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ECC Supports Students with Chromebooks

Thanks to generous donors, Edgecombe Community College has purchased Chromebooks to loan to students who lack technology. Shown is ECC Librarian Burton Holderness checking out a Chromebook to student Jacquetta Pittman.

Thanks to the generosity of two donors, Edgecombe Community College began loaning Chromebooks this week to students who lack technology.

The donors, who wish to remain anonymous, contributed a total of $15,000 to enable the College to purchase 50 Chromebooks for students.

Like other community colleges in North Carolina and per State directive, ECC began shifting face-to-face courses to online delivery mid-March.

“When we had to move courses online, we knew that many of our students do not have reliable internet access or computers,” explains ECC President Dr. Greg McLeod. “To assist these students, the College established the Student Resource Center in the Tarboro campus library in order to provide students with internet access and technology.”

Computers, resource materials, and tutoring services were available to students in the Student Resource Center, and social distancing and regular cleanings were implemented.

When College officials were notified on April 17 that an ECC student had tested positive for COVID-19, the Student Resource Center was immediately closed. Though the health and safety of the College community is priority one, closing the center also meant that some students were left without resources.

Lynwood Roberson, executive director of the ECC Foundation, reached out to several corporate partners and individuals seeking support to purchase technology, and two pitched in straightaway.

“Edgecombe Community College is fortunate to have great friends with big hearts,” says Roberson. “When I explained that we have students who simply wouldn’t be able to finish their spring classes, they immediately asked, ‘What can I do to help?’”

Once the Chromebooks were ordered, College officials began reaching out to students who needed them.

According to ECC Dean of Students Samanthia Phillips, “We first identified students who used the Student Resource Center to let them know that we had Chromebooks for loan. We also received requests for technology from students through the Student Assistance Form available through the Student Success Center.”

Ten Chromebooks were distributed this week to help students complete spring classes, which end on May 6. “Once we start summer classes on May 20, we will gauge how many students have technology needs. All of the students who received Chromebooks this week are enrolled in summer classes, so we have 40 left to distribute.”

ECC student Jacquetta Pittman is grateful for a Chromebook. She was a regular visitor to the Student Resource Center before it closed. “I am so appreciative,” she says. “This computer will help me finish my classes, and I can stay in school.”