University Center charging ports to be removed by end of semester

UC charging stations 95

The charging stations in the Bovee University Center lobby on Oct. 3 feature broken and outdated charging accessories. 

The five charging stations located in student lounge areas of the Bovee University Center will be removed at the end of this semester.

Melissa Blythe, associate director of Events and Conference Services, said the decision to remove the chargers came after several surveys showed many students weren't using the stations.

"A lot of the feedback from the students (showed) a lot of them carry their own chargers," Blythe said. "Students are really looking more for electrical outlets they could plug their computers into more than charging stations."

Due to student use, wires attached to the chargers are frayed and broken — making them unable to charge phones. A charging station in the Multicultural Academic Student Services office still works due to infrequent use.

The charging stations were originally installed through a third-party vendor, KwikBoost, in 2012 for $2,000. Between paying for the contract and replacing damaged wires, Blythe said each of the five ports cost about $200 per academic year.

Blythe said Events and Conferences is in the process of looking for alternatives for students who need to utilize the charging stations. One potential alternative would be to keep charging units available at the service desk and have students check them out with their student ID cards. 

Other options include installing similar charging stations used by the athletics department, which require a small fee. Blythe said surveys suggest students would not be interested in paying for the service.

"We're trying to look at an efficient, but cost-effective way for students to be able to utilize the chargers," Blythe said. "We don't have a lot of need for (the chargers). Most people come to campus in the morning with their phones charged through the day. The chargers just aren't utilized very often."

Director of Events and Conferences Calvin Seelye estimates it would cost about $500 to repair the charging ports as they are now. 

Blythe said there has also been a recurring issue of people cutting the wires. 

Some students, like Novi sophomore Megan Riley, are afraid the out-of-date technology will ruin their device.

Though the charging ports are dispersed throughout the upper and lower level of the UC, some students are unaware they exist. 

“I have never used them or never even looked at them until they were pointed out to me,” Novi freshman Cailin Gerwig said.

Toledo junior Abby Nelson said while she had not used the chargers on the second floor of the UC, she has made use of the charger near the MASS office before.

"I don't necessarily see a reason to remove (the chargers)," Nelson said. "I don't think they're taking up space, and I think they could be helpful if people needed to use them."

Contributions to this article were made by staff reporter Jordan McGee.