Student Petition Calls for Technology Update
Published: Friday, March 18, 2011
Updated: Friday, March 18, 2011 04:03
With wireless Internet access installation in residence halls slated to be complete by the end of the academic year, a group of students is pushing for the university to engage in more projects to improve technology on campus.
Georgetown University Technology Awareness 2011, an online blog which began as a class project two weeks ago, has gained popularity as an outlet through which students can demonstrate their desire for better technology on campus.
GUTAI is a project "to highlight the glaring technological deficiencies at Georgetown," according to the blog. The initiative also has a Facebook page and a Twitter account.
The project is also circulating a petition among students pushing for campus-wide wireless Internet and more electrical outlets in Lauinger Library. As of Thursday night, the petition had 87 signatures, 43 people are following the Twitter account and 39 people have liked the Facebook page.
"The goal of our project is to raise awareness and let the administration know that we should have the technology to live up to our reputation as a top-tier school," co-Founder Pete D'Amato (MSB '13) said. GUTAI is an assignment for Nathaniel Rivers' English class, "The Rhetoric of New Media," which was offered for the first time this year.
Amato runs the initiative alongside classmates Eric Bulakites (COL '13), Lexi Tompkin (COL '13) and Bryn Hastings (MSB '14).
The group plans to send the petition to various administrators after they acquire at least a quarter of the student body's signatures. In addition to circulating it amongst various student groups, D'Amato plans to create a public service announcement video to promote the petition.
Beth Anne Bergsmark, senior director of University Information Services, said she had not heard of the petition until contacted by The Hoya.
"On a semester basis, UIS does meet with members of Inter Hall, Georgetown University Student Association, Georgetown Student Organization and other interested students," she said. "The primary interest from student groups has been in expanding wireless capability and that has been our focus this year."
D'Amato said that while inconsistent wireless access on campus was problem, there were also other glaring technological deficiencies. The lack of outlets in Lauinger Library has driven students away from studying in the library, he said, causing overcrowding in the Rafik B. Hariri Building.
The university is working to install wireless in every residence hall on campus, and UIS has said that every dorm will have access by the end of the academic year.
Nicole Pascoe (SFS '13), a resident of Copley Hall, which received access over spring break, said she is pleased by the new wireless Internet
"Especially when it comes to group projects and things like that, it's really useful to be able to move around the dorm," Pascoe said. "Personally, I don't like working at my desk. Now I can work wherever I want in my room."
D'Amato hopes the petition will encourage the university to expand its wireless installation plans beyond residence halls and academic buildings.
"I know UIS has installed wireless in Copley — if that extends to the lawn, that's great. If not, that's something that needs to be done soon," D'Amato said. "I know the school has been talking a lot about installing wireless campus-wide, but we're just trying to put pressure on that."
Bergsmark said that LXR Hall will be the next residence hall to receive wireless on March 25.
"The wireless project is still moving forward," Bergsmark said. "While we do not have plans at this time to expand wireless coverage on the front lawn this summer, the Walsh [Building] is scheduled to receive wireless this summer."
Pascoe said she hoped GUTAI would bring about positive change.
"I think technology is something that's really important to the campus, so it's great that someone is bringing awareness to the issue," she said. "There should definitely be more power outlets, not just in [Lauinger Library] but also in the lecture halls."
While the initiative is gaining popularity, the creators do not have plans to extend the project beyond the end of the semester.
"Between now and May, I don't think we're going to make any tangible improvement to Georgetown's technology," D'Amato said. "But this is definitely something — I want people to be able to make their voices heard."