Meet the Campus • The VU Repro

There is a place at the VU, some of you might have never heard of. It is a place where people go underground to get their documents printed. We are talking about the Repro. The people who work there, can give you advice about what’s best for your document or just print your documents quickly. They offer a 5 day a week service to fulfill your wishes, but what is the story behind these people?
In this blog production manager Ruud van Es will give away some fun and interesting facts about the Repro.

When did you start working at the Repro?

Since 1997. I started working at the Repro right away. Before that, I have always worked in this kind of field. I have worked at a print shop, an advertising studio and supplying plates. So I have always been in the Repro world. The major difference with the early days is that back then we used printing techniques, and now almost everything is automatically provided by the printers themselves. Back then we had to think about ink types, now the printing press has been replaced by the printers.

What does the word Repro mean?

Repro is short for Reproduction. Because that is what we do here, but it is not the only thing we can do. There is so much more. We are called ‘the kopieercentrum’, which a pretty outdated name in my opinion because we do not only make copies for students, we also provide posters, flyers, business cards, banners for events at the university and much more.

What kind of things does the Repro do for the VU?

The Repro has got two branches; one is the part that works for all of the VU staff and everything that goes to the cost center, like brochures of faculties, master days, advertising campaigns or syllabuses. Most of the printed materials you encounter in the VU bookstore are also provided by the Repro. The other branch is the one for students only, that’s still called ‘het kopieercentrum’, but in my opinion, Digital Printing would be better suited. Nowadays students are coming to the Repro with their USB, so we do not really copy documents very much anymore. We also have many contacts with student associations. We produce flyers for them or seal their letters for all of the members. Also, for your study association Aureus, we often take care of printing the tutoring booklets. Students are mostly not very graphic people themselves, so in many cases, we have to prepare their documents for them by changing it to the right size or program in order for it to get printed. This often takes some time, but we are happy to do everything that the students ask us to do. Most of the time, your documents are ready while you wait. Students at the desk often have the patience to wait.

What is the weirdest thing that ever happened to you while working here?

Once there was a girl who came here at 6 pm, while closing time is at 5 pm. She came in very stressed because she had to turn in her thesis by 18:30. Of course we printed her documents while she waited and we had no time to lose! After everything was done she asked what the costs would be, so I said that it was 12 euros or something. She grabbed her wallet out of her bag and held it upside down, so all her coins fell down on the service desk and she kind of ran away after that pretty quick, saying that it would be just enough to pay for her thesis. I was standing there watching her leave, while she did not take her thesis with her. So I waited for half an hour thinking she might come back, but I have never seen her again. That was pretty weird.

Is there anything you dislike about your job?

I really don’t like it when students are not nice or disrespectful to us. We want to help everyone in the same way, providing them good en quick service to make them satisfied, and the only thing I would like to get back is some sympathy. That’s not much to ask. There has been a research on the VU about customer satisfaction, and we were the number one on that test so that is very nice for us to know!

Do you ever think about switching jobs?

No, actually I don’t. I have been working in this field from the moment I started working in general, and I have done it with lots of pleasure ever since.

How do you feel about the fact that you’re working underground all day?

Well, I don’t mind working here because our surroundings in this small area are very nice. But, I think the location is a very big problem, playing a part in why lots of students don’t really know us. You have to go through a lot of halls to get here which causes that some people don’t even know we exist because we’re only on signs you get to see by going downstairs in the main hall. For myself, I do not think of it as a problem because we have got windows so you don’t really feel you’re underground all day.

Does it ever affect you negatively that you are working underground?

No, not personally. I just feel bad about the location for the students, because it is hard to find.

If you would be a poster, which size poster would you be?

Well, I would definitely be an A0 size. Very big, obvious and clear. I love that size. I also like it when people ask us to print that kind of poster, it is so beautiful what all of our printers can do.

How do you describe Repro in one word?


Would you like to meet more of the people working on our university campus? Read the rest of our Meet the Campus series here!