UB SA Assembly talks Wi-Fi, printing issues at first meeting

UBIT representatives get feedback from students

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The Student Association Assembly kicked off its first meeting of the semester discussing issues UB students know all too well: Wi-Fi service and printing waits.

Chris Clune, director of UBIT customer service, and Diana Tuorto, UBIT Communications Specialist, discussed UB’s Wi-Fi boost, libraries, public computing sites and printing issues with the Assembly in the Student Union Wednesday night. UBIT is looking to set up a semester-long focus group to address these issues, according to Tuorto.

SA Assembly originally scheduled its first meeting for Sept. 23, but delayed it due to because many members wanting to attend the Black Student Union’s open forum on the “White Only” art project. According to new Assembly Speaker James Corra, members received the meeting well even with the pushback.

SA Assembly is a part of the legislative branch of SA and votes on all constitutional changes. Any student can become a member with 40 signatures.

Fronzcak Hall and the Mathematics Building received the Wi-Fi boost in the past few weeks after the Natural Science Complex, the Computing Center and Richmond Hall in the Ellicot Complex received the boost over the summer. Baldy Hall’s improved Wi-Fi will finish this Monday.

Tuorto said UBIT chose Richmond Hall as the first residence hall in order to test it out.

“We wanted to see how the Wi-Fi compared to all the other buildings in Ellicott,” she said.

Tuorto later added in an email that UB is currently conducting a survey and focus groups with residents in Richmond, Fargo and Wilkeson to compare Wi-Fi performance expectations and satisfaction.

The UBIT members also discussed the eduroam network, a nationwide roaming service used at universities that provides students and faculty with secure Wi-Fi access, that may eventually replace the UB_Secure network as UB's main network. Tuorto said that nothing has been finalized however. Both UB_Secure and eduroam are currently available and encrypted on campus.

The switch would make traveling between institutions easier, according to Tuorto. UB_Secure would still be available for students to use, but the main campus network would be geared toward eduroam. 

Tuorto said in an email that UBIT is seriously considering changing the name of UB_Secure because of its sometimes negative connotations, but that the network should be improved in most cases in buildings given the Wi-Fi Boost. 

Clune said he wanted to obtain feedback from students about the printing stations in the cybraries and that he was surprised how dependent students are on the public computing stations.

The majority of the students expressed concerns with long waits for printing, slow log-ins and slow startups for Google Chrome. A shortage of computers was also a major issue, according to students at the Assembly.

Some students proposed solutions to the issues.

Edward Bennett, a junior political science major, said his previous school, Case Western in Ohio, used wēpa, a printing app that allows people to upload documents from their personal computer, smartphone, tablet or USB drive. Bennett said students then swipe their school ID card or credit card to pay and send to printers. Students then pick up their papers at the wēpa stations.

“There were many of them around campus so students didn’t have to wait very long for printing,” Bennet said.

Clune suggested students give feedback to UBIT and said doing so is crucial. Students are encouraged to leave comments on the UBIT website.

Thanya Theogene is a news staff writer. News desk can be reached at news@ubspectrum.com.