Students on campus need a effective student center. Currently, many of the functions of a student center are dispersed throughout campus – the post office is located in Todd Union, the bookstore is in the Frederick Douglass building and public computers are found in Rush Rhees Library and the ITS Center.
Adding computers to the main floor of Wilson Commons will bring the building one step closer to becoming a true student union. Giving students the ability to check their e-mail, surf the Web and perhaps even work on papers in Wilson Commons will add a vital dimension to the building that is supposed to be the hub of campus activity.
In their plans to install computers in Wilson Commons, planners should explore which locations and functions will best serve students. The optimal location for computers in Wilson Commons is the main floor – in Hirst Lounge, if possible – where they will be easily accessible and visible.
Another location that could be looked into is the coffee shop. Since the Common Ground Caf is a place where students spend a lot of time studying or just hanging out, computers placed there would surely be utilized.
Cost is a factor that must always be considered. In efforts to keep the price of new computers down, it is important to remember that the primary function of computers in Wilson Commons should be to check e-mail and as a source of Internet access. Wilson Commons computers need not be equipped with high-tech, expensive features such as DVD burners or scanners. These functions can be accessed on computers in the ITS Center or the Multimedia Center.
Administrators should also consider adding more laptops to the one already available for borrowing at the Hive. This will allow more students to take advantage of UR’s new wireless network.
Since the space in the Hive is no longer in use as a pub, it could be considered for use as an Internet caf where students can work on lengthier projects.
Adding computers to Wilson Commons is an idea that should be pursued. It gives students yet another reason to utilize the building that should be the hub of campus life.