Like your MacBook? Weigh in next month in IT survey

Abbey Sullivan

Chatham University utilizes Apple technology. Students are given their own MacBooks upon arrival, and desktops throughout campus are branded with the Apple insignia. Faculty and students alike are often seen with iPhones in hand, too.

What is the history behind Chatham’s Apple usage, and is it a popular choice around campus?

Amy Sommer, Chatham’s Help Desk manager, details how the University came to use the tech company.

“In the beginning, students received HP Tablet PCs,” she said. “Based on student survey results in 2009, it was determined that students preferred to receive a Mac.”

It also became apparent that the HP tablets were not a reasonable fit for college-student use. Plus, the department was better equipped to troubleshoot Apple-related problems.

“The HP Tablets were notoriously problematic,” Sommer added. “They needed frequent repairs … five HP Tablets were ordered for various faculty members and three had to be returned to the manufacturer.”

Along with HP tablets, Chromebooks were considered, but they were unable to support full versions of Microsoft programs such as Word and Excel. Therefore, they were disqualified from the running, according to Sommer.

Many students appreciate the convenience and accessibility that Apple products provide, but some also question their potential drawbacks — specifically some of the working conditions in which they’re produced. For instance, in 2014, footage released by BBC of the inside Apple’s production center called Pegatron, located in Shanghai, China, showed images of employees falling asleep in hazardous work environments during 12-hour shifts.

“I know Apple has a lot of shady business practices,” Mary Furlan ‘22 says. “Not that we shouldn’t use the products on campus, because lots of people have iPhones, but maybe we should be more educated about the company.”

Students will have the chance to share their feedback about Chatham University’s Apple usage this February in a survey conducted by the IT department. Sommer encourages students to participate.

“Students are welcome to address their concerns in the survey, and we would appreciate your support in encouraging your peers to participate in this survey,” she said.