by Mathias Wegner '99
Reading period in the computer center is like a war zone at times: harried students battle for computers, typing furiously amidst the papers and books that are strewn about them like the discarded casings of bullets in a foxhole.
Like it or not, computers have become an integrated part of the college experience, and few, if any Obies now get through their four years without them. The public labs in Mudd and Stevenson grant students access to computers, but they are often crowded, making it hard to concentrate. Most students prefer to study in the comfort and silence of their own rooms.
After financing an Oberlin education, however, many students don't have the resources to spend $1,200 or more for their own PC or Macintosh. Fortunately, there is a solution-the Oberlin Computer Recycling Program (OCRP).
Formed last semester and with a charter currently pending, OCRP refurbishes old computers donated by faculty, staff, and alumni. The computers are loaned to students on a semester-by-semester basis free of charge, minus a small security fee for a lockdown kit.
Computers are donated in a multitude of conditions, from fully working to presumed dead. Those that can't be fixed are dissected for spare parts and used in other machines. Most of the computers are relatively old; Mac SEs, Mac IIs, or Intel 486s, but if they can run a word processor, an old version of Netscape, and a telnet client, they're good enough for us.
So, if a computer in your home is simply collecting dust, please consider sending it to OCRP. We are also in need of spare parts, as many of our computers lack power cords, monitors, or keyboards.
To contact OCRP, send e-mail to firstname.lastname@example.org. For more information, visit the OCRP web page at www.oberlin.edu/~ocrp