LITS provides Chromebooks to assist students in need during COVID-19

photo of a chromebook

The Chromebook that is being provided during the COVID-19 crisis.

When Emory announced its move to remote learning for the rest of the semester, minimizing the financial impact on students was a challenge. In response, Campus Life set up a hardship fund at, later renamed the EmoryTogether Fund, to assist with the many sudden needs of students, such as help with packing and storing their belongings or emergency funding for food, housing, travel, and medicine. More than 2000 requests were submitted in just the first few days of the fund’s creation.

In many of these tickets, a lack of personal computers and/or home internet access emerged as significant barriers to remote learning. Campus Life reached out to Kim Braxton, associate dean, Academic Technology Services, to assist with these cases. We purchased 50 Chromebooks, working with James Leonard (director, LITS Customer Services) and Chris Weberg (desktop consultant II, Client Services) to identify the right model as they had already purchased 50 themselves for staff use. When our initial 50 Chromebooks ran out, James and Chris graciously lent us 15 out of their stock and then another 15 when we went through those as well.

Since March 20, Dina Thornton (coordinator, Computing Center at Cox Hall) and I have answered 128 tickets in Salesforce (the CRM tool being used to track cases) from undergraduate, graduate, and professional students. We have shipped or delivered in-person 73 Chromebooks, helped 38 students acquire internet access, loaned 4 webcams and 5 iMacs to students with specialized software needs, and answered a variety of other questions about Apporto access, connecting to the VPN, using Microsoft Office, troubleshooting Zoom and computer issues, finding library materials, and accessing software like Adobe Creative Cloud and Stata (statistical software for data science).

It has been a truly LITS-wide call to action. Here are the many folks we’d like to thank:

  • James Leonard, Chris Weberg, and James Sawyer (supervisor, Field Services) for being so helpful with acquiring Chromebooks
  • Anita Paye and Amy Jones in Finance for training Dina Thornton, Kim Braxton, and me on Salesforce
  • Robert Kruse (academic technology specialist II, Student Digital Life) for receiving all the Chromebooks at the Woodruff Library and helping with two of the pickups
  • Ben Kasavan (technical support assistant, Student Digital Life) for helping Dina and me move all the Chromebooks over to Cox (in the pouring rain, no less) when we found out Woodruff Library would be closing
  • Jay Clements (academic technology specialist II, Student Digital Life) for having the foresight to set up 5 spare iMacs for emergency loans to graduate students needing access to specialized software and more high-powered machines (and then moving them to Cox in the rain too)
  • Dina Thornton and Robin Horton (academic technology specialist III, Student Digital Life) for getting together eight webcams for loaning to students in need
  • Marty Ike (coordinator, Facilities Planning) for handling the shipping of 63 Chromebooks, three webcams, one repaired student laptop, and even a found wallet for us
  • Alex Kyrychenko (educational technology center specialist III), Robin Horton, and Jay Clements for administering Adobe licenses for students (134 and counting)

The students we’ve helped have all been so appreciative, and I couldn’t be more grateful for everyone’s contribution.

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