“Last semester, I worked with Jonathan Latko, founder and Director of the Computer Recycling Center (CRC) at Temple University; at the same time, I was enrolled in ENST/GUS 3085, Dr. Andrucki’s internship seminar. This is a course where you earn academic credit for your internship, in addition to the experience of the internship itself. Dr. Andrucki led weekly discussions on topics ranging from the obligations of a university in the community to the evolution of volunteerism/non-profit work as a career path. His relevant class materials, in-depth discussions, and assignments allowed each of us to assess what our internship was contributing in terms of personal development and community involvement.
“The primary role of the CRC is the collection and refurbishment of electronic computing equipment that has been cycled out. In addition to reducing electronic waste at Temple, Jonathan also aims to bridge the gap in what is referred to as “the digital divide”. The digital divide is a phenomenon that occurs within marginalized communities in which members are systemically left out of advancements in technology. This is a huge concern because today you need a computer to schedule a driver’s test, enroll in a healthcare plan, or track and manage your finances. Individuals of marginalized communities are often left out of technological advancements simply because they cannot afford it. Through the Temple Tech For Philly Program, the CRC donates refurbished computer equipment to community recreation centers, schools and other organizations that are in desperate need of updated technology to effectively serve their community members.
“Part of my internship experience was to develop a map that would help to determine how big the impact of the CRC was in the local community and, it turns out, that it’s substantial. By mapping the receiving organizations, we found that over the last 10 years, the CRC donated over 2,500 pieces of computer equipment to more than 250 locations; the donations were items such as computers, monitors, and printers. In order to arrive at these figures, Jonathan provided me with access to the CRC’s database in which all pieces of equipment are accounted for; the database allowed us to generate a list of community organizations, date of donation and contents of those donations. After organizing the data into a format that made sense for me, I used Google Map Maker and began adding layers for each of the years in question. Once the layers were established, I used the built-in data table functions of this program to clearly identify how many pieces of equipment were donated and what the makeup of that donation was (CPU’s, monitors, printers, etc). It was important to make sure that all of the locations were accurate because we needed to demonstrate how large the impact of this operation was. Each layer on the map is labeled by the year that was examined as well as the total amount of community organizations that the CRC donated to; each of these layers was also color coded to illustrate the reach in that specific year. These layers also contain a text summary of what particular equipment was donated.
“After the data had been mapped, it was shared with members of the Temple Administration to demonstrate how the CRC has been serving Temple and the community. As previously stated, the impact has been substantial and Temple has continued to be a university that contributes significantly to the surrounding community by not only giving, but by setting the community up for success along with maintaining a sense of capability within those recipients. View the full map of Temple Tech For Philly’s reach.”
– John Strawbridge, Geography and Urban Studies, Class of 2017