Dixie State University’s Women’s Resource Center is now offering laptop rentals until the end of the semester for female students who demonstrate need for technological support.
Brooklyn Barton, a senior English education major from Kanab, and student liaison for the Women’s Resource Center, said the laptop rental project began because there was a need for it on campus.
“We had a survey go out for faculty, staff and students here gauging their need for more technology,” Barton said. “The survey was to show that this would be a beneficial project to do.”
Barton said the WRC staff realized the need on campus for technology support once before when they gave away two brand-new laptops, but after the survey went out this semester, they started the laptop rentals project to continue supporting students.
Barton said the WRC currently has one laptop that is available for female students to rent for one or two weeks at a time at a rate of $15 or $30. Because the laptop is available on a first-come first-serve basis, two weeks is the maximum amount of time it is available to a student.
Florence Bacabac, director of the WRC, said although there are resources on campus, like the library, which offers desktop computer access, some women on campus have specific situations that require more flexibility.
“For instance, you’ve got to come to campus to use [the computers] and if you’ve got kids, it’s just a hassle,” Bacabac said.
Barton also mentioned transportation and time as a potential obstacle stopping women from being able to be on campus to use the computers.
“There is a unique set of challenges that come with female students and a lot of the female students we work with are non-traditional students, moms, or working women coming back to get their education after a full career or a full life of motherhood,” Barton said. “I think it’s important to [offer this service] because the whole point of the Women’s Resource Center is to make sure women get their education without having to worry about everything else in life.”
Student Liaison Justine Purvis-Frias, a sophomore criminal justice major from Las Vegas, said just like the other services the WRC offers, technology support is increasingly important, especially since education is digitally evolving and using Canvas, MyDixie, DegreeWorks etc.
“It’s kind of impossible to get through college with no access to technology,” Purvis-Frias said. “If the laptop rental [service] takes off and we see that female students do need it, then…I hope [the service] stays around for a long time.”
Bacabac said the laptop rentals are an integral part of fulfilling the WRC mission statement. Part of the statement reads, “…to help [women] achieve their academic and professional goals.”
“Utah is the number one state with the lowest rate of degreed women,” Bacabac said. “The retention rate [for women] has improved but if we compare Utah nationally, there’s still a lot of work that needs to be done.”
Bacabac said she hopes to see the laptop rentals project expand to offer more laptops or even tablets in the future, although her ultimate goal is to continue awarding female students new laptops.
“I would encourage female students to reach out to us if they would like to rent the laptop, especially with finals right around the corner,” Purvis-Frias said.