This year, for the first time, Reynolds Gym was empty on first-year move-in day.
In prior years, new students lined up in the gym to receive their school-issued ThinkPad, but the university announced last year that students would be required to bring their own laptop to campus, instead.
Since new laptops are often expensive, Wake Forest also announced the creation of WakeWare, a program that allows students to buy laptops through the university at a discounted price.
Anyone affiliated with Wake Forest, including students and faculty, can buy a discounted laptop through the program.
Though all students must have a laptop and each laptop must meet certain requirements, it is up to each student what brand and model to buy.
According to an estimate on the WakeWare website, the University “anticipate[s] that more than 90 percent of [the Class of 2020] will purchase one of the WakeWare program models.”
WakeWare administration was not immediately available to comment on the program in its first year. It turns out that choice was a large factor in the decision by the University to stop issuing laptops.
“We have seen a rising trend in recent years of students bringing their own devices to campus, signifying their desire for choice,” said Emily Neese, associate vice president for strategy and operations for an Old Gold & Black report when the program was announced last year.
“Also, technology has advanced to the point that academic software can be easily accessible on both Apple and Dell devices. Some 75 percent of the current first-year class brought their own computing device or tablet to campus,” she added.
However, not all students are pleased with the new policy.
“I would have rather been issued one with software,” said freshman Sydney Carter. “Having to get all of the different software programs separately has been time consuming. It has taken me all of orientation to figure out what programs I need and how to download them.”
Carter bought a laptop through WakeWare, and her biggest concern was downloading all the programs, as in the past, laptops issued by the University came pre-loaded.
“It isn’t horribly complicated to download them, but it is hard knowing which programs I need and how to access them,” Carter said.
Even though laptops are discounted through WakeWare, the cost is still a concern to students like junior Isabel March.
“I think they should [issue laptops],” March said. “It is a financial relief for many students. I personally have no qualms with my ThinkPad.”
Although the decision to move away from the ThinkPad system was thought out, the potentially negative repercussions are not yet known.