Students and volunteer staff from the URV repair computers to donate to schools

URV Solidària is working with the Labdoo network to reduce the digital divide in education both at home and abroad

Estudiants i professors d'enginyeria reparant i sanejant diversos portàtils al CRAI Sescelades.
Engineering students and lecturers repairing and upgrading laptops at the CRAI Sescelades.

On Tuesday, the URV Solidària organized the second marathon for upgrading unused laptops as part of the SustainComp solidarity project. Several engineering students and lecturers took part. The initiative seeks to reduce the digital divide in education by collecting and repairing computers for schools in need. The proposal has been made jointly with the global social network Labdoo, which coordinates the processes and the delivery of the material.

Although the project is active throughout the year, on the 5th and 6th of June an appeal was made to the staff and students of the University to give any old devices that they did not use a second chance. In Tuesday’s marathon, student volunteers repaired the thirty-or-so laptops that had been donated and installed the necessary software. The volunteers were students and lecturers, mostly from the Bachelor’s Degree in Computer Engineering, but also from other degrees.

It is the second year that this call has been made to collect computer devices, but the URV Solidària and the teaching staff from the URV’s Computer Engineering Faculty have been collaborating with Labdoo, an international social and humanitarian network, which is active in more than 135 countries and has helped nearly six hundred thousand students.

Computers transported by volunteers

Not only are the laptops repaired by volunteers, they are also transported by volunteers. Labdoo hands the laptops over to people who have to travel to one of the receiving countries for other purposes, so no additional CO2 emissions are generated. This is why only laptops are collected not desktop computers, which require more components and take up more space.

For the first time, Labdoo, an international network, is also delivering equipment at the local level because there is also a considerable digital divide at home, since many children cannot afford to buy a computer and therefore do not have the same advantages as others when studying.

The head of the URV Solidària, Joan Fuster, says that “we use all the material that is sent to us, and although some devices are difficult to repair, they are a challenge to the computer engineering students”. He also adds that in some cases parts of several obsolete laptops are put together to make one that can be used.

Fuster also points out that this project is a great motivation for the students: “In some cases they do it because of the IT challenge it poses, but they also take part because they are socially and environmentally aware”.

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