The Oldest College Weekly in America. Founded 1868.

The Colgate Maroon-News

The Oldest College Weekly in America. Founded 1868.

The Colgate Maroon-News

The Oldest College Weekly in America. Founded 1868.

The Colgate Maroon-News

Colgate ITS: Making Technology Digestible, Byte by Byte

Colgate University

Come finals week, the third floor of Colgate University’s Case-Geyer Library becomes a warzone as panicked students print page after page of notes until the smell of ink and warm paper settles like a fog. But within the chaos and tears lies an oasis of aid located at the very epicenter of Case Library itself. 

Colgate’s Information and Technology Support (ITS) desk is a pillar of service run by students, for students. For those who have to Google the difference between hardware and software, or experience near-breakdowns after every encounter with Papercut (Colgate’s wireless printing site), the personal assistance of a peer can make the difference between submitting an assignment two hours early and another all-nighter.

Sophomore Andrew Kang began working with Colgate’s ITS department last semester and has quickly mastered both behind-the-scenes tech maintenance as well as community support and engagement.

“I check in on the printers [to] make sure that they have paper supply and toner supply. When there’s a jam or people are having issues on Papercut, I’m usually the one who fixes it,” Kang said. “At the desk, I loan out ITS equipment, so mostly computer chargers, Chromebooks [and] that sort of thing.”

Within ITS, the Digital Learning and Media Center (DLMC) fosters creativity and innovation within its combination computer lab, studio and classroom environment. Students who are technologically inclined — and especially students who aren’t — can visit the DLMC during regular library hours, should they find themselves in need of resources or assistance. DLMC mentors staff the service desk every day.

After a two-day training crash course before the start of the semester, media mentors rise to the rank of full-fledged IT specialists. They are charged with troubleshooting equipment, tracking inventory and rentals and operating specialized software that may be beyond the expertise of Colgate laypeople.

Senior Tom Richards, who works as a media mentor, described his responsibilities as being largely dependent on student activity.

“Most often, we’re just renting out camera or video equipment; either that or printing academic posters for scientific conferences and thesis presentations,” Richards said.

In addition to giving Colgate students guidance and support, Richards has found himself learning, too.

“Everyone comes in having some understanding of different things, so I came in with an understanding of [Adobe] Premier and [Adobe] Photoshop. But there’s a lot of learning as you go, [because] we all have different interests,” Richards said. “People come to us with a problem and I don’t always have a particular solution in mind, so I’m learning as I’m helping them.”

Junior Ava Benton, another media mentor, similarly shared that her work with video-editing platform Adobe Premier has also informed much of her role with the ITS department. Benton expressed that receiving advice from peers rather than professors is often a draw for students. Although a PhD is undoubtedly a bonus in a lecture or lab, in the case of technical difficulties, it’s always reassuring to speak to someone who’s been there and done that.

“Having a peer, or someone who’s not a teacher, [tell you] the easiest way to do an assignment can make it much less stressful,” Benton said.

Kang emphasized that it is largely the interactions with other students that make working for ITS such a gratifying experience.

“[It’s] a customer support type of environment, so you are constantly helping people,” Kang said. “It’s a very relaxed working environment […] and I have a couple of friends who work with me.”

Richards echoed Kang’s thoughts, praising the environment fostered under Instructional Designer for Innovative Media Andrew Smith as well as the opportunities for growth in the position.

“[We have] a very supportive boss [who is] super flexible with questions and work hours. He’s also a really good teacher,” said Richards. “Every shift there’s always two people [at the desk], and it’s fun to spend time with your coworkers.”

Whether you need technological assistance or are just looking to improve your skills, Colgate’s ITS desk within the Case-Geyer Library responds to all of students’ technological needs, helping to relieve as much stress as possible from students’ heavy workloads.

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