Coryell: IT to cut down on printer usage, costs


Chief Information Officer Brett Coryell talks to faculty during a University Council meeting Sept. 9. The information technology department spends around $750,000 a year on printing, Coryell said.

By Margaret Maka

Students, faculty and staff may see less printers next year as NIU plans to cut down on the amount of material printed to save costs.

Departments will have the option to consolidate all of their personal printers into fewer print devices, Chief Information Officer Brett Coryell said at a University Council meeting Wednesday. It’s not easy to determine exactly how much NIU spends on printing because the printing operations are distributed over many different departments, but the paper costs for Information Technology Services department, which prints admissions brochures and similar items, alone are around $750,000 a year, Coryell said.

“We see in the labs where we have printers just reams and reams of paper every week that are never even picked up off the printers,” Coryell said. “They get printed and never collected.”

Coryell said he didn’t have an exact cost for the wasted paper, but that it’s “more than we need.”

“So even just the waste, I would estimate it’s hundreds of thousands of pages per year of pure waste, not just paper that goes to useful purposes,” Coryell said.

Based on an initial audit in some of the buildings on campus, there are currently more printers on campus than employees, Coryell said. Many of those printers are personal lasers or inkjet printers which are a more expensive way to print, he said.

“So if you just do reasonably sensible things, like saying, ‘Could you walk maybe ten feet to get to a printer?’ And then we only have one printer within any 10-foot radius. Then we think that there’s over half a million dollars a year in recurring cost savings that we could get by removing those printers — those consumer ones — and going to a managed print device.”

Coryell said switching over to a newer managed print system would in many cases provide a higher reliability printer with increased functionality.

“That’s a pretty good thing if we can save half a million a year [by cutting] things and not people,” Coryell said.

Departments that choose to opt-in to the new printing system will receive the cost savings that are currently coming out of their budget for printing.

“[The departments] would be the ones to immediately realize the benefits,” Coryell said.

Green Printing

There will be a new green initiative in regards to printing, and quota printing will officially end next year, said Dillon Domke, Student Association Senate speaker.

“A lot of the students do feel that professors or teachers require printing when it may not be necessary, so we’re gonna be getting that off the ground here soon,” Domke said.

Domke said he and Coryell will be meeting this week to discuss upcoming printing changes.

“It’s also the fact that there’s a handful of people that’ll say, ‘You need to turn it in online and also you need to print something out as well,’ which is … why do one if you’re doing the other?” Domke said.

President Doug Baker said he appreciated the solution Coryell has provided..

“Maybe we don’t need to be printing at all,” Baker said.