By Ariel Butler
In early August, a new program called California State University Connectivity Contributing to Equity and Student Success (CSUCCESS) unveiled their initiative to loan an iPad Air bundle consisting of a new iPad Air, Apple Pencil and Apple Smart Keyboard Folio to all incoming freshman and transfer students at CI. Eight CSU campuses and 35,000 students are eligible for the initiative, marking the most devices given to CSU students through this program. CSUCCESS partnered with the leader in global technology, Apple, to make this happen.
According to CSUCCESS, their mission is to “enhance student achievement and create more equitable opportunities for the CSU Channel Islands community by providing industry-leading technology.” First year and transfer students were chosen to receive the iPad bundle due to the additional support that new students often require, especially in the midst of the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic. CSUCCESS explained that continuing students may become eligible in subsequent phases.
On Aug. 2, eligible CI students received an email with instructions on how to request the bundle, and distribution started the week of Aug. 23. The iPads and additional accessories are given to students on the basis of a loan, and they will need to be returned before the student graduates.
Isabelle Oroc, a freshman pre-nursing major, opted to take advantage of CSUCCESS’s initiative. Oroc explained,“I thought it would be useful for my studies. I thought it was a good deal and I didn’t want to put a financial burden on my parents.” Oroc also described the convenience of the iPad Air: “I open Canvas a lot and when a professor assigns a lecture video, I’ll do split screen on the iPad and have my note taking app open.”
Emily Chang, a freshman biology major, also spoke to the convenience of the iPad. “It’s really nice because you can go paperless and you don’t have to worry about constantly carrying your notebooks or putting your papers in a binder. Everything is really organized and condensed.”
In CI’s official news release on CSUCESS, Interim President Richard Yao expressed his support for the program and voiced that the initiative “builds on our commitment to equity and inclusion. . .it also serves as a powerful message to new students that we believe in them, we are invested in their success, and we are here to support them.”
The support Interim President Yao mentioned is evident by student statements. Oroc voiced enthusiasm for the program: “I think it’s great that this program is giving opportunities for students and opening new methods of ways to keep on track, stay organized, and do well within the school.” Chang added, “I hope as many students are taking advantage of this as possible because a free iPad for the rest of your school years: why wouldn’t you want that?”
Ultimately, CSUCCESS considers this program an investment, providing students with necessary tools to succeed.
The initiative has arrived at a convenient time, with students still facing the effects of the COVID-19 pandemic. Many students are still enrolled in online classes, with more courses being offered online than before the pandemic.. CSUCCESS provides access to online learning for students who may not have had access prior. This directly aligns with Interim President Yao’s mission to eliminate equity gaps among CI students — one of the goals he announced during Convocation. With CSUCCESS’s initiative granting hundreds of first year students access to cutting-edge technology, CI’s commitment to closing opportunity gaps draws one step closer.