Students for Sustainable Living presented a proposal to change the ePrint quota for undergraduate students.
Leighton Durham / The Chronicle
Students for Sustainable Living presented a proposal to change the ePrint quota for undergraduate students.
Senators were divided on issues of environmental sustainability and ePrint affordability at the Duke Student Government meeting Wednesday.

Representatives from Students for Sustainable Living—sophomore David Clancy and Fareed Khan, a master of management candidate at the Fuqua School of Business—presented a proposal to reduce the current print quota for undergraduate students. Clancy noted that under the current system, students use more than 2,100 trees’ worth of paper each year.

“We shouldn’t take lightly charging students money,” junior Ellie Schaack, vice president for facilities and the environment, said. “With that said, we saw that 2,100 trees are used by undergraduates each year, and that’s not insignificant.”

She noted that the Senate should consider the issue carefully before supporting the plan.

Junior Tristan Ballard, senator for services, presented a resolution supporting the proposal to the senate following the presentation. The senate responded with mixed opinions, especially concerning policies that would allow students to apply for exclusions to the quota.

Due to senators’ uncertainty, the vote on the resolution was postponed until next week’s meeting.

“There’s a difference between passively valuing sustainability and actively sustaining it, and we want to make that transition,” Khan said. “We think this new system will be able to do that.”

The current system allows students to use 1,600 sheets, or $32 at a cost of $0.02 per sheet, and allows students to apply for free refills in $10 increments. The proposal suggested a reduction from 1,600 sheets to 800 sheets as a soft cap and establishes a hard cap of 1,000 sheets for annual student printing, as well as increasing the price per sheet to $0.04.

Clancy presented a table of peer institutions’ student printing allocations and price charged per page from March 2014, noting that the University’s current quota and is significantly higher and the cost per sheet is significantly lower than those of other universities.

“We’re currently not even in the same ballpark as other universities,” Clancy said.

Khan noted financial and environmental benefits to the new system, explaining if students had stayed within the proposed cap this year the University would have saved $34,500 on printing alone. He said that this change would inspire a culture of student involvement and responsibility for the University’s environmental impact.

“We want to get to a system where people don’t view this as free printing,” Khan said. “We want people to understand that there are always costs and this is using resources.”

He added that the proposal has already been review by Executive Vice President Tallman Trask and Provost Peter Lange.

In other business:

Junior Joyce Lau, chair of the Student Organization Funding Committee, presented first reading of 2014-15 annual budget. She noted that the total budget is approximately $406,000, with $59,000 allocated to The Chanticleer—Duke's student yearbook.

Several senators raised opposition to funding The Chanticleer, but Lau noted that 1,300 of the approximately 1,600 seniors signed up to receive a yearbook this year. SOFC determined this was sufficient reason to fund the organization, she said.

Lau said new student organizations could be granted a maximum of $500. The Senate will view the budget for a second reading at the next meeting, at which time a vote can occur.

The Senate approved the constitutional amendments presented by junior Nikolai Doychinov, executive vice president, after a second reading.

The amendments include changing the name of the Student Organization Finance Committee to the Student Organization Funding Committee and allowing the executive board to issue executive orders as legislation when the Senate is not in session by a two-thirds vote. The amendments will appear on a referendum on the ballot for upperclassman senators on April 10.