Bulkley Valley Research Centre - Science in the Public Interest

Bulkley Valley Laptop Share - Wetzin’kwa Funding

Project Reference Number: 2010-09

Project Status: Complete

Led by: Mark Wong, Research Consultant, Smithers

Funder: Wetzin'kwa Community Forest Corporation

Rapid advances in technology have rendered electronic equipment obsolete over a shorter amount of time. In response, people are replacing their personal computers and devices more frequently even though these systems are still useable by a majority of the public. Additionally, it has become increasingly important to have the technological skills and tools in order to be successful at school and in the workplace. However, access to computers and other forms of technology are not always feasible for every family or individual.

There appears to be a natural fit between these two issues where used computers can be reformatted and redistributed to those that could benefit from this equipment. Not only would there be an immediate reduction in electronic waste, but also electronic equipment would have a longer life while providing computer access to those that cannot afford a personal computer.

There are tow main objectives to this project. The first objective is to reduce the amount of electronic waste and increasing the useful lifespan of a computer through a computer reuse program. The second objective hopes to provide low-income individuals, students, and families with access to computers. Additionally, there is a possibility to expand this service to people looking for employment and writing CVs to potential employers.

The steps to achieve these two main objectives are:

  • Computers will be donated from local residents who have recently upgraded their computers but whose old computers are still appropriate for use by the public. Laptop computers will be specifically targeted, so that people living outside of town have access to computers outside regular business hours, class time and/or computer lab hours.
  • The memory will be erased and the laptop will be reformatted with a new operating system (Linus, Windows XP), Open Office and anti-virus protection software.
  • Computers will be made available through a variety of community and educational institutes (Smithers Secondary School, Smithers Catholic High School, Northwest Community College, Smithers Public Library) and businesses (BC Web, Community Futures Development of Nadina) to be loaned out to the public in need.

This project will increase opportunities to lower income families by providing a service that is currently unavailable in the region. Low-income students and families will have access to the necessary tools needed to be successful in the classroom and the workplace. In this manner, this service will not only directly benefit the people receiving these services, but also the community as a whole, as we build a strong and educated workforce.

Related Reports

Publication Date Report Title Authors
July 2011 Bulkley Valley Laptop Share Mark Wong