UDC creates a free lending library for computers and calculators


Matt Hooke

UDC has created a free library to address concerns about the usefulness of KSL laptops.

Anna Giubileo, Staff Reporter

The Undergraduate Diversity Collaborative (UDC) has created a free lending library where students can borrow computers and calculators. The project was spearheaded this year by Fatima Rahman, a third-year international studies major and the UDC’s Vice President of Campus Initiatives. 

She understands the difficulties of being a college student, especially at Case Western Reserve University, without a laptop. “The three-hour laptops [available for borrowing at Kelvin Smith Library] were ineffective and inefficient,” explained Rahman, since they couldn’t be taken out of the building. 

UDC recognizes how financial insecurity preeminently affects marginalized identities and started this initiative to help those who are unable to afford necessary school supplies. 

For example, if a student whose major does not require certain supplies, like a graphing calculator, enrolls in a class outside of their major that requires those materials, it can create a large problem where students have to choose between grades or finances. Rahman didn’t have a graphing calculator, so when she took a math class it severely impacted her ability in class. “I had to borrow from peers or use a scientific calculator,” explained Rahman. Her ability to obtain a calculator affected her homework assignments, quizzes, exams and overall understanding of the material. 

The lending library is just a small piece of how UDC works to fulfill their mission to “advocate for the advancement of diversity and inclusion at Case Western Reserve University,” through their eight pillars of diversity—ethnicity, sexual orientation, socioeconomic status, ability, age, gender, religion and race. However, it is one of their major initiatives for this year.

UDC’s Executive President Nsisong Udosen, a fourth-year human-computer interaction and business management double major, shared that “when UDC set its vision for the year, one big non-negotiable goal was seeing the lending library happen.” 

The committee has been brainstorming since over the summer and planning since the first semester of this academic year. As of the beginning of the spring semester, the library has been up and running. 

For students interested in using the lending library, go to the information desk of KSL and ask to rent a Chromebook laptop or graphing calculator from the lending library: all one needs is their student ID. Students can borrow a Chromebook for up to seven days before needing a renewal and calculators for three days. However, there is no limit on the number of reservations one can make. Rahman explained that “it’s first come first serve.” 

“Resources like this will only stay around if students know about it and utilize it,” shared Udosen. “We need to encourage people across the university to spread the word.” Resources like this on-campus tend to go widely unused, not because there isn’t a need for it, but because students don’t know it exists. 

While UDC had the idea for the lending library and has been the organization executing it, they got help from the university and administrators for the purchasing of the supplies. “The funds came from administrators like Vice President for Student Affairs Lou Stark, President Snyder, as well as the Office of Student Affairs and [U]Tech,” clarified Rahman. 

“I’m so happy we got this far. We’re excited and reinvigorated to fight for students who don’t have access to the materials they need,” said Udosen. But, Udosen also recognized how much further they and the university have to go to ensure equal access to necessary materials. 

While the lending library currently is just computers and calculators, if anyone has any ideas or suggestions for what should be added, reach out to UDC.