Columbia Print Produced Over 75,000 Assets to Aid in Campus Reopening

October 12, 2020

As Columbia’s campuses transformed to accommodate new health and safety measures this fall, Columbia Print played a critical behind-the-scenes role on a very visible element. In collaboration with campus partners like Columbia Creative, Communications and Public Affairs, and Facilities and Operations, Columbia Print produced a suite of new signage, postcards, and stickers to educate the Columbia community about ways to keep each other safe, like physical distancing and wearing face coverings. In total, Print produced more than 75,000 assets—everything from floor stickers to shuttle bus signage—many of which required a two-day, 24-hour, or even same-day turnaround.

Columbia Print is known for its adaptability and problem-solving, traits that served the department well during the COVID-19 pandemic as they transitioned to online-only orders. In the constant drive to improve their operation, Columbia Print purchased a sticker wide format printer just last year that allowed them to satisfy this year’s high demand. Because Print had made that purchase, they were able to save the University thousands of dollars by printing internally; 75 percent of orders would otherwise have needed to be outsourced.

“We’re always looking at new technology to help us be more efficient, and to create the best possible end product,” said Matthew Dougherty, Assistant Director for Columbia Print. “We saw wall graphics and stickers becoming more popular and wanted to be able to print them in-house, which really paid off in an unexpected way.”

The COVID-19 signage was developed following public health guidance and New York state requirements, and in collaboration with the University COVID-19 taskforce. The signs are designed to work in tandem with the individual behaviors articulated in the University’s Enhanced Health and Safety Policy and the Columbia Community Health Compact.

Members of Facilities and Operations helped reinforce the Compact during the first two weeks of classes, volunteering on campus as #StayHealthy Ambassadors. Columbia Print aided University partners by creating the stickers and postcards the staff volunteers handed out to returning students and faculty, encouraging responsible actions like physical distancing and wearing face coverings.

Individual departments on the Morningside and Medical Center campuses can order stickers, postcards, or supplemental signage from Columbia Print’s online catalogue

“While the sheer number of signs, stickers, and postcards produced was impressive in itself, most of these jobs were done in less than two days to get campus ready for reopening,” said Mike Pagan, Executive Director for Columbia Print, Mail, and Transportation. “The team takes great pride in supporting these critical communications needs and in servicing the community by providing true value as an in-house print shop.”