By Colter Hettich, Features Editor
The days of late night computer labs bustling with freshmen might be quickly drawing to a close, if they have not already. With 93 percent of incoming freshmen bringing their own computers to ACU, the theory behind computer labs has become less and less relevant.
George Saltsman, executive director for the Adams Center for Learning, serves as chair of the LINK team. LINK – leadership, infrastructure, networking and knowledge – “administers the technology portion of the Academic Enrichment and Technology (AET) Fee,” according to www.acu.edu, and decided the residence hall computer labs no longer served their intended purpose.
“LINK said the model for having a lab, per say, has gone away,” Saltsman said. “And there probably is a better way of putting computers in the residence halls than dumping them in one place.”
With more incoming students bringing computers, students’ needs have changed. Instead of general computer access, most students need access to printers. ACU’s printing station in the Brown Library, CopyCat, intentionally was designed to accommodate this need.
J.P Hennessy, freshman Biblical studies and history major from Coppell, lives in Mabee Hall and said he might see one person in the lab as he walks by the area. He has never seen more than two.
“Pretty much everyone I know has their own computer,” Hennessy said. “Most of them have their own printers too, since Mac is offering a free printer when you buy a computer.”
LINK’s role primarily is funding and direction, Saltsman said. Residence Life must design how the university will implement the transition. No one from Residence Life was available for comment. John Delony, director of Residence Life and Housing, said he is working on a proposal for the Oct. 31 deadline.
Saltsman said, “There are likely to be computers and printers in the common rooms on each floor.”
LINK reviews all proposals in November and typically makes its final decision on Dead Day. Consumers’ growing attachment to their personal computers has helped push LINK’s focus from “what” to “where” the computers are.
“It’s definitely a trend we’re seeing all across technology,” Saltsman said. “The computer is becoming an extension of a person, and that connection is not something we want to sever.”
One major corporation already has begun catering to a growing trend. As part of its new program BYOC – Bring Your Own Computer, Citrix Systems employees receive a $2,100 stipend to buy a laptop of their choice and a threeyear service plan, according to the Associated Press.
Although incoming freshmen did not receive quite as generous an offer, the privilege of choosing between an iPhone or iPod Touch may be one step closer.