Students need better computer access

Letter to the Editor

It’s getting late, but you are still not done with your Photoshop project. If you can’t finish before the lab closes, you will have to wake up early and cram it in before class.

This is because computer software such as Photoshop, other Adobe programs and MATLAB are either too expensive for college students to own or impractical to purchase for a single class.

Yes, the easy solution is for students to finish their work while the labs are still open. However, current lab operating hours are inconvenient for students hoping to complete projects late at night or on the weekend.

Currently, only one of the seven Arts & Sciences Apple/Windows computer labs is open past 10 p.m. during the week, and none are open on Saturdays.

College students have a lot on their plates, and current lab hours often do not fit into their schedules.

Recently, the University has made changes that better serve students by extending the Monday-Friday operating hours of Rodgers Library to 24 hours a day. Unfortunately, Rodgers does not have computers equipped with the aforementioned software.

Installing the essential programs to the current computers in the library would be the easiest fix. However, most may not adequately run the software, and students would be better served by updating Rogers’ fleet of outdated and software-deprived computers.

Upgrading a library’s set of computers is a large financial issue. However, in recent months the University has made an effort to update important computer labs with iMacs equipped with Dual Boot Mac Leopard and Windows XP.

Seeing that Rodgers Library has grown in importance due to its unique operating hours, upgrading its computer labs would make sense and pose the greatest benefit to students who need access to expensive computer programs.

Another practical option would be for the University to extend the operating hours of computer labs where the software is already installed. At least in the short run, this would be less of a financial burden than upgrading the ones in Rodgers. Whether new computers are added to Rogers or some labs are made open 24/7, students need to have around the clock access to programs required by academic courses.

As a student who needed MATLAB for one of my classes and struggled to match my schedule with that of computer labs, I hope that students will be able to use this program and others for as many hours as possible.

David Simpson is a sophomore majoring in economics and political science. He is a candidate for SGA Senate.