Ramapo College of New Jersey has announced a new initiative that will eliminate obstacles faced by its students who lack the necessary technology to be successful in their academic efforts.
Laptop Upcycle @ Ramapo is a partnership between the College and Laptop Upcycle, a division of the Montclair, N.J.-based not-for-profit organization HackNCraft NJ, Inc. that repairs and refurbishes unwanted laptops for distribution among students who otherwise do not have access to computers for their schoolwork.
“Consistent access to technology is crucial to a college student’s success, and we, at Ramapo College, are committed to supporting our students from the first day they step foot on campus through their graduation and beyond,” said Susan Gaulden, Interim Provost/Vice President for Academic Affairs. “We are truly excited about and committed to our partnership with Laptop Upcycle, as the initiative will ensure our students are able to secure the technology they need in order to have the best possible academic experience and greatest chance of academic success.”
The Laptop Upcycle @ Ramapo program, which is supported by a grant from the Ramapo College Foundation and is set to launch in mid-November through a donation drive, will solicit donations of used working laptops. Once the Ramapo location has amassed sufficient inventory, students who meet program eligibility criteria will be able to apply to receive and keep a repaired or refurbished laptop free of charge.
The entire Laptop Upcycle @ Ramapo initiative is student-oriented and student-driven. At present, several Social Work students are helping organize much of the day-to-day operations of the program, and trained Student Assistants will soon begin performing the repairs/refurbishments.
“We are thrilled about the expansion of Laptop Upcycle to Ramapo College. Not only does it further our mission to close the digital divide, teach more students about computer repairs, and keep computers out of the landfills, but it now engages college students who have similar needs to high schoolers,” said Mike Brown, Strategic Director and Intern Coordinator in the Montclair headquarters. “Our hope is that Ramapo College becomes the first of many Laptop Upcycle community programs. We encourage local individuals, organizations, and corporations to support Ramapo and local students by donating surplus laptops.”
Laptop Upcycle was formed in 2016 by a team of individuals who, to date, have collected and distributed more than 1,000 refurbished laptops to middle and high school students in Montclair. Laptop Upcycle’s mission is to eliminate technology impediments as a part of the achievement gap. Ramapo College’s mission includes promoting diversity, inclusiveness, sustainability, student engagement, and community involvement, which makes this particular partnership well-aligned. Ultimately, the Laptop Upcycle @ Ramapo program is a commitment to providing, through student engagement and community involvement, long-term and sustainable technology access solutions to Ramapo College students that will help these students achieve their goal of obtaining a college degree.