IT aims to save money, environment

Courtesy of Wikimedia Commons  SIMILAR COMPUTERS are used in various University locations.  The University has approximately 2,300 computers on campus, and such equipment is evaluated at the beginning of each academic year.

Courtesy of Wikimedia Commons
SIMILAR COMPUTERS are used in various University locations. The University has approximately 2,300 computers on campus, and such equipment is evaluated at the beginning of each academic year.

Laura Fay
Editor-in-Chief

Have you ever wondered where your favorite library computer was before it landed in its present location?

With about 2,300 University computers across campus, systems move around and are replaced frequently, as the budget allows.

The average campus computer has a lifespan of five to six years and sees about three locations or users.

Jim Franceschelli, director of information services, said the annual process begins at the start of each academic year.

“In the fall we contact department chairs and program directors, and we show them an inventory of the systems that they have, and we ask them to make recommendations for upgrades,” he said.

When those reports come back to Franceschelli’s office, he evaluates them and makes recommendations to the Financial Equipment Committee, which makes the final decisions. That could mean purchasing new computers for “high-end users,” moving computers to other locations and recycling older computers.

A high-end user is “someone that’s really trying to get the most out of the PC – using multiple applications at the same time,” Franceschelli said, noting science lab computers as an example.

“The old machines might funnel down to something that doesn’t need as much power” such as a work-study location, he said.

In between users, IT Services clears the computers of all programs and data and “rebuilds” them for the next user. This process includes reinstalling updated versions of the operating systems and necessary programs.

The Financial Equipment Committee is chaired by Edward J. Steinmetz, the senior vice president for finance and administration.

When a computer reaches the end of its life cycle, the IT Services department recycles it. That can happen in two ways, Franceschelli said. First, the parts might be used to fix other systems across The University. Second, and more frequently, the data is wiped and the system is sent to a recycler.

The University works with Vintage Tech LLC, a company that recycles The University’s computers at no charge to the school and does not put anything in landfills.

“We’ve worked hard in trying to find vendors that are really certified and are environmentally safe in their methods of taking the equipment apart and recycling all of the components that are within it,” Franceschelli said.

“And it’s important to us and to The University that it doesn’t wind up in a landfill and doesn’t contribute to global waste,” he added.

Manager of IT Asset and Vendor Relations Danielle Morse said Vintage Tech comes to pick up unwanted equipment a few times per year.

“This year alone we’ve recycled 21,425 pounds of equipment,” Morse said, adding that one more pickup will occur before the end of the year to add to that number.

Morse emphasized that sustainability is a major concern, and the computer parts will be melted or sold, not put into landfills, where they could harm the environment.

Director of Sustainability Mark Murphy said sustainability efforts are part of The University’s mission and should include care for both the environment and the people throughout the world.

“We’re scarring their world with our usage,” Murphy said of those in third-world countries who suffer the consequences of pollution and other environmental problems

“Part of being a Catholic and Jesuit university is a mission for justice,” he said.

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