SA to overhaul blitz terminals

by Alex Belser | 10/21/04 5:00am

Dartmouth's student government is in the midst of plans to overhaul 48 aging BlitzMail terminals around campus -- but they want the College's help.

Student Assembly passed a proposal Tuesday that would allocate up to $10,000 for the purchase of new computers, with the stipulation that the College match those funds.

"It's important for the College to contribute to something that's really become a part of daily life at Dartmouth," Student Body President Julia Hildreth '05 said.

With $20,000, Hildreth said the current plan would be to try to purchase 50 eMacs from Apple Computer. The Assembly will also seek additional College funds in order to add a few new terminal locations at the Collis and Hopkins centers.

Hildreth said it had come time to take some action on the terminals, which she said are seven years old and difficult to maintain.

At any one time, about five of the terminals are completely broken and 10 or more have problems like broken keys, Assembly vice president Todd Rabkin Golden '06 estimated.

Next to the Courtyard Cafe at the Hopkins Center, where one of two BlitzMail computers has been broken since the beginning of the term, Sayat Ozyilmaz '08 said the overhaul would be helpful. "I think it would be very useful because waiting in line for the blitzes is just taking too much time," he said.

"I think it's pretty good because usually the blitz terminals can get very congested ... often you'll see the terminals down," said Corey Chu '08.

Some did express doubt over the project.

Aaron Golas '07 said the terminals "seem operational enough," but added that "replacing the broken ones is definitely a good start."

Deana Wojcik '07, meanwhile, thought the project would be helpful, but wondered if there were "more pressing" things the money could be used for.

Even if the Assembly does not immediately receive College matching funds, Golden said it is likely broken iMac terminals will be replaced, possibly through another proposal. "One way or another, the worst computers will be replaced very soon," he said.

According to Hildreth and Rabkin Golden, the plan is to complete the project this winter, possibly for a couple of days during either Thanksgiving or winter vacation. They said they are going with Macs because they come with computer and monitor included in just one unit and are resistant to viruses, a common problem for public machines.

After contentious debate at Tuesday's meeting over spending such a large sum, including a tie-breaking vote by Hildreth against tabling the resolution for a future meeting, the measure passed by a vote of 18-5, according to Assembly minutes.

Following up on a project from over the summer, the Assembly has also organized the distribution of blue seven-by-four inch magnets with information about Dick's House to student Hinman boxes.

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