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Thursday, May 13, 2021

$120,000 student fee funding future tech projects

The Student Technology Committee is asking for student comment to help decide which new tech investment will be funded in the upcoming year.

Students currently pay $35 per quarter in student technology fees. Forty percent of the fee goes to the replacement of computers in the labs on campus. All of the computers are replaced every four years.

Of these fees, 8.2 percent, about $120,000, is set aside for the Tech Initiative, a program that allows students and faculty to propose plans for tech needs on campus.

“We know that the student tech fee is an additional burden on students, but it is really important and provides some critical infrastructure,” Vice Provost for Information Technology John Lawson said. “This proposal fund allows us to spread technology around [campus].”

Students, faculty and staff can submit abstracts, funding requests for tech expenses, which the committee then reviews before deciding which project should be funded from the student tech fee,  Lawson said.

The committee has $120,000 to award and currently $200,000 worth of proposed projects.

“The proposals that would have taken all the available funding are typically not looked on favorably because we like to spread the wealth,” Lawson said.

One proposed project is The Alternative Digital Textbook. If funded, it would allow several classes to switch to a digital textbooks. The digital textbook is based around a similar program rolled out by the Tacoma Community College which has saved students over $1 million in two years.

Another proposal is to replace the Scanning Electron Microscope, a giant microscope that allows students to use electrons to learn topography and composition of varying objects. The microscope was purchased in 2003 and has become outdated and no longer supports the newer software updates needed to function. The microscope gets on average 50 hours of use a week by students and faculty. This proposal is requesting $40,000, about a fourth of all the funding available.

Students are invited to submit their comments about the proposals until Monday, May 9 by emailing Diana Bateman, Lawson’s assistant. Those emails will then be given to the Student Technology Committee to read through while making their final decision.

The student Technology Committee will make their final decisions on which proposals get funded on Wednesday, May 18.

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