2017 IRD News

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Computer Recycling Serves the Mission

Posted: March 10, 2017  |  by Troy Knickerbocker
Filed Under: Information Resources Division

In keeping with the University of the Incarnate Word’s mission and commitment for outreach into the community, the Information Resources Division partnered with the Ettling Center for Civic Leadership to give outgoing computer equipment new life at South Texas non-profits.Dr. Ricardo Gonzalez with recycled computers.

The initiative recycles older computer hardware for re-use at San Antonio and South Texas non-profits, where they are put to good use by agency staff and their clients.

Computers for donation are four years old, making their computing power and cost of upkeep less than ideal for the university’s use. However, for agencies and charities struggling with limited budgets, they can be welcome assets.

To date, more than 40 computers have been donated to local agencies, according to Dr. Ricardo Gonzalez, associate director of the Ettling Center for Civic Leadership, which coordinates the effort.

“It’s a natural connection for us to be the conduit between the university and the community,” Gonzalez said. The computers, while older, still serve valuable purposes, he said.

Lizzy Nemeth, Executive Director at the Catholic Charities Guadalupe Community Center, called the five computers the center received “a huge blessing.”

“All of our programs run on lean budgets, with funding we receive limited to client services,” she said.

Another example is at the Southwest Independent School District, where students learning cybersecurity skills take apart and re-assemble the older machines to learn about the hardware.

“It helps them understand the older technology, which is still very much in use,” Gonzalez said.

In South Texas, Arise, a community center serving families of border colonias, five computers with Internet access are available.

“The community centers there serve 300 to 400 families at any given time,” Gonzalez said, “so we are impacting 1,500 people.”

Future plans for the program include an application process for interested partners, he said, with a selection committee comprising students faculty, and staff.

“The real goal isn’t necessarily the number of partners,” he said, “but the number of people we can reach out to.”


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