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Gallaudet partners with local organizations to support D.C. students

October 2, 2020

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As part of its commitment to giving back to the community, Gallaudet University is partnering with Serve Your City (SYC) and the D.C. Mutual Aid Network to provide laptop and desktop computers, tablets, wifi hotspots, back-to-school supplies, and personal protective equipment for at-risk District of Columbia public and charter school students.

Specifically:

  • Gallaudet Technology Services (GTS) will donate a number of surplus desktop computers.
  • GTS asks all campus units that wish to “declutter” to donate their used equipment. If your department has equipment to donate, please inform GTS and they will send someone to pick them up from your department.
  • GTS will accept donations of your personal laptops and tablets. You can contact GTS to make arrangements to drop them off. Please email gts.office@gallaudet.edu. If you are not on campus and need your equipment picked up elsewhere, please email Dr. Risa Shaw at risk.shaw@gallaudet.edu.
  • If you do not have equipment to donate, but still want to help, you can make a monetary contribution to cover the cost of a device, hotspot, or backpack.

SYC volunteers will remove all data, reinstall the original operating system, refurbish the equipment, and deliver it to students in need, along with wifi hotspots and backpacks filled with school supplies and personal protective equipment. GTS will work with Dr. Risa Shaw of the Linguistics program to arrange for all donated computers and tablets to be delivered to Serve Your City.

This campaign helps reduce the digital divide for students and families throughout the District of Columbia. The D.C. Mutual Aid Network reports that “The digital divide in the District is among the worst in the country. According to a national analysis, the District has the second highest gap in the country for high-speed internet access between Black and Latinx students compared to their white peers. The District of Columbia public school system learned that nearly half of the students who completed a survey do not have a digital device. One quarter of them share a device with one or more family members, and one quarter do not have reliable internet service. It is just one more example of the opportunity gap that has been created between white and Black students through generations of historic and structural systems of oppression.”

The District of Columbia public school system has been working to reduce the digital divide, but many obstacles remain. For example, DCPS-subsidized internet service and wifi hotspots operate at lower speeds. Not all public housing units and shelters have internet access. Technical support for users is severely backlogged. Finally, many younger children, up to third and fourth grade, are still waiting for their equipment and supplies. Serve Your City seeks to support DCPS and other local nonprofit organizations in meeting the needs of our city’s school-age children and their families.

A special thank you goes to Professor Risa Shaw of the Linguistics program for being the liaison person between Gallaudet and Serve Your City. Thank you to all who are willing to support our neighbors and to ensure that all students have the technology they need to succeed.

2 October 2020

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