SUNY Fredonia’s vision of ensuring that all students are also equipped with the technology they need to be successful is greatly enhanced by the development of the innovative FRED Laptop Program.
From the fall semester 2021, first year students will be able to acquire state-of-the-art laptops with the software they need for their studies at Fredonia. This is part of President Stephen H. Kolison Jr.’s inter-campus initiative to both provide equal opportunities for all students and “protect the university from crises.”
“COVID-19 has taught us a lot, including the need to be able to continue to teach and learn effectively under a variety of circumstances – pandemic, climate, or induced preference. To achieve this, access to the right technology by students, faculty and staff is essential, ”said President Kolison.
“It is my vision that four years from now all students at SUNY Fredonia will be equipped with the appropriate laptops or devices to facilitate learning anywhere and anytime,” said Kolison.
The FRED Laptop Program will make state-of-the-art Microsoft Windows or Apple laptops available to meet the technological needs of Fredonia students, said Executive Director of Enrollment Services Cory Bezek.
“Our goal is to be able to provide quality, affordable laptops so that students can learn in all environments and be successful,” Bezek said.
Through the new program, incoming students will have the opportunity to receive a professional grade laptop, preconfigured for Fredonia, with premium warranty and full on-campus technical support provided by Campus Internet Technology Services. The Fredonia Faculty of Students Association (FSA) has partnered with vendors to offer laptop computer packages to students at competitive prices.
Participating students will have the option of making a single payment to purchase a laptop computer during their first semester or subscribe to a four-semester capital lease purchase plan, thus avoiding the financial burden of the pure purchase. and simple from a laptop or tablet at the start of their college career. Students can also incorporate the cost of the laptop into their financial aid program.
“Also, making these technological necessities affordable or profitable for students will be part of my fundraising goals for the university,” Kolison said.
According to Ben Hartung, acting chief information officer, the full technical support students will receive includes four-year warranty service with accidental damage protection, repairs by on-site technicians, and a free loan program. A choice of laptops including Lenovo ThinkPad, Apple MacBook Air, Apple MacBook Pro, and Dell Latitude was developed by a student IT subcommittee, depending on the needs of the program.
“For students who don’t know what kind of computer to buy, it gives them a good sample or a good orientation, depending on their particular specialty,” added FSA Executive Director Darin Schulz. The program’s four-year warranty exceeds the manufacturer’s standard service plans, he added.
The FRED laptop is unique among the limited number of computer programs found at other schools affiliated with specific majors, Schulz explained. Fredonia’s program covers a wide academic spectrum, meeting the mobile computing needs of students in all disciplines.
The program addresses an important need of students identified by Fredonia during the transition to e-learning during the coronavirus pandemic, Bezek explained. Last spring, students used funding from the CARES Act or emergency financial aid provided by the Fredonia College Foundation to acquire new computers or Internet service. Many students’ computers had older technology or lacked web cameras and other features.
“What COVID has shown us is that our students need to be flexible,” Bezek said. “FRED Laptop will help students access high quality technology. “
“Another benefit that I foresee is that when this program is fully implemented, we will remove some of the many computer labs on campus and use those spaces for emerging needs,” Kolison said.