UCAR/NCAR donates used computers to local schools

As a property assistant in F&A's Budget & Finance office, Chris Knoetgen got used to seeing a steady stream of used desktop computers, laptops, and other office technology headed for the recycling bin. "It's great that everything gets recycled, but I would see computers that were still usable and think to myself, 'Hey, why can't our schools use some of this?'"

Under the Stevenson-Wydler Technology Innovation Act, federal agencies can transfer excess research and scientific equipment to eligible nonprofit, tax-exempt education institutions. So about a year and a half ago, Chris launched a donation program that gets UCAR/NCAR computers and other equipment into local classrooms.

To date, the organization has donated 1,072 items in all: 169 laptops, 113 monitors, 92 desktop computers, a few television sets and VCRs, and some assorted furniture and office supplies. There are 46 participating schools, hailing from Boulder Valley, Jefferson County, Adams 12, St. Vrain Valley, and Thompson school districts.

The way the program works is that Chris sends an email message to a list of 113 participating teachers whenever new items are available for donation. The teachers can log into a website, view the inventory, and then pick up the items at Center Green.

"I once had 37 laptops gone in four hours," Chris says.

Thanks to the donation program, local schools have been able to replace their own outdated computers, add online components to their teaching, and incorporate more technology into the classroom.

"When I found out about this program, I was so excited," says Kendra Greb (VSP), whose daughter, Charlotte (left), attends kindergarten at Park Hill Elementary School. "Our schools are struggling and teachers are on impossibly tight budgets, so UCAR and NCAR being able to provide equipment and supplies that they would normally never see is incredible."