By Sean Crumpacker
Two King High School students, Aaryan Sharma and Arpan Bagui, began an initiative to connect public schools and companies with excess hardware in an attempt to relocate unnecessary equipment to schools and noble institutions in dire need of them. Now, they seek to expand the initiative’s reach to more schools outside of their immediate area and are looking for Brandon area businesses to help them.
Despite government funding, many public schools and noble institutions lack the resources required to fulfill a STEM education for every student.
Computer labs are highly-contested resource centers within schools, often having to be reserved by teachers weeks in advance, and especially during the testing seasons, schools need all the equipment available to ensure all the state and district-required testing can be completed in an organized, timely manner.
“One thing we realized, Arpan and I, was that a lot of companies in our local area would be running in excess of certain computers, or a lot of IT infrastructure stuff, and what would happen is that they would either throw it away or just sell it for very cheap,” said Sharma. “We also realized that in our public school system there’s a severe lack of certain IT infrastructure. So, we realized that if we could create a pipeline between these corporations and public schools, we could solve two problems at once.”
Unwanted hardware is often simply thrown out or sold for cheap by companies no longer in need of them, Sharma explained. However, by relieving these corporations of their hardware, not only could waste be cut down on, but the lack of equipment available to schools could be mitigated as well.
Sharma explained that the main problems faced so far have not been with companies being unwilling to share monitors, but rather more bureaucratic ones, regarding approval to donate the monitors to the initiative.
Another issue faced by Sharma and Bagui has been the matter of transporting the donated IT hardware to the schools which request them. Some schools have been able to handle transportation of the equipment themselves, but others have needed a bit more help to receive the donations.
Generously, Sharma and Bagui have been willing and able to help with transportation in some cases thus far, at times even using their own money to rent trucks for distribution.
“It depends on the size of the order,” Sharma explained, regarding how the hardware is delivered to requesters. “Some schools only need 10 to 15 monitors, and, in those cases, we just use our own cars. However, in some cases, schools need maybe 50 to 60, and that obviously can’t fit in our cars, so we might rent out a truck or something.”
Sharma added that often the costs come out of his and Bagui’s own pockets.
Sharma and Bagui encourage public school and noble institution representatives interested in receiving some of the donated hardware to better their establishment to also contact Sharma at his personal email, firstname.lastname@example.org, to discuss their needs.
Currently, the initiative has more than 100 monitors available to distribute. The students are still reaching out to regional corporations to further their goal.
The initiative has no way to accept donations at this time, but willing volunteers and donors can contact Sharma at his personal email listed above to discuss how they may help further the mission of providing public schools with necessary IT equipment.