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.