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Smith Donates Computers for New Senior Center


Visitors to the new Northampton Senior Center will have enhanced access to the Internet, email, word processing and other computer activities thanks to a donation of 15 Dell computers from Smith this month.

The computers – Dell GX400 desktop models with 512 RAM – will be a vast improvement over what is available now, says Abbie Czelusniak of Northampton, who coordinates the senior center.

“We’re very excited about this,” she said. “We had only two computers available before and they were pretty old. This is going to be wonderful.”

The Senior Center joins a growing list of local and faraway organizations to have received used computers from Smith during the past decade. Each year, personnel in Information and Technology Services replace computers among faculty and staff members with new and refurbished equipment. When they do, they prepare the used models for donation to local nonprofit agencies, which contact the college with their requests.

“We’ve had these computers go just about everywhere,” said Greg Coccoluto, desktop systems analyst in ITS, who is responsible for replacing old computer equipment. After Hurricane Katrina struck the Gulf of Mexico region, for example, Smith delivered 75 computers to schools in the New Orleans area. The college has also donated computers to local schools, family help organizations, and one year to a library in Puerto Rico.

“We do the best we can to fulfill these requests,” said Donna Schnopp, fixed asset assistant in ITS, who coordinates the donations. “We’re just here to help.” Schnopp estimates that the college fulfills nearly all computer requests from nonprofits.

The new Northampton Senior Center, located in a newly constructed building on Conz Street, will open on September 30, replacing the former center located in the basement of City Hall on Main Street. The center will feature a computer room and will offer courses for the city’s elderly on how to use the machines.

“Many of these folks have family members spread around the country,” said Czelusniak of people who frequent the senior center. “It’s nice for them to keep in touch with their families through email. It’s going to be a nice place for people to go and spend a couple hours in the afternoon.”

A plaque commemorating Smith’s donation will adorn the wall of the computer room, Czelusniak said.

During the last academic year, from July 1, 2006, through June 30, 2007, Smith donated 66 Windows PCs and 34 Apple computers, reports Kate Etzel, director of user support in ITS. The original purchase price of those computers totaled approximately $238,000, she said.

8/17/07   By Eric Sean Weld
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