Additional laptops for approved loan program at El Camino College

The Board of Trustees voted unanimously at a meeting held on Tuesday, September 6 to purchase an additional 150 laptops that will be part of El Camino College Laptop and Internet Access Loan Program.

El Camino College will pay $172,734.98 to purchase new 14-inch HP ProBooks to cover the needs of returning students in the fall of 2022.

President Brenda Thames strongly recommended that the board approve the purchase of additional laptops to meet increased student demand this fall.

“It is expected that this increase will also meet spring requirements,” Thames said.

The Laptop and Internet Access Loan Program allows all El Camino students to borrow valuable electronic tools such as laptops, calculators and wireless Internet access points free of charge.

In an interview with The Union ahead of the meeting, library and learning resources specialist Erika Yates said the global pandemic had accelerated El Camino’s launch schedule for the computer loan program. laptops.

“The laptops were originally purchased with the money we received for COVID relief and the [computers] were purchased in 2020,” Yates said.

Whenever a student needs a laptop or hotspot, it’s often Yates who hands it over physically.

Currently, Yates has a list of over 100 students waiting for additional laptops. The list is capped at 100 to ensure that everyone on the list will receive a computer.

“The demand is definitely over 100 because I had at least 50-60 students after keeping this list, still waiting and looking for laptops. My email is full of people asking for me, so I know the demand is higher than that,” Yates said.

A note written on a whiteboard by a staff member informs students in the El Camino College library that there are no more laptops or calculators available for loan on Wednesday, September 6. Erika Yates, library and learning center specialist, said she has more than 100 students who currently need to loan El Camino materials. (Delfino Camacho | The Union)

Yates hopes the program will expand to appeal to a wider range of students, such as working parents who may not be able to take advantage of on-campus computer labs due to family responsibilities.

“Having a computer that you can use at home is a big plus for someone like that and it’s very fair,” Yates said. “It’s very popular, I really don’t see it going away anytime soon and I don’t really think it should.”

Sidney Lee, student administrator for the Association of Associated Students (ASO), explained the origins of the loan scheme in a statement provided to The Union.

“Our laptops are actually funded by the Foundation and our executive director, Andrea Sala,” Lee said. “She’s kind of in charge of the Foundation and she’s done an amazing job, just making sure she meets the needs of the students.”

The El Camino College Foundation is a non-profit organization established in 1983. According to the El Camino College website, its mission is to “develop community relationships and raise funds to support student success in education.” And life “.

Each year, the Foundation offers more than 600 scholarships to students and claims more than $2.3 million in funds raised in the 2020-2021 academic year.

Lee clarified that the Foundation “is not part of the Associated Student Organization (ASO)”.

Lee said there may be more demand to come this semester from a personal anecdote shared with the board, explaining that when visiting new additions to the library on the first day of the fall semester, she received a message that the library was officially sold out. laptops to lend.

“We’ve been notified that the laptops are out and it’s literally day one. Not even, it was only half the day,” Lee said.

The high demand for laptops meant that emergency meetings were being held to ensure the board had a chance to vote on the 150 additional laptop purchases that would eventually pass.

“It was a little disappointing to have to tell the students that we no longer had laptops. But only a few days later our amazing Foundation Director Andrea had a special board meeting and we received this money which we just spent on [get] the 150 new laptops, so that was very exciting,” Lee said.

When asked after the meeting if it would be possible to buy more laptops, should the need arise again, Lee clarified that she didn’t know and didn’t want to speak on behalf of the board. administration or the El Camino College Foundation.

“I don’t know,” Lee said. “But you know what? Andrea has done a lot of amazing things and I wouldn’t be surprised if she was able to pull it off.

Editor’s Note: Updated photo caption credit location September 8, 2022 7:54 PM

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