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New printing system set to save university thousands and cut back on energy use

2021-04-05 Managed Printing
UNG's new managed print system will not print the papers until a person arrives at the machine to collect them. The new software will roll out as a test for students in summer 2021.

At the end of each day, a staff member at the Library Technology Center on the University of North Georgia's (UNG) Dahlonega Campus checks the six printers in that space for any uncollected papers. This familiar procedure is repeated across many departments on all of UNG's campuses.

"Often there are print jobs students fail to pick up, and we do periodically place them in designated areas," said Austina M. Jordan, head of access services and library faculty member at UNG. "The paper eventually becomes scrap or is placed in the recycling bin."

UNG's new managed print system will address the problem of excess printing since pages will not print until a person arrives at the machine to collect them.

"Once the student gets to the printer, he or she swipes their Nighthawk ID card, finds the print job in the queue and selects print," said Dr. Steve McLeod, chief information officer at UNG.

UNG's Information Technology (IT) Services will roll out the new printing software as a test for students in summer 2021.

"We intend to go live with managed print for students in fall 2021," McLeod said. "Currently, we are testing it as a pilot program with our IT staff."

McLeod thinks the biggest bonus for students is the ability to print their work to any enrolled device on campus using the print release function. For example, if a student needed to print out a paper around 7:15 a.m. in time for an 8 a.m. class, the student previously would select a printer connected to a computer. But if a line of students is waiting at the printer, the student could simply pick up the print job at another printer, even one in a different building closer to the class.

"That (print release) is a great feature that we didn't originally ask for. It just came with the program," said McLeod, who heads the division of information technology.

Faculty and staff are scheduled to start using managed print near the end of 2021. They will have the same features as students. Eventually, managed print will lead to a decrease in desktop printers, too.

McLeod explained the overall switch to a managed print system will save the university money, especially on paper and toner supplies. A lot of paper is wasted because people accidentally print multiple copies, or print to a black-and-white machine instead of a color one.

Managed print's process of not printing the paper until the person arrives at the device will eliminate part of that waste.

"We conducted a study and determined UNG spent about $588,000 per year on printing," McLeod said. "That accounts for the cost of paper, toner cartridges, and maintenance for the machines. With the managed print system, we are looking at potential savings of more than $200,000, some of which could be directed to other student services."

Additional savings will come from the print mechanism of providing options such as using low-cost settings for draft documents or printing on both sides.

"By having this managed print system, it is also environmentally friendly and has a sustainability focus," said Adam Strzemienski, assistant director of facilities for capital planning and sustainability.

He explained this new system will move the university away from desktop printers in favor of power-efficient managed print machines.

"If you have 900 office printers plugged in 24 hours, seven days a week, that drains power and they aren't as efficient as a multifunction model," Strzemienski said. "But if we decrease the number of printers in use, we will reduce our power consumption, which saves UNG money.   For example, even if we just cut the printers by half, we could save thousands a year on electricity with the added benefit of reducing our carbon footprint for the life cycle of the printer."

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