There are 38 photocopiers on campus, at least one in every building. The problem is that the cards used for payment are not unified.
Two companies are in charge of the cards of the photocopiers in campus. One of them is the Han-hak Company, and the other is the Ewha Livelihood Cooperative (ECOOP). Except for the photocopiers in the ECOOP store in the Student Union Building, all the photocopiers belong to Han-hak Company.
Students most frequently use the photocopiers in the Central Library and Student Union Building. The copiers in the Central Library belong to the Han-hak Company, the copiers in the Student Union Building belong to ECOOP, and the cards for the copiers in each of these buildings are different.
Three years ago, as the inconvenience surfaced, there were attempts to improve the matter. There were talks of unifying the cards used for operating the copiers by giving one company exclusive rights to the business.
However, ECOOP did not have the power to manage all the photocopiers that were operated by Han-hak Company for there were too many. And, ECOOP was not a professional copying company. It seemed more reasonable for the opposite to happen. But there were certain things that the school was dependent on. Being a nonprofit-based firm, ECOOP was stabilizing force in the copier service"s prices.
The school could not just force one side to give up, nor could it give the rights to one specific side. The talks were broken. Three years have passed; yet, there are no signs of a clear solution to the photocopying machines dilemma.
Some alternatives came out over the years. One was changing the payment method to coins, instead of cards. To this, Lee Young-jae from the Office of Purchasing says, "Using coins means going a step backwards. Coin-operated copiers are a level below the card operated copiers." He adds, "Moreover, the coin operated copiers break down easily, and we"ll need machines to change the bills to coins."
Another alternative was unifying only the cards. The companies would get their share of profit by settling accounts.
"Making this settlement also isn"t easy. But a bigger problem is changing the old cards to new cards. We can"t just refund the amount that is left in the used cards," says Baek Kuk-een, representative of Han-hak Company.
Yet, the ECOOP, Han-hak Company, and the Office of Purchasing all agreed on one fact; the campus has to form an on-line network.
ID Cards will substitute payment. The copiers and company computers will be networked with the students" computers, allowing students to make documents at home and then send the files to a copier at school. The copier will print the documents, and the students will be able to pick them up the next day.
Lee is cautiously optimistic about the prospect for solving the matter: "Technology is changing the world. It may take years or just months for our hopes to come true. Nobody can be sure about when that point in time will be reached, but there are possibilities of a soon realization. Until then, we shall work out better alternatives. Students who have ideas about the matter are always welcome to help us.”