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Thinkpads will not be issued next year

Students of the class of 2020 and beyond will not be receiving school-issued laptops due to changes associated with the new program WakeWare.

According to an e-mail sent by the Office of Communications and External Relations in early March, students will now be able “to purchase a competitively priced Dell or Apple laptop from among several model options” through WakeWare.

WakeWare has been in the planning phase for the past two years and has involved many members of the Wake Forest community.

“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. “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.”

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The e-mail also stated that current students should consider the benefits of purchasing a new laptop through WakeWare before graduation. Doing so allows current students access to negotiated discounts on specially selected laptops such as their current ThinkPad or a new Dell or Apple machine through the WakeWare program.

Wake Forest University was the first of its kind to offer its students personal technology in the mid 1990s. With the new program WakeWare, the university will be able to accommodate students’ individual software preferences, and match technological advances in coming years.

“I came into college with a Mac that I had throughout high school and am most comfortable with it,” said freshman Caroline Gardner. “However, I think this new policy can be helpful for students who do not have a laptop of their own.”

Currently, all students are required to have a Thinkpad laptop that can be used as an academic tool for teaching and learning. Many students prefer Apple or Dell laptops, and choose not to use the university-issued Lenovo.

This is the case for senior Kenny Zheng.

“I switched over to my personal computer because the school-issued one kept giving me problems,” Zheng said.

Students will also be able to transfer their personal files before turning in their ThinkPad prior to graduation.

WakeWare believes that “allowing students to be proficient in whichever platform they wish will benefit their learning,” Neese said.

Despite these changes, The Bridge, a partnership of the Z. Smith Reynolds Library and Information Systems that focuses on technology services, will continue to provide general help to every student for password and software concerns. Incoming students will continue to have access to professional software and experienced assistance.

“I felt weird going into The Bridge for help putting software which I needed for my lab onto my non-school issued laptop,” said freshman Paul Bourdin. “But now that they are opening up their services to many different brands, I am able to get the help I want.”

The Bridge is now certified to repair Lenovo, Apple and Dell computers. As with the current program, loaners will be available when laptop issues require the student to leave their laptop for repairs.

Students and faculty can also visit WakeWare’s website to find more information on how the new Bring Your Own Device model work.

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