Off the Shelf: Print Smart campaign limits waste

Cristina Springfield, Librarian

Madison College students reduced their printing by more than half between the Spring 2013 and Fall 2013 semesters as a part of the Print Smart campaign.

This translates to significant environmental benefits for the college. The Print Smart campaign reduced the college’s printing environmental footprint from:

  • 15.66 trees being consumed during Spring 2013 semester to 6.97 during Fall 2013 semester.
  • 5,673 kilograms of CO2 produced during Spring 2013 semester to 2,526 during Fall 2013 semester.
  • 357,186.4 bulb hours during Spring 2013 semester to 159,044.1 during Fall 2013 semester.

“Student response to Print Smart has been outstanding. They reduced printing by 56 percent, which is higher than average when implementing such a program,” said Julie Gores, dean of Academic Support Services. Green means eco-friendly, and 62 percent of college applicants say having information about a college’s commitment to environmental issues would contribute to their decision to apply to or attend the school, according to a 2013 survey of 9,955 students by “The Princeton Review.”

In 2012, Madison College students printed more than 7 million sheets of paper, a lot of which ended up in the college’s trash and recycling barrels. In fall 2012, Madison College Libraries, which led the Print Smart campaign, collected print jobs that were not picked up at library printers at the suggestion of a student. At the end of the semester the paper stack weighed 96.2 pounds.

PaperCut, a software application installed on campus networks in early 2013, monitors student printing district wide and allows students to see their individual printing history. It also provides an extra reminder to check print jobs before sending them to print. Madison College was the last school in the Wisconsin Technical College System to implement print management software.

“There have been very few complaints and problems and the students were just great about rolling with it and making adjustments. We are very proud that we have become a much greener campus in just over six months–and that is because of our students,” Gores said.

The PaperCut software will lead to some major printing enhancements for students, including wireless printing from laptops and many mobile devices.

All students receive an allotment of free prints every semester and can purchase additional prints at an affordable cost to further encourage smart printing habits. Students can add money to their print account from any college computer using credit card, debit card or checking account information or by purchasing a pre-paid print card from a variety of places throughout the district.

See the complete Print Smart campaign website to find tips and tricks to reduce your printing at