Eastern Michigan University’s chief information officer held “Coffee with the CIO” Friday, Jan. 23, at Halle Library, and said students need a place to literally recharge their batteries.
“I walk through Pray-Harold and it’s like walking through an airport,” EMU’s CIO Carl Powell said. “[Students] are sitting down next to outlets.”
Powell said the lack of electrical outlets on campus is a pressing issue, but there are plans to provide students with a place to rescue moribund cellphone, tablet and laptop batteries.
“We will be constructing a mobility lounge in the ground floor of Halle,” Powell said. “I expect work to begin later this semester and be finished in time for Fall 2015. It will have comfortable furniture, tables for small groups and lots of power outlets.”
Powell said EMU also has growing needs for stronger wireless connections because students can possibly have five to seven devices, including printers and gaming consoles plus controllers, in their dorm rooms all struggling to attach to the same wireless antenna that’s receiving three to four times more hits than in previous years. Even those on campus with just a smartphone can add to the problem.
“With all the cellphones that have wireless, it’s clogging the wireless signal,” Powell said.
For nearly two hours, roughly a dozen students and faculty/staff attended the early-morning meeting and had a hot cup of coffee while discussing an array of topics and information technology initiatives. The Rave Mobile Safety alert system was mentioned and Powell said students that sign up for notifications are the first to receive snow day cancellation messages/texts.
Powell has accumulated more than 25 years of experience while managing high-performance technology teams at a variety of positions. He said “Coffee with the CIO” was around before he arrived at EMU in 2010. The event is held three times a year and open to students, faculty and staff. The remaining sessions for 2015 will be May 15, and Sept. 18.
Although she didn’t attend the coffee chat, Cynthia Stinnette, EMU senior and biology major, said she had no qualms with the information technology service on campus.
“I commute back and forth, but I really haven’t had any problems,” she said. “The Wi-Fi is fine, and the updates are on time.”