The Georgetown University Student Association (GUSA) has reinstated an initiative that allows students to request a laptop at no cost for any period of time.
The program aims to serve Georgetown students’ accessibility and technology needs. GUSA’s Information Technology (IT) and executive teams worked together to obtain loaner laptops for students.
Currently, students can request laptops from Lauinger Library for a three-day period; however, the GUSA initiative allows students to use a form to request a laptop for any amount of time as long as supplies last.
GUSA IT Director Tyler Clough (MSB ’24) said that the new HP Chromebooks can be loaned out for any period of time while they are available.
“Students can borrow an HP Chromebook for as long as the whole academic year. The loan can also be as short as a couple of days,” Clough wrote to The Hoya.
Clough said that 15 chromebooks are currently available to be loaned out, with nine additional laptops in reserve that can also be loaned out if needed.
GUSA will loan the laptops out to students on a first-come, first-serve basis with priority for those who demonstrate financial need, according to the newsletter. Students can request a laptop for a variety of reasons, from financial barriers to a malfunctioning keyboard, according to Clough.
“No matter the issue, students can fill out the laptop loan request form from GUSA,” Clough wrote. “If a student’s computer is broken, if there’s a financial issue, if a camera is not working, if someone needs to keep work items on a separate computer – all are reasons to get a laptop from GUSA.”
GUSA President Camber Vincent (SFS ’24) said the initiative aims to fill the need for backup and loaner laptops that students often encounter if their own computer breaks or malfunctions.
“Students often faced issues on campus with broken or malfunctioning technology and had no easy access to a fix for the short or long term,” Vincent wrote to The Hoya. “Recognizing this gap and attempting to cover it, GUSA worked on the laptop loan initiative for a year or so before launching it.”
Deborah Wey (SFS ’24), a student who utilized the initiative last spring after her own computer suddenly broke, said the process of requesting and obtaining the laptop was easy and accessible.
“The experience was very smooth, I just had to fill out the form and then was connected very quickly with Tyler who was very kind and accommodating when it came to picking up the laptop,” Wey wrote to The Hoya.
Vincent said that work on the initiative began in 2021 under the leadership of former GUSA President Nile Blass (COL ’22), but GUSA only made the laptops available to students starting last spring.
Vincent said that GUSA is open to expanding the initiative and obtaining more equipment based on the level of demand they see this year.
“Currently, we have enough laptops to meet demand but will pursue expanding the program if it proves necessary,” Vincent wrote.
The program will expand the accessibility of technology to students at Georgetown throughout the year, according to Vincent.
“This initiative will help make Georgetown more accessible by assisting students year-over-year with access to technology if they face any issues unexpectedly during the school year and the technology cost becomes a financial barrier,” Vincent wrote.
Wey noted that, although the initiative meets urgent needs for a laptop, it is not sufficient to completely solve resource disparities at Georgetown in the long-term.
“I think the laptop loan was a really good idea and definitely helpful for me and others, especially in cases like mine where the need for a functional laptop was urgent,” Wey wrote. “However, I do not think that the loan initiative should be framed as the end-all-be-all resource for students when they are in need of a long-term laptop.”
“There 100% needs to be a program from other parts of the university that is able to provide more long-term solutions for students who are in need,” Wey added.