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College students get hands-on experience building computers for charity

Published: Monday, Oct. 21 2013 6:12 p.m. MDT

Computer science students at Stevens-Henager College in Murray are doing more than just working to get their degrees. Members of the Tech Junkies computer club are using their new skills to build computers and then donate them to charity.

Steve Landeen, Deseret News

MURRAY — Computer science students at Stevens-Henager College are doing more than just working to get their degrees. They are using their new skills to build computers and then donate them to charitable organizations.

Students were up to their elbows in computer parts Friday afternoon. Components were scattered all over. Some work, and some don't.

The students are members of the Tech Junkies computer club, which gives students hands-on experience testing, repairing and programming computers.

The students find the working parts of several old computers and put them together to make a functioning unit. In September, the group had an idea. When they got a computer working again, why not donate it to a charitable organization?

“It’s something we’re doing extra as students,” said Eric Miller, secretary of the Tech Junkies. “So we don’t have a budget. We don’t have much of anything. We’re solely working off donations and whatever we can find to get these things to work.”

For these students, Stevens-Henager College's computer degree program now has dual meaning, Miller said.

"One, to further our education and get hands-on experience and actually doing the work; and two, turn around and put those computers back out to the community," he said.

The club has a modest goal to have six computers ready for donation by the holidays. However, they need more computer parts to reach their goal, so they're appealing to businesses and the public.

“We need the internal components of the computers,” said Ron Martin, computer science instructor at Stevens-Henager. “A lot of the computers we get in have bad motherboards, a bad processor or a bad hard drive.”

The students hope to build many more computers from spare parts and make them available to charitable groups in 2014.

"Granted, it's not going to look pretty, probably won't be brand new, but it'll be something that will function and serve a purpose," Miller said.

For these students, learning a career and giving back to others is one and the same.

"There's a lot of people out there who have computers collecting dust. And if they feel they need to get that out of their homes and into use, that would be what we're looking for," Martin said.

Anyone wishing to donate used computers to Tech Junkies can email shctechjunkies@gmail.com.

Email: kmccord@deseretnews.com

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