EduCycle® nabs international technology and impact award

By Pam Gorsuch on August 1, 2017

Innovative program has saved $2.8 million and repurposed 2,800 computers for use on campus and in area high schools.

TU employees train local students and volunteers in computer reconditioning as part of the EduCycle® program.
TU employees train local students and volunteers in computer reconditioning as part of the EduCycle® program.

Towson University’s EduCycle® program is the 2017 recipient of the Campus Technology Impact Award in the administration category. The international award honors universities with unique projects that make an extraordinary impact on campus technology. Previous award winners include Duke University and Harvard Business School. 

“EduCycle® gives new life to campus computers, teaches technology skills to volunteers and supplies useful equipment to classrooms,” said Vice President for Administration and Finance Joseph Oster. “This is a well-deserved award for a program that has a positive impact on our campus and across the region.”

Because they endure such heavy use, it’s standard practice to replace computer lab equipment every three years. But while these computers are no longer a good fit for labs, they often have a lot of life left. Rather than discarding the computers, the EduCycle® program trains volunteers to recondition them through cleaning, replacing or restoring hardware and adding new keyboards and mice. The equipment is then repurposed for use in campus offices. When there’s a surplus of equipment, it’s donated to local schools in need.

The program began in 2013 as a collaboration between OTS, the College of Liberal Arts and various departments across campus. It has now repurposed more than 2,800 computers, saving $2.8 million through reduced equipment and disposal costs. Approximately 1,500 of the computers were reused on-campus and more than 1,300 were donated to the partner school systems. The computers in Dulaney High School’s library were supplied by EduCycle®, as were the computers at the walk-in counter in TU's Counseling Center.

In addition to repurposing equipment, the program has trained more than 200 volunteers in computer reconditioning. Volunteers include clients from the Hussman Center for Adults with Autism, Baltimore Urban League members and local high school students.

“The Campus Technology Impact Awards seek to recognize projects that are really making a difference in higher education,” said Rhea Kelly, executive editor, campus technology. “Towson University’s EduCycle® program is a wonderful example of having that impact on many levels — cost savings, reducing e-waste, providing hands-on tech training to the community and equipment to area schools. It truly takes recycling to a higher level.”

This story is one of several related to President Kim Schatzel's priorities for Towson University: TU Matters to Maryland and Strategic Plan Alignment.