Printers are a necessity at Wellesley College, often allowing students to turn in their homework. Whether it be in the initial printing of a scholarly article to be studied, highlighted and annotated, or in the production of a copy of a just-finished 20 page essay, printers meet an essential and frequent need for students.
In spite of this, these devices often seem few and far between on Wellesley’s campus, only present in select buildings, most of which have limited hours and machines. Thus, immediate access to printers is problematic for some Wellesley students, some of which opt to install their own printers in their rooms.
“I decided to bring my printer for convenience, for printing last minute psets, papers, and short things. It can be a hassle to walk all the way over from the quad to Pendleton or Clapp Library, so I thought bringing my printer would be nice to have,” said Soobean Jo ’19. “ I personally don’t think it’s a necessity, but a really nice luxury to have. It was also easier for me, since I didn’t have to buy a new printer; I just brought the one from home.”
Fortunately, these printing issues should soon be solved, and students who do not want to walk far or buy their own printers can rejoice at the prospect of having accessible printers in their residence halls, thanks to a 2016 Ballot Initiative. Each year, Wellesley allocates two percent of its Student Activity Fee to go toward a Ballot Initiative.
Ballot Initiatives begin as student-designed proposals for programs to improve campus life, and one proposal is chosen annually to receive $11,000 in funding. Students select each year’s ballot initiative in early April. Votes are cast during Wellesley’s election week, at the same time students run for positions in campus organizations like College Government. The proposals are included on the same ballot, hence the name.
The Ballot Initiative proposal with the most votes receives funds from the college that year to be used to implement its vision. This past spring, students voted overwhelmingly for the Accessible Printers Initiative.
The initiative was first imagined by a group of friends in Munger, led by Holly Raiborn ’17. The students felt that they could design a practical and relevant ballot initiative that would increase Wellesley students’ access to printers. In March and April, the proposal was advertised through mass emails and Facebook events. The students made clear the goal of the program: to fulfil a much desired need on the Wellesley campus.
In March, Raiborn sent out an email to all of Wellesley’s students, saying, “Currently, the printing on campus can only be accessed during limited hours, and students are required to travel to one of the libraries or Pendleton. However, this is not always possible as students could face difficulty in traveling due to weather, could be injured, [or] could need emergency printing at a time it is just not possible to leave their [residence] hall.” Raiborn advocated that printers should be located in residence halls to improve accessibility.
The ballot-initiative group, made up of nine students across campus, proposed during their campaign that they could collaborate with Library and Technology Services (LTS) to train student print managers appointed via House Councils to create a sustainable and efficient method of upkeep. Since the passing of the initiative, the work to bring it to life—done mostly this fall—has gone smoothly. Elizabeth Loizides ’19, one of the students who designed the proposal and continues to work for the Accessible Printers Initiative, explained that the group is now working with Library and Technology Services and the Office of Student Involvement.
LTS has been especially integral to the program, Loizides noted. She also spoke about the specific use of the $11,000 grant they were given to fund this initiative. “We are fortunate that the printers, ink, toner, and release stations are being supplied by LTS. The funds are being used to pay the student workers at each location and to order hand trucks for each location, and any other supplies we might need along the way,” said Loizides. The student workers will be known as Student Printer Techs, and three will be assigned to each of the residence halls that will house the new printers. These residence halls are Bates, Shafer, Stone-Davis and Tower. Each dorm neighborhood will then have access to a printer. The student workers will be in charge of the upkeep and proper use of these printers.
There is not currently a set date for the installation of the printers, but they are expected to be running before the end of this semester.