By Mikayla Silcox
Elm Staff Writer
It’s Friday night and you have one assignment left before a night out with your friends. They’re waiting on you, but you told them your last piece of work should only take about twenty minutes. It’s an easy assignment, you’ve done all the prep work, but five minutes in, your computer can’t connect to the Wi-Fi. You look at the familiar failed internet connection symbol and sigh, knowing it’s going to be a while before you can go out.
The Wi-Fi on campus has been a popular topic of conversation for years at WC. Wi-Fi is a necessary resource on a college campus, so when students have trouble connecting to the internet, anger abounds.
During the week of Sept. 26, technicians from Apogee Electronics implemented a stronger Wi-Fi system. While the upcoming changes to the Wi-Fi are new, issues with internet complications are not.
“I remember it being particularly worse my freshman year. We weren’t here sophomore year and junior year we were recovering from COVID-19, so I imagine there were a lot of hiccups there,” senior Emily Kramer said.
Wi-Fi is an essential part of education with the digitization of most assignments, so the fact that it has taken so long for the College to fix the problem is alarming.
“It’s definitely been a big issue, not just for students, but for teachers trying to connect to Zoom for their students. It’s a campus-wide problem,” senior Kate Ruppert said.
Ruppert said that, until now, there has been no overhaul fixes of the Wi-Fi. In the past, there have been small fixes, but the problem tends to come up again.
During the peak of COVID-19, Wi-Fi played an even larger role in students being able to access their classes, so for it to be ignored during such a vital time is concerning and a threat to proper education.
Because Wi-Fi is meant to be universal on campus, professors and staff members may assume there is an equal struggle for students in their ability to access their homework.
The digital divide can still affect students residing on the same campus due to issues like lack of access to hotspots or the inability to utilize Wi-Fi in other buildings. With this, professors may have false ideas of the extent Wi-Fi issues are affecting students.
“I think the Wi-Fi is definitely negatively impacting students and students aren’t granted any leniency that I’ve heard,” freshman Mateo Griffis said.
When some students do not struggle with Wi-Fi, it is easy for professors to minimize the extent of the issue and how it impacts the ability to complete some schoolwork.
While resources like John S. Toll Science Center and the library are open for better connection outside of the dorms, these sites are not open all night.
WC prides itself on student involvement, whether that be student athletes or club engagement, and these commitments can force students to have to complete their work at hours when better connection resources are closed.
Until the new Apogee internet is fully set up, students are struggling with Internet cuts in the dorms.
“There is not even an option to connect to. I can’t study at night, and right now I have to go to the library. I don’t know what’s going on. They are leaving us in the dark,” freshman Klara Pecker said.
The complete loss of internet in Reid, one of the first buildings to undergo the Apogee renovations, lasted for two days, with no transparency to residents on when the Wi-Fi would come back.
While there is no way around the construction of a new system, students and professors should be better informed on the length of the project. That way, students can plan accordingly, and professors can provide resources or extensions.
Despite the past and present struggles with Wi-Fi, the future is looking bright.
“They seem to be doing a lot of renovations with everything right now. I think The College has finally been able to push out new campus improvements, and hopefully this is the last step we are going to need for the Wi-Fi,” Kramer said.
Under the jurisdiction of a new president and with unprecedented action towards fixing the Wi-Fi, there is good reason to believe that these debilitating internet problems will soon be gone for good.
Photo courtesy of Wikimedia Commons
After many complaints about the Wi-Fi on campus, WC decided to switch to Apogee Electronics. The switch started in Reid Hall, but issues arose, causing the residence hall to be without Wi-Fi for two days.