By Anastasia Burton
Students’ Union President Clare Austick has confirmed that the University has identified a need for more laptops that would be accessible to students for free. The financial strain of university, as well as the ever growing rent rates, are leaving some students unable to purchase a laptop for their work in college and it can be difficult to study or focus on writing academic essays in PC suites which are usually filled with other students.
The University has approved €51,000 worth of funding towards purchasing 24 laptops and 24 self-charging lockers, which will be freely accessible to the student population. These laptops and self-charging lockers will be made available in the library and run in the same manner as taking out a book. This would mean that only those with a student card would be able to take out the laptops for up to four hours a day.
When asked about when the laptops would be introduced, Clare Austick mentioned that the laptops and the charging lockers would still have to be bought and set up with the help of Information Solutions and Services (ISS). She was hopeful that the laptops would be introduced by September at the latest.
The introduction of the laptops is seen as a big win for the Union, as they had been working on achieving this since last summer, when the current full-time officers took office. The collaboration between the library and the Union helped them develop the idea and present it to the University, who were open to the idea of bringing in student accessible laptops. Considering that the University usually installs DELL computers in PC suites and some classrooms, it would be likely that the laptops will also be by DELL, with whom they also have a contract.
There were many steps taken in the pursuit of these new facilities. As well as the library, the Union also collaborated with ISS, while they also spoke to some students to fill out the application, in order to deliver a stronger case to the University to prove the need for these laptops to be brought in. This programme was approved on the second round of student projects, which meant it took a couple of months to gather a solid case to put to the University, as well as time for them to investigate the need themselves and approve the application.