The voice of De Anza since 1967.

La Voz News

The voice of De Anza since 1967.

La Voz News

The voice of De Anza since 1967.

La Voz News

    Students strapped for cash acquire free computers

    One application is all you need for a personal computer

    A half-dozen students and two assistants, or mentors, fix used computers to give to De Anza College students. For free. Pushing computer-laden wheelbarrows back and forth, they deliver the newly donated computers into the repair area.

    The Computer Donation & Scholarship Program at De Anza and Foothill Colleges offers advantages to two distinct types of students: free computers for those without them, and internships in computer engineering to those wanting hands-on experience in computer repair.

    The program “is a unique community initiative that benefits students, the business community and the environment,” states the program’s booklet.

    “These computers are available to all De Anza and Foothill students who cannot afford to buy one,” program coordinator Susan Malgren said.

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    The program gives computers to De Anza and Foothill students who complete the application, and qualify. To qualify, a student must submit a request and a reference form from a faculty member to the Office of Technology Information.

    Interns, trained and instructed by two mentors, are paid $8 an hour for restoring the donated computers. The interns evaluate the donated machines, identifying their repair needs, then fix and test them. “We do a lot of testing because we need really stable, working computers,” Malgren said.

    Kaveh Daryabeygi, who came to the United States in the mid-90s as a refugee from Iran, first came to De Anza as a student in need of a computer. He met all necessary program requirements and was granted one.

    “It really helped me to accomplish my goal to be a computer graphic designer,” he said.

    Now, he is a mentor for the computer donation program. “I pretty much assist the interns with any question they have, do documentation and paperwork, update the database and inventory on donated computers,” Daryabeygi said.

    Malgren came to work at De Anza under an 18-month-long grant from the David and Lucia Packard Foundation, to run a program to train students to work at a corporation’s help desk. When these types of jobs were outsourced overseas, she changed the focus of the program to computer technical support.

    The De Anza computer donation program started in fall of 2003, with the first computers given to students in 2004.

    “The first year of the new program we gave out 150 computers. Last year, we gave out over 300 computers. Altogether, we gave out about 1,300 computers since I started,” Malgren said.

    Only PCs are accepted for the program – no Macs. Also, “we desperately need LCD and CRT monitors,” Malgren said. “Sometimes we get computers that we can’t restore. However, we can still use parts.”

    The office and lab for the program, which carries out the charitable donation program, is temporarily located behind the tennis courts in a room that is, of course, packed with donated computers.

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