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Computer store to relocate in fall

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Beginning with the Class of 2016, Dartmouth Computer Sales and Services will enhance its existing laptop packages by adding a free loaner computer for use by students whose laptops are being repaired and by cutting software prices to encourage students to buy their computers from the College, according to Vice President for Information Technology Ellen Waite-Franzen. The computer store will also be relocated to McNutt Hall from Baker-Berry Library in the fall, Waite-Franzen said.

The new packages were created as an attempt to halt the recent decline in computer sales from the College.

“We’ve seen more students buying outside of the College, and we think that’s because students don’t realize that you can buy your computer from Dartmouth and receive huge savings and get the services around it,” Waite-Franzen said.

Only about 400 students purchased their laptops from the College last year, a drop from previous years, according to computer store manager Theresa Woodward. The decline may be a result of students continuing to use the laptops they purchased while in high school. Woodward, however, she said she encourages students to buy their computers new.

“[The computer] will last them the four years, and we know it will be easy for faculty to work with the students,” she said.

The services offered by the College are a “real benefit” to students and constitute a “whole care package,” according to Waite-Franzen,

The computer store will move from its current location on the first floor of Baker-Berry Library to the basement of McNutt Hall in the fall.

“We’re pretty excited about being in a higher-traffic area for students,” Waite-Franzen said. “The store will be much more of a modern store.”

In the future, students buying a computer from the College will have access to a free loaner computer when their own is being repaired, Woodward said.

“So if you purchased from us and your computer breaks down for some reason, there is an option to take a computer free of charge from us, but that is only if you purchased from us,” she said.

The computer store lowered the price of the basic software package to $10 from $100 and is hoping to make it free in the future, Waite-Franzen said.

“We’re basically going to subsidize the cost for the students because it is another way for us to lower the price, and we hope students will see that,” she said.

Woodward said the computer store will work with students at Tuck School of Business to brainstorm more effective online marketing strategies that target students and parents.

Basic laptop packages for the 2012-2013 academic year range from $1,170 for a PC to $1,282 for a Mac, with “high-end” packages ranging from $1,830 for a PC and $2,118 for a Mac, according to the Computing Services website. This reflects a drop in price from last year, largely due to the cheaper software.

Dartmouth was among the first schools to require students to have a computer and offer the option of purchasing directly from the College, Waite-Franzen said.

“Years ago, you couldn’t buy a computer at a retail store or online,” she said. “Actually, you could buy it at Dartmouth and that was about it, so all the students purchased from Dartmouth.”

Because Computer Sales and Services remains not-for-profit, revenues earned from sales on computers and accessories are negligible, according to Woodward.

“We try to cover our costs since we are self-funded,” she said. “There is no incentive for us. We hope that students will want to purchase from us because it will be easier for them.”

Students interviewed said they generally regard their experience with Computer Sales and Services as positive.

“It went smoothly [and] I didn’t have any problems,” Shoshana Silverstein ’15 said. “I haven’t had any problems with my computer either — everything has been working fine.”

The prices offered by the College seem reasonable when compared to those of other retailers, students said.

“I did some research on the prices and found that they were fair,” Trevor Ladd ’13 said.

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