After bikes, YCC to share laptops, cell phones

The YCC wants to lend laptops to students whose own computers are being repaired.
The YCC wants to lend laptops to students whose own computers are being repaired. Photo by David Burt.

After breaking five cell phones this semester, Yale College Council President Jon Wu ’11 had a flash of inspiration.

Now, he is taking the lead on two new YCC initiatives that would allow students to rent YCC-owned cell phones and netbooks for one week at a time while they replace or repair their own broken devices. Wu said he hopes to introduce the cell phone program this semester, but the netbook program is still in its early planning stages.

The projects come in the wake of similar initiatives, including the bike sharing program, which allows students to borrow communal bicycles from various spots on campus, and the course packet share program, which allows students to use previously owned course packets donated by other students.

Wu said the success of previous sharing programs prompted him to apply to the idea to other items.

“It just seems to be a model that works,” he said.

Students with broken phones will be able to transfer their SIM cards into the YCC’s phones and continue using their current cell phone plans and numbers, Wu said.

While plans to introduce a netbook initiative are not as fully advanced as those for the cell phone program, Wu said the project shows promise.

“It’s a pretty simple program, but we think that it will deliver great results,” he said. “The student techs agree that it’s an excellent idea.”

Wu said he hopes the program will provide students with a broken laptop with a better alternative than continuously trekking back and forth to computer clusters.

The YCC expects to purchase up to five of the small, inexpensive laptops, each costing about $300, Wu said, though he declined to comment on how the YCC might fund the program. Wu said he has had to explore liability issues and has met with the Yale’s risk management office, which advises many Yale departments on protecting themselves from liability, and drafted a waiver that students could sign to check out netbooks for one week without charge.

Ted Gibson ’10 said he thinks both programs could be useful for students in a jam.

“My computer broke last semester and I think I would’ve used the program instead of going to computer lab to do work,” Gibson said.

But Jonathan Marquez ’13 said he questions the practicality of borrowing cell phones because many do not use SIM cards.

As part of the student development directive — a program that offers $5,000 for new initiatives voted on by the student body — the YCC is also investigating an ice skate share program, which will provide skates for student visitors to Ingalls Rink.


  • yalie11

    YES! My computer’s been broken all semester, a netbook to tide me over would be amazing.

  • Chris Pagliarella

    Huh, I actually quite like this. I agree with Jonathan that the cell phones might be tricky to make useful, but this seems sensible. Thumbs up to YCC, if they can muster the funding.

  • Yale

    This idea is ridiculous. Students will not (or should not) pay to rent out laptops when they could easily gain computer access in any of the many libraries!

  • y12

    one of the benefits to getting a laptop rather than using a library computer is that you can still take notes in class

  • @3

    “[Wu] drafted a waiver that students could sign to check out netbooks for one week without charge.”

  • y10

    “But Jonathan Marquez ’13 said he questions the practicality of borrowing cell phones because many do not use SIM cards.”

    wrong. though there may be issues with CDMA/GSM phones and carrier support (ATT/Tmobile/Verizon/Sprint).

  • @Yale

    Yeah, right. Netbook > Cluster computer.

  • @#5

    Regardless, if you can’t live without a computer for 1 week, you shouldn’t be at Yale.

  • FailBoat

    I think YCC should rent out rooms next.

  • FailBoat!

    you don’t say the god…you just say god. Fail boat knows this. He says YCC not the YCC. thank you for your support Failboat. Your loyalty is an exemplar

  • Recent Alum

    Some of us did not even have a cell phone in college. Not having a cell phone for one mere week should not be a big deal, but as always, we have the YCC to see issues where there are no issues.

  • @Recent Alum

    yeah, and some of us didn’t go to college in the 90s. people don’t use room phones anymore.

  • really?

    Does the first sentence really say that the YCC president broke 5 cell phones this semester?! Seriously? Does that not call into question just a little bit his sense of responsibility?

    While I don’t think this program is a bad idea in general, if the YCC president is breaking his phone once a month, I’m guessing there are bigger problems that need to be dealt with.

  • MedLib

    The Med Library has had a loaner laptop program available for a long time and it’s very popular. We have 16 laptops available for the Medical student community. Sorry Central Campus… hope YCC gets something like this in place, I’m sure it would help a LOT. Although netbooks wouldn’t really be the best thing for you.

  • ysm

    I’ve used the Med Library loaner laptop program when my laptop died, and it was a lifesaver. YCC ought to talk to the Med Library about how their program works before they reinvent the wheel.

  • goYCC!

    A loaner laptop program would be AWESOME. Studying/doing homework in the computer cluster late at night has to be the most depressing thing ever. (At least in Saybrook) Unfortunately for us, the library isn’t open 24 hours a day like at other schools so when our computers are broken or have been stolen we don’t have other late night study options besides the basement clusters.

    On that note, can we get Bass open 24/7? That would be great!

  • Lucky

    So my laptop broke right at the beginning of break. Having the option to borrow a laptop would be great if I don’t get so lucky next time with timing.