Unlimited free printing is a thing of the past for Duke students.

Duke’s Office of Information Technology recently announced the change in an effort to reduce students’ impact on the environment. The free allotment students receive will remain unchanged—$32 per semester for black and white printing—but each sheet of paper will cost $0.04 rather than the $0.02 charged last year. This allotment allows students to print 1,000 single-sided sheets or 2,000 double-sided sheets.

Students can request an additional $8 increase, and print jobs exceeding that cost will be charged to their FLEX accounts. Previously, there was no cap on the increase a student could request—allowing unlimited printing.

“We hope the quota will help the heaviest ePrint users to think hard about their printing practices, while raising awareness of sustainable printing for the unaffected majority,” said Evan Levine, OIT's director of academic services. “The new quota was chosen based on its minimal impact on the average student. Most students won’t be affected by the change at all.”

These changes are based on recommendations from Duke Student Government and Students for Sustainable Living. Students in SSL have argued that only 20 percent of undergraduates printed over this new quota last year.

Video by Duke Students for Sustainable Living

“We’re hoping that this change impacts how people think,” said junior David Clancy, a member of SSL who presented the proposed changes to DSG last spring with senior Leah Catotti. "One thing that we hope will change in the thinking is when someone chooses to print something out, they realize that printing is using resources—both environmental and financial.”

Clancy, Catotti and Fareed Khan, a Master of Management Studies candidate at the Fuqua School of Business, noted in their guest column in April that ePrint users printed the equivalent of 2,100 trees or 170,000 pounds of paper last year.

Clancy added they will be not be able to gauge the new policy's impact until printing data has been collected at the end of the semester or year.

"The process of making paper is a rather dirty and resource-intensive process," he said. "Any reduction in paper will be good for the environment."

Levine said the change has been well received by students so far.

"Printing is a necessary service for students at Duke and our goal is to continue offering the ePrint service in a sustainable and high-quality manner," he said. "Students have been very supportive of this approach, and keeping these conversations going will ensure the change is effective."