improve.