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New Homes for Old Computers

Northwestern's old -- but working -- computers are donated to non-profit organizations in the Evanston community

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November 18, 2009 | by Jasmine Rangel

When a computer on campus is put away, stored in a closet or cast aside, University Services and the Office of Community Relations step in to repurpose the working machines.

The computers get new homes at non-profit organizations in Evanston and surrounding communities. With the economy suffering, the efforts to find new homes for old Northwestern computers have been well received.

"Especially now, with all the budget cuts, people need computers for their organizations," said Lucile Krasnow, special assistant for Community Relations.

Krasnow coordinates the computer placement, matching up deserving organizations with workable machines. Little promotion has been necessary.

"We received responses from all over the state," Krasnow said. "Groups we hadn't contacted were asking for computers. Through word of mouth, the message spread."

Organizations that received donated computers describe the program favorably.

"The process of receiving the computers was seamless," said Sacella Smith, executive director of the Youth Job Center of Evanston. "The Northwestern staff was very professional and accommodating."

The computers were used to replace older machines. The Youth Job Center's old computers were technologically out-of-date, but the Northwestern donations have allowed job seekers to participate in computer classes, work on resumes and apply for jobs online.

But the non-profits in need can only be helped if members of the Northwestern community donate old computers. University Services will pick up the machines, clean them up and prep them for their new lives.

To donate a computer, visit http://www.northwestern.edu/uservices/office/computer/staff.html#computers. Only business computers will be accepted.