Other Efforts

To the Bryn Mawr Community:

Beginning with the fall 2011 semester, the College will implement a new policy designed to reduce printing in public labs.

Each individual will be given a quota of 1200 pages per semester which they may print in public labs at no cost.  When this quota is exceeded, a fee of five cents per page will be assessed.  For information on how the print quota and fees work see the IS Blog.

Information Services and a group of faculty and students have spent the last two years researching printing habits at Bryn Mawr and looking at various strategies our peers have adopted to reduce printing.  We are confident that this quota and per page fee is not only comparable to policies in place at other small liberal arts colleges, but should allow our students to do the printing that their work requires without incurring significant charges.

We recognize that this measure will impact our community.  We are hopeful that we can adapt to a new way of thinking about printing, its use in academic work, and its effects on the environment.  We will review this policy at the end of the fall 2011 semester and make adjustments to ensure that it meets the College’s budget goals and is environmentally responsible.


Over the last two years Bryn Mawr’s public printers have averaged:
•        3 million pages per year
•        40 lbs. of paper per year
•        400 trees per year


Based on past usage, we believe a quota of 1200 pages per semester  will allow free printing for 90% of our students.

The top 20% consume 35% of the public printers’ paper supply.  Last year, IS reached out to the top 12 printers and asked them if they were aware of how much they were printing.  We asked if they could tell us a little about why they print so heavily, so that we could better understand the need.  Most replied that they had no idea they were printing so much.  The highest printer was printing 20,000 pages per semester, other high printers were closer to 10,000-12,000 per semester.

Most of our peer institutions have already implemented printing quotas.  These quotas range from 0 to 1000 pages per semester.  A quota of 500 is common, and the average is 300.


This is as much a green initiative as it is about money.  The volume of printing has been rising at a rate of 10-20% each year, and the costs associated have  been rising at an annual rate of 30%.  Information Services pays for most costs associated with printing, and the IS budget has decreased by 10%.  IS switched to buying generic toner to control costs.  This has helped, but hasn’t achieved the goals set out in the budget forums, in which printing was identified as an area for potential savings.


Faculty members have begun exploring ways to use less paper in the classroom, such as in the fall 2011 360°, “Contemplative Traditions”.  IS and CLIC (faculty Committee on Libraries, Information Services and Computing) will continue to look for opportunities to work with faculty and students to think about the use of printing at Bryn Mawr..

Elliott Shore
CIO, Director of Libraries &
Professor of History

Jerry Berenson
CAO and Chair, Sustainability Steering Committee


2 Responses to “Other Efforts”

  1. Green Printing FAQ | Information Services Blog Says:

    […] FAQ details the new Green Printing Initiative posted […]

  2. As Earth Day Approaches, Campus Community Reports on a Multitude of Greening Efforts | Bryn Mawr Now Says:

    […] To encourage conservation of paper, Information Services implemented a printing quota of 1,200 pages per student per […]

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