Neitsch, principal of Edmonton’s Victoria
School of Performing Arts, discusses the value of Computers
for Schools during the 50,000th donation celebration,
Major APEGGA permit holders
are among the companies who’ve
made supporting CFS with donations a key part of their technology
upgrade programs. ATCO says donations to CFS allow the company
to support the environment while helping build Alberta’s
future. As for the students of Alberta, they’re now
50,000 computers ahead.
BY GEORGE LEE
When APEGGA permit holder ATCO found out about Alberta Computers
for Schools in early 2000, the fit was obvious. The company
had already been donating some of its old equipment to organizations
throughout Alberta, but preparing the equipment and following
up to make sure it worked properly were proving to be costly
“We actually hired summer students to do much of the
work required to donate equipment,” said ATCO I-Tek Senior
Communications Adviser Brenda Semeniuk. And ATCO – a
group of companies involved in energy, power, technology
and other industries – was unable to pass along software
because of licensing restrictions.
Donations in the communities ATCO serves were one-off opportunities.
More often, ATCO sold computers to employees or second-hand
dealers, or even gave them up for scrap, said Ms. Semeniuk.
Since March 2000, ATCO’s “end-of-life” computers
have been going straight to Alberta Computers for Schools,
a 10-year-old partnership of Alberta Learning, Alberta Infrastructure
and the federal government’s Industry Canada. In mid-April,
the program celebrated delivery of its 50,000th computer,
with ceremonies in Edmonton and Calgary.
“Alberta Computers for Schools is just a tremendous opportunity
for us. It supports our policy of being environmentally responsible,
it streamlines our computer asset management process, and
most importantly allows us to invest in the students of our
province,” said Ms. Semeniuk. “We truly believe
students are the future of Alberta, and that some of these
students are our future employees. It’s important that
they have access to computers.”
Lucien Villeneuve, Computers for Schools executive director,
couldn’t agree more. Corporations large and small,
as well as individual APEGGA members, can make a difference
by building donations into their work cultures, he says.
Microsoft Canada supports CFS by providing free licenses
for operating systems, Mr. Villeneuve points out. About
20 staff and volunteers make sure the equipment is clean,
and delivered to the schools that need it. Computers are
warehoused and refurbished in Edmonton and Calgary, but
delivered throughout the province.
“We eliminate all the hassle,” said Mr. Villeneuve.
Companies don’t have to find end-users, and they even
receive tax receipts for their donations. And they make fair,
efficient use of their old equipment.
TELUS, Shell Canada, Imperial Oil and ATCO are the major
companies that have become part of the CFS system. ATCO began
donating in March 2000, after a company president learned
of the program’s existence.
Last year, ATCO donated 994 computers and laptops to CFS,
plus 80 printers and more than 1,000 monitors. The year before,
the totals were 778 computers and laptops, more than 950
monitors and more than 75 printers. The team at ATCO I-Tek
is responsible for the day-to-day operations of the ATCO
group’s CFS program in both Edmonton and Calgary. I-Tek
also takes an active role in fostering the ATCO relationship
with the CFS program, to ensure it remains successful.
|Ross Plecash, P.Eng.
. . .CFS board’s vice-chair
Ross Plecash, P.Eng., Director, Corporate & Member Affairs
for APEGGA, would like to see more APEGGA permit holders
support CFS. He sits on the CFS board of directors as vice-chair.
I see my role as a connection to our members and permit holders,
who use computers extensively in their engineering, geological
and geophysical practices,” said Mr. Plecash. “These
are typically high-end computers. This is very high quality
equipment that can be passed along to students.”
He suggests that companies that lease their computers extend
their leases by only a few months so they can completely
write off their computer equipment, and then pass the machines
along to CFS. “This is a tremendous source of really
good equipment,” he said.
APEGGA has been involved with Computers for Schools since
its inception in 1994.