With a tight budget while in college, most students have trouble affording computers. Thanks to Temple’s own Computer Recycling Center, located on the third floor of the TECH Center, students can get their own for just $50.
The CRC offers refurbished computers and monitors for $25 each, as well as assorted software and scanners it receives from the university. Students also get the keyboard, mouse and power cords free of charge with their orders.
Jonathan Latko, manager of the CRC, has been working for more than two years to get the facility ready and known to university departments, as well as students. He uses a specific system for ordering that encourages self-service.
“Once we get the machines ready, we put them online,” Latko said. “For the first 30 days they’re online, only the departments can see them. Then, they move to personal purchase. You can log in and pick out your computer, monitor, printer and scanner, and complete your order and you come by and pick it up in a few days.”
The system for payment is made simple with a policy exclusive to Diamond Dollars to avoid problems. Students can deposit Diamond Dollars into their accounts at the office on Liacouras Walk or through TUportal. However, there is a limit to ordering from the CRC.
“You only get one order per semester,” Latko said. “There are ordering dates set to the first day in September, January and May, so three times a year you can buy a computer.”
Jonathan Latko, who developed the CRC from scratch four years ago, created something elite without even realizing it. Latko, with five student workers and one full-time employee, works daily to retrieve old equipment throughout Temple’s campuses and refurbish them so it’s ready to be sold.
“I present our entire system to about 50 universities twice every year, and nobody else has anything exactly like this,” he said. “So it’s pretty important.”
The CRC is also looking to use its computers to better the community surrounding Temple. This non-profit donation system will give underprivileged locals a technological advantage they wouldn’t otherwise have.
“We are able to get licenses for $5 each,” Latko said. “We’ll set up small computer labs for community groups, churches and schools. Soon, we’ll send 200 Macintoshes to schools in the neighborhood that Temple deals with.”
The CRC is also planning to run a collection campaign in the spring, during which students can bring any equipment they just want to get rid of. They’ll have trucks ready so that students can simply drop anything off that they no longer want.
The largest problem the CRC has right now is it is unknown to most students. It started off small, and over time gained more equipment and began to have a larger workload, and in turn, more inventory.
“Nobody expected me to be here,” Latko said. “Nobody expected me to have a full-time person. The more we can provide, the more revenue we can return, and the more they’ll allow me to expand.”
The CRC does everything it can to get computers for students who need them, which is why it doesn’t charge much. Latko tries to make the process as easy and inexpensive as possible.
“We’re not here to make money,” he said. “We’re here to give you something you can use. A lot of students come to campus and they don’t have a computer. We can help them.”
Carlene Majorino can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.