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Double-sided difference

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Freshmen Kayla Down, standing, and Cynthia Park print a double-sided powerpoint presentation. They enjoy benefiting from the new paper saving double-sided printer default.

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Junior Kacie Kapperman copies homework at Odegaard Undergraduate Library and is glad that the school encourages double-sided printing.

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Most students have grown accustomed to printing their homework on single-sided paper. Now, University Libraries and copy centers decided to make a switch from default single-sided printing to printing on both sides of the page, ushering in a new way for students to save on paper.

The switch, which has already been implemented at campus libraries, could reduce printing- and copy-paper volumes by as much as 35 percent. This past spring quarter, 1.54 million pieces of paper went through university copiers or printers, said Katy Folk-Way, assistant director for Creative Communications, the UW department that oversees printing and copying. Folk-Way also noted that 85 percent of these pages were printed or copied single-sided.

Anyone using the university’s printing and copying services can still print single-sided; they will just need to manually adjust their print or copy options to select single-sided printing.

Librarians have posted signs notifying students of the change, and students should see the default double-sided option when they print on any library or copy-center computer.

The change comes after Washington state government issued a mandate earlier this year ordering state entities to reduce paper consumption. The UW has already used recycled paper from Grays Harbor Paper — a local company — since 2006. Folk-Way charted the move from recycled paper and the subsequent move to double-sided printing as a natural progression.

“We’ve actually had requests from students for quite some time to switch it to double-sided,” Folk said. “I think the environmental stars are aligned right now; it’s the perfect time to do it.”

The City of Seattle implemented a similar policy following an executive order from Mayor Greg Nickels in 2005. His “Papercuts” campaign Web site posted a report this August detailing how the city’s various departments have collectively reduced the city’s paper use by 26 percent.

Despite the changes, both Folk-Way and Jill McKinstry, director of Odegaard Undergraduate Library, acknowledged that some faculty do prefer students to hand in their assignments on pages printed single-sided. In anticipation of these concerns, Folk-Way said she sent a memo to the UW Faculty Senate in which she urged professors to accept academic papers printed with text on both sides.

“We read books that are double-sided all the time,” she said. “There’s no greater effort to read a double-sided page than a single-sided page.”

While not available for comment, Faculty Senate Chair Bruce Balick did receive a memo from Folk-Way’s office. Faculty, however, have individual standards for what they deem acceptable for essay formatting.

“Some even have you submit online,” McKinstry said.

Essays aside, Folk-Way predicted the libraries should still save considerable amounts of paper because students will inevitably have to print other documents for their classes. Paper consumption is also an issue of environmental responsibility.

“Students, I believe, want to do the right thing,” she said.

Reach reporter Andrew Doughman at news@dailyuw.com.

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