March 23, 2015, BY Heather Johns

It's the moment you've been waiting for — the culmination of hours of intense research and frenzied typing. Your paper at last is done. You click PRINT and walk to the nearest printer to await your masterpiece, which is due when class starts. In five minutes. 

Then the nightmare begins.

Maybe the printer is short on paper or out of toner. It's tied up with a massive print job, or has been surrounded by a mass of hovering, agitated students.

Everyone has experienced the perils of printing at some point, but thanks to Bucknell's new project — Follow-Me Printing — students can put that particular nightmare to bed.

Follow-Me Printing allows students at Bucknell to send their print documents to a centralized queue rather than to a specific printer. They can then walk to any of a number of printers across campus, swipe their BUID card and choose which of those documents to print, there and then.

"With this system, students can queue a print job from their laptop while they're in their room, on the quad, or anywhere on campus," explains Project Manager Susanna Jackson. "They can retrieve it from the nearest printer on their way to class."

Students can also now print in color, a feature not previously available on publicly accessible printers.

The Follow-Me Printing project is result of collaboration among three campus departments: Library and Information Technology; Publications, Print & Mail; and Finance.

"Improving the user experience is always paramount," said Jackson. "Bucknell evaluated this technology for two years while analyzing the positive impacts to students and the services the University can offer."

Staci Dubow '18 approves of the change: "The new printing program allows me to pick up my documents when it's best for me, which ensures that they don't get mixed up with other students'."

In addition to improving user experience, Jackson hopes Follow-Me Printing will have a positive environmental impact by reducing uncollected printer output. "We've already seen a significant reduction in the amount of paper waste over this same time last year at these same printers," she said.

The initial rollout for Follow-Me Printing was limited to five printers in central locations on campus; seven more were added over spring break. "There are nearly 100 total copiers and many more printers on campus, so we'll break the program launch into manageable phases," said Lisa Hoover, director of Publications, Print & Mail. "The goal is for all Bucknell copiers and printers to be included."