“Free” iPads for new and transfer students, why didn’t I receive an iPad?

Eager to go back on campus for in person classes, the first stop I made after class was the library to reminisce on those late hard working nights. As I approached the front steps, I saw two tables with sun tents pitched over them.

At first, I thought maybe this was how they were checking student IDs to enter the library. The people running the tables met me with smiles and asked if I was there to pick up my iPad. Confused, I said, “No, but can I have an iPad?”

They explained that I was not eligible because the iPads were only for new freshmen and transfer students. I left frustrated because I couldn’t understand why only new students had access to the iPads.

If I had been attending Cal Poly Humboldt for almost four years now, two of which were during a pandemic, where was my incentive to keep pushing through school?

The Investigation

My immediate response was to research where exactly these iPads were coming from and why returning students were not included. A simple Google search brought me to Cal Poly Humboldt’s information page on their website. There was no contact information on who I could talk to on campus about this program.

I started my quest to find an actual person I could contact by calling places like the Help Desk and the Chief Information Officer, Bethany Rizzardi. That task was easier said than done, because after constant calls, emails, and voicemails, I only received a response from Drew Meyers, the Tech Help Desk Lead.

Eventually, I was able to talk with Breck Robinson, who is the Director of ITS Customer Care. He was able to provide some answers to my questions.

Here’s what you need to know:

The CSU system has launched a program called CSUCCESS, which aims to close equity gaps and support academic excellence. The focus on new students was to support them as they started college during the COVID-19 pandemic.

According to Robinson, Cal Poly Humboldt did not have any say in only providing new students with iPads.

“That was a decision made by the Chancellor’s office,” said Robinson. “The program was sponsored by the Chancellor’s office, and the Chancellor himself was very excited about the opportunity to make sure that new students had the equipment they needed to be successful.”

I figured everyone was busy with the rebranding of Cal Poly Humboldt. However, I couldn’t help but feel even more frustrated that a select group of students were receiving iPads, and not one administrator was willing to talk about it.

How would an iPad help me?

It goes without saying that note taking on an iPad with an Apple Pencil is superior to pen and paper. The accessibility of all your work for every class in such a light device makes iPads an efficient, and effective academic resource.

Working full time since the start of the COVID-19 pandemic made it more difficult to balance school and work. Receiving an iPad would help bring my school work anywhere I go. Making it much more convenient to study on breaks.

iPads also make necessary travel during the academic year less of a mess. It is always a challenge trying to pack light when I drive to the Bay Area for medical visits. Having an iPad would reduce the load immensely since I’d no longer need to bring all my notebooks and heavy laptop.

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