Norris CampusLink helps NU students on the go

Sheila Burt

Allison Borgueta used to walk to the library to check her e-mail on the run. But now a new technology center allows the Education senior, and all Northwestern students, to check e-mail or the latest headlines at the entrance to Norris University Center.

“I’m really glad they’re here,” said Borgueta of the CampusLink computers at Norris.

The state-of-the-art information center, which features five computers, three phones and two televisions, finished construction last weekend.

But Norris officials said Thursday that the stations are “a work in progress.”

So far, some of the computers fail to allow students to check e-mail. David Kim tried to use CampusLink this week to check his NU account but found he could not.

“It doesn’t work,” said Kim, a Weinberg freshman. “I understand the intention, but they need to definitely improve it.”

Norris administrators were at a conference until Thursday but said they have begun working with IT officials to contact the company and remedy the problem.

“We’re on it as far as getting the bugs worked out,” said Steve Guinta, assistant director of Norris.

The system should be fixed within days and updated to provide more student services, Norris Director Bill Johnston said.

The televisions, currently tuned to CNN, soon will boast a scrolling list of campus activities for the day, he said.

“I see this as the electronic flier of the campus. It’s intended to promote all of the things going on,” said Johnston, who added that student groups will receive software that will allow promotion on the screens.

The current system allows students only 15 minutes of Internet use, but Guinta said he plans to extend the time limit.

The area replaces an old, little-used station with televisions and four outdated computers. Before CampusLink, the only place for students to access computers in Norris was on the main floor.

Johnston said he has wanted this service for over a year, but the downturn in the economy slowed the project.

“We think it provides a viable service,” he said.

Students who remembered the old station said the new area is long overdue.

Allen McMillen, who used one of the stations to look up airfare on the Internet, said the system is in a convenient location and is easy to use.

“It think it’s fast, very nice, and the design is sleek,” said McMillen, a Weinberg senior.

Courtney Jett stood at the CampusLink computers Thursday to post on an online discussion board for a class. The Communication sophomore said the main floor computers at Norris did not work as well as the new CampusLink station.

“It’s pretty cool,” she said.

But Jett said she did wish for one thing: tall bar stools.