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SUS plans to open IT support centre on campus

The Student Union Society (SUS) has announced a plan to open an IT support centre on campus. As the Student Union Building nears completion, SUS has been planning how to fill the space beyond the SUS offices, student media, study area, and campus restaurant.

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By Vanessa Broadbent (The Cascade) – Email

Print Edition: January 7, 2015

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If approved, SUS’s student IT service would be housed within the to-be-completed Student Building. (Image: Ashley Mussbacher)

The Student Union Society (SUS) has announced a plan to open an IT support centre on campus. As the Student Union Building nears completion, SUS has been planning how to fill the space beyond the SUS offices, student media, study area, and campus restaurant.

“[We] had one or two nooks or crannies we were trying to figure out what to do with, [so] we started looking at other student unions,” SUS president Ryan Petersen says.

At Kwantlen Polytechnic University, the student association has Reboot, an IT service for students on the Surrey and Richmond campuses. The program costs students $0.30 per credit, or a minimum of $2.70 for a semester’s full-time equivalent courseload.

UFV’s program would be modelled after Kwantlen’s, and would therefore help students with problems they may have with personal devices, unlike UFV’s current IT service program, which only assists with UFV networks and UFV-owned devices. Petersen says this could include assistance with viruses, installations, crashes, and data transfer, as well as any difficulties with UFV services such as Eduroam or Blackboard.

Students will have the opportunity to vote in a referendum on whether or not they support SUS’s proposed IT support centre and its per-student semester fee of $4.98.

Petersen says that beyond the fee the service is free of charge for students, unless additional parts need to be brought in for repair. In that case, students would pay for the parts at cost. “There won’t be any mark-up on it. You won’t pay any service fee on top of that,” he says.

Petersen says SUS feels this is a service UFV students need. “We just felt in this modern age where all of us have a laptop, a tablet, a cellphone, all of these technological gadgets, we’re still catching up; we’re not as tech savvy as we should be,” he says. “We figured out what it would cost us and we just decided an IT service would be really excellent for this campus.”

Should the referendum pass, SUS will hire one outside professional to work full-time at the support centre as well as UFV students. Petersen thinks the centre could provide opportunities to computer science students hoping to work in the field after graduation by helping them learn new skills, as well as helping them apply the skills they have already learned in class.

“It’s always nice to bring in a program where students who are training in [a field] can start using their skills. When the computer science students graduate, a lot of them will be able to say, ‘Well I already have experience working in an IT facility,’” he says.

As for the fee addition, Petersen thinks this is justified seeing how commercial IT support usually costs quite a bit. “If you go and get a diagnostic, it’s $40 just for them to look at your computer, and then it’s more for them after that to fix what the problem is,” he says. “In a four-year degree, if you use it once, it will cost pretty much the same as going somewhere else to do it, and let’s be honest, we’ll probably be using it more than once.”

Students can vote for or against the service in a referendum via their myUFV accounts from January 25 to 29. If approved, the service would begin in Fall 2015.

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