New Tech Center Open
The library can be too quiet, the dorm room can be too distracting, but the recently opened Student Technology Center located in the Arkansas Union can provide the perfect atmosphere of productivity and recreation at the same time.
The new technology lab, located on the third floor, opened on May 3 and offers a lot more than just computers for students. The lab is open Monday-Friday 7 a.m. to midnight, Saturday 9 a.m. to midnight and Sunday noon to midnight.
“There is digital media lab, which is the work side of the union technology center, and the other side is the fun side,” said Jesse Anderson, union technology lab employee and senior information systems major.
The digital media lab offers equipment that students can use for various projects and editing. It is equipped with several Macintosh desktops, scanners and soundproof recording rooms.
“The digital media lab allows for people to have technology at their fingertips who maybe cannot afford software to be able to work on projects,” Anderson said. “The Macs and the programs that are available on it are very expensive.”
The “fun side” of the technology center has several Alienware computers that allow for the best gaming quality experience. There are also multiple large TVs that are always available to watch or to play Wii, Xbox or Playstation games on.
The dining halls have rush hours of population traffic, and the new technology lab is sure to have busy hours too as students get back into the academic semester.
“I work in this lab three days a week, and there are normally four people in at any given time. Sometimes it can go from no one in here to a lot of people,” Anderson said. “During the summer, it has been hard to give an accurate statistic for traffic, but employees go count the number of people in the lab frequently so we can start discovering when the busy hours are and what people like to do most.”
According to ISIS, the student media, facilities and network fees add up to over $300, but this money allows for students to access the labs and campus-wide wireless internet.
“The total project cost for the ITS Technology & Gaming Center in the Arkansas Union was 1.83 million dollars,” said Mike Johnson, associate vice chancellor for facilities management.
Students can also rent equipment free of charge, such as camcorders, still cameras, iPads, web cameras and phone chargers. There are even laptops that can be checked out for up to three days along with GPS systems and headphones.
The Student Technology Center can even provide
income for UA students. To apply for a job at the Student Technology Center, contact the supervisor, Eve Owens, at email@example.com.
“I started working here late June, and I love it. It’s the best job I’ve ever had because I’m into computers and this job allows me to work around them,” Anderson said.
With the UA increasingly gaining more of a student population, campus may not always have an available computer for use.
“Originally there were plans to get the floor below, where the fitness center is, to be a part of the technology lab too,” Anderson said. “There are definitely plans to grow and expand the technology centers to accommodate the growing student population.”
The technology center provides the equipment to assist students with projects but also the guidance on how to use them.
“It is also a part of my job to help people with the software and hardware provided in the lab,” Anderson said. “We have to study how to use all of the programs and equipment in case anyone needs help using them.”
Once work is finished, playtime can begin. Many students wind down the day with some video gaming while simultaneously meeting new people.
“The best thing about the tech center is playing Wii or Xbox,” said Brian Stallard, sophomore civil engineering major. “I’ve played ‘Super Smash Bros.’ the past two nights there.”
The computer lab is only about four months young, but renovations are always being thought of.
“There has not been large changes to the lab since it has opened, but we are constantly refining things and making them better,” Anderson said. “Students can go to the website or Facebook page and ask for something, and if there is enough demand, we will try and provide it.”
While many students enjoy the high-quality gaming computers along with the available editing equipment, it can remind others of how the UA can offer opportunities that extend beyond classroom academics .
“The coolest thing is the sheer volume of technology that students have at their fingertips who would not otherwise have the ability to,” Anderson said. “I’ve talked to friends at other campuses and they do not have anything close to our computer labs at the UA.”