Oct 032002
 
Authors: Laura Kath

The College of Engineering recently turned one of its dreams into reality.

Last April the college decided it wanted to start a lab where there were computers, food and coffee 24 hours a day.

This dream became the Internet Caf/, which opened Thursday. It is located in room A104 of the Engineering Building.

The idea for the lab came from many different ideas. People wanted to have food and computers together, and since a lot of engineering projects can take hours or days, it is also helpful to have a lab that is open 24 hours a day.

“The idea started getting worked on early last semester, but we started thinking about the idea roughly one year ago,” said J.P. Murray, president of the Engineering College Council.

“In April, a room opened up and the college asked us [student technology committee] what we wanted to do with the space. We decided we wanted to have technology in a laid-back and unique atmosphere,” said David Wiegandt, chairperson of the Student Technology Committee. “This lab is a result of that decision. The lab was paid, designed and implemented by students.”

To log on, you must have a password and user name from the engineering department. They also recommend that engineering students get a Smart Card.

A Smart Card is a driver’s license-sized card that has a computer chip embedded in it so you can save your work or start a long program, save it using the Smart Card and come back later to any terminal.

“It is a great place to build some camaraderie and belonging. It will become a natural meeting point and a great asset to the community,” said Ray Caraway, director of development.

“I think it will be easy to use and beneficial to students,” said Frederick Quintana, a civil engineering work-study student.

“It is an indication of sense of students taking ownership for their education, it shows how students feel strongly for making this a reality, and it shows how very special this is,” said Thomas Siller, the associate dean for academic affairs and associate professor of civil engineering.

The lab has a conference room, desks with embedded computers in them for studying and working on the computer at the same time, and other computers sitting on desks. There are vending machines and a machine to buy coffee. The organizers hope that eventually there will be an actual stand to buy different condiments.

“I think there will be a lot of people in here,” said Kat Christian, a senior in biological resource in the agricultural engineering department. “It is so more convenient than going home, when you have a break in between classes. The lab will get a lot of use.”

Edited by Shandra Jordan and Becky Waddingham

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