With classes in full swing at DePauw University the Community Technology Enhancement Program (CTEP) is looking for people in need of a computer as well as people who could donate their old computers.
The program, which was started by DPU Spanish professor Bob Hershberger in 2003, as a part of the ITEP program at DePauw, works to help those in need by providing them a free computer.
"The goal of our program is to bridge the digital divide between the university and Putnam County," CTEP managing intern Megan Carter said. "We are trying to focus on people in our local community because that's very important to us."
The program re-images computers, which includes wiping the hard drive and then installing basic software on a computer, including Windows 7, Open Office, Internet browsers, I-tunes, Adobe software and security software.
Most of the time those who are approved for a computer will receive speakers, monitors, Ethernet cables and all power cords they may need.
"We give away computers and laptops," Carter said. "When we set up an appointment we show them how to use basic things like a mouse and a keyboard."
This year, Carter is also planning on setting up workshops with the help of computer science majors at DePauw.
"I currently work with a computer science professor at DePauw, Doug Harms, and we are trying to set up workshops for the community for basic understanding of digital literacy," Carter explained.
For those interested in obtaining a computer there is an application that must be filled out, which includes questions such as why they would like a computer, followed by an interview process via phone.
Applications can be obtained at the Putnam County Library, family services and soon at local schools. Although, non-profit organizations are able to apply for free computers as well, the program is working toward helping families with children in school.
"The individual ones are most crucial I feel because it targets families," Carter said. "Most of our applications are coming in because a lot of children in the community don't even have their own computer at home. We are happy to donate to non-profits and schools who may need computers, but our focus right now is on individuals."
If an individual is approved for a computer there is a $20 fee due when one picks up their new computer. For organizations, there is a $10 fee per computers, as they most likely would receive more than one. This fee is to cover the purchasing of the operating system licenses as well as any necessary hardware upgrades, such as modems and increased memory.
"We sit down with them and show them basic parts of the computer, how to plug in the computers, where all the cords go and so on," Carter said.
Currently, the donations of the computers are through the USDA and donations through DePauw and the community, but there is always a need for more.
"We have a lot of computers ready to go," Carter said. "But we need people to donate their old computers. Not just computers, but monitors, keyboards, mice, printers or power cords. We need anything."
In order for a computer to be accepted as a donation it must have a working motherboard, all casing panels with a legible Microsoft Certificate of Authenticity, 1 GHz/Pentium 4 processor or above (slower processors are accepted if the computer was issued with Microsoft XP or later), power supply and all internal cables, video, sound and network cards.
It is preferred that the computer have a working CD-ROM drive, 512 MB RAM or more and 20 GB hard drive or larger.
This year, the program is hoping to give away at least 30 computers to those in need. However, it all depends on donations.
CTEP is located at DePauw University. However, the office is actually located down the street at the South End Community Center at 605 Crown St., Greencastle.
For more information on requesting a computer or donating one persons may contact CTEP at 658-5920 or 765-276-7066 or email firstname.lastname@example.org.