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Senate hears Internet solutions

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On Thursday, Drake Student Senate took the opportunity to address one of the most pressing issues on this campus for most students.

Chief Information Technology Officer Ann Kovalchick was in attendance to outline three plans being discussed by the IT department to increase bandwidth at Drake University.

The first option includes doubling the campus’s bandwidth through current internet provider CenturyLink. The current bandwidth is 200 megabytes. Doubling this would be a $100,000 cost. The bandwidth was doubled just over a year ago to where it is now, but was maxed out again the next day.

The second option is called Internet2. This option involves running internet access from Iowa State University. The Internet2 service is used by many campuses across the United States and is intended for research and education purposes on campus — not in residence halls. The bandwidth would jump to one gigabyte. While this access is intended for research and education, it’s not monitored, as this can be a wide category, so students would still be able to access social media and other sites through this connection.

The final option is to allow students to negotiate their own bandwidth needs with the internet service provider. This would be specific to dorm use on a room-by-room basis and would be paid by students themselves.

Kovalchick noted that none of these solutions would solve all the problems on campus. Many issues arise from the age of the wireless equipment on campus, and that to effectively overhaul the system would be a $1.6 million investment — an investment not currently in the Office of Information Technology budget. This overhaul would account for new hot spots in the Kline Atrium and Cowles 24-hour space currently under construction. Otherwise, the school will have to drop $115,000 for licensees for new hot spots in these areas or take bandwidth from other areas on campus.

Kovalchick would like to see the overhaul conducted over a course of five years.

While this is not a decision that Senate has the power to make, Kolvachick left with a recommendation for option two.

Also on the agenda was the new Student Senate budget, which passed unanimously without much debate.

Senate also approved a Big Brother, Big Sister organization on campus designed to help pair up Drake students with children in the Des Moines area.

Finally, the Drake University Honors Magazine received approval for funds to publish 1,000 copies for distribution on campus, though several senators suggested that the publication seek funds from the Board of Student Communications in the future.

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