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October 7, 2011

IS student’s printer proposal saves money and energy

Students at the University of Wisconsin-Eau Claire will save paper and electricity thanks to the purchase of duplex printers for residence halls. The printers, which allow the automatic printing of paper on both sides, were purchased with grant dollars provided by the UW-Eau Claire Student Senate's Student Office of Sustainability (SOS).

The SOS sought student proposals for environmentally sustainable initiatives. Among the projects selected for funding was the $12,380 Housing and Residence Life proposal developed by Matthew Sias, a senior information systems major from Hudson.

Sias' project funded the purchase of five new printers, 11 duplex units (one for each residence hall lab printer) and warranties on the equipment. Installation labor, signage, documentation and upkeep costs are being funded by Housing and Residence Life.

The printers for Housing and Residence Life were installed this summer. 

Sias, who is a lead student technician at the ResCom Help Desk, knew students wanted duplex printing.

"Duplex printing helps students save money since one sheet of paper can be used for twice the content," Sias said. "The Residence Hall Association had created signs that showed students how to manually feed paper into the printer to print on both sides, which helped, but few students had the time to do this, especially for multi-page documents."

Sias noted in his proposal that the number of pages printed in the labs on campus has increased every semester for years and duplex printing was one way to reduce the amount of paper being used.

"Installing automatic duplexers will cut paper consumption nearly in half," Sias said. "If the increased printing trend continues, I knew duplex printing would be the only viable way to cut down paper consumption in the immediate future."

Sais collaborated with Kevin LaVoy, technical support specialist for Housing and Residence Life, to develop his proposal. 

In addition to saving paper, the printers also are energy efficient and use less power to operate.

For more information about the duplex printers or sustainability initiatives in Housing in Residence Life at UW-Eau Claire, contact Kate Hartsel, housing sustainability coordinator, at 715-836-2505 or

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