Editorial: Rethinking ThinkPads

North Wind Staff

Northern Michigan University prides itself on being the first public university in Michigan to pursue the idea of a mobile campus, and we commend the initiative NMU has taken to be  competitive in technological advances and the TLC laptop initiative.

Comic Credit: Dorsey Sprouls

NMU administration has taken a number of measures to equip its students and faculty with the proper technology to keep up with the pace of the world today in the many industries we, as students, plan to enter following graduation. Now we ask that the university work to remain competitive in its laptop initiative.

We suggest the university update its methods with the laptop program and create an option system for students, in which three different computer models are offered to students and faculty, allowing members to choose which system they get, and to decide whether they’d like to pay the extra fees, if necessary.

We suggest, upfront, the extra costs for certain systems like the Mac are laid out clearly. That way, the user has options and doesn’t feel they’ve been forced into adopting unneeded software.

The current system issues ThinkPad models to incoming students, covered in tuition costs. Adobe programs can be downloaded at the HelpDesk for no additional cost to students. Art and Design majors are issued Apple notebook computers, rather than the ThinkPads. According to the IT Services Notebook Distribution Information Web page, students issued the Apple computers are charged a $385 TLC rental fee.

When President Barack Obama visited campus Feb. 10, 2011, he spoke of the need to be competitive in innovating, educating and building a strong foundation of students and citizens. He applauded NMU for the wireless communication services installed by the university.

“This university tried something new,” Obama said. “You partnered with various companies to build a high-speed, next generation wireless network. And you managed to install it with six people in only four days without raising tuition.”

This is an impressive feat by the university, especially when rural areas like Marquette tend to be late adopters to technological advances.

Let’s continue this tradition at NMU and remain up-to-date on the most cutting edge technology. Let’s continue to prepare our students for life after college by providing students with the communication and technological capabilities that are the most recent.

The university jumped the gun and pulled ahead of the competition with the technology program offered here in Marquette and we ask that the university continue to be a competitor in the technology offered on campus. We, however, request that NMU continues to find ways to improve upon our program here as technology is updated, worldwide.

As students, we realize there is money involved in providing such opportunities for 7,000 plus students, and there are kinks to be worked out. We hope the university can continue to progress toward the most prominent technological advances and continue to remain a top competitor.