The Yale College Council launched a new initiative last week that allows students with lost or damaged cell phones to borrow phones for up to two weeks.
While the program’s phones enable students to place and receive calls, they are not equipped with texting or Internet capabilities. Since the initiative’s announcement Jan. 31, four of the nine phones available have been checked out from the Technology Troubleshooting Office in Bass Library.
“This program is geared towards making the lives better and easier for students for whom cell phones are indisposable,” YCC President Brandon Levin ‘13 said. “Either you’re stuck without a cell phone for a week, or you get one from the YCC.”
This idea was first proposed along with the YCC’s Netbook Loaner Program, which launched last year, Levin said, but due to budgeting constraints and an expected higher demand for laptops, the YCC decided to introduce the Netbooks first. Following upon the success of the Netbook Loaner program, whose 10 available netbooks are all currently checked out to students, Levin said the YCC chose to also offer cell phones this semester. He added that whether the program expands will depend on the popularity of the program and the size of next year’s YCC budget.
Patrick Toth ’14, the YCC member heading the project, said the cell phones provided are Samsung Gusto flip phones on the Verizon network and are connected to Yale’s corporate cell phone plan. Each cell phone has its own number, Toth said, and students are not able to transfer their SIM cards or contacts to the temporary phones. Students who damage or fail to return the phones will have to pay the cost of the phone, he added.
Six out of 12 students interviewed said that they would consider taking advantage of the new program if they lost their phone, but others said that they would rather wait to get their own phone and avoid unnecessary hassle.
Students who said they may use the service said they thought the initiative would benefit students by keeping them connected to their family and friends.
Heshika Deegahawathura ’15 said after losing his phone earlier this year, he recognized the difficulties of not having a phone. Daniel Tahara ’14 agreed, saying he “feels lost” without his phone.
“Since college is very much a social experience as much as an academic one, I think we’ve sort of conditioned ourselves to feel the need to be connected 24/7,” Tahara said. “Being out of contact for more than a short period literally puts you behind.”
But Jackson McHenry ’15 said he would not feel comfortable using an unfamiliar phone. Luis Fernando Schachner ’15 added that he did not know any numbers by heart and would not benefit from a phone without his contacts.
Other YCC programs introduced this year include Bluebook by YCC, Durfee’s $7 meal deals and online grade notifications.