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New community-based computer lab to be dedicated at First English Lutheran Church on Dec. 6
New community-based computer lab to be dedicated at First English Lutheran Church on Dec. 6December 03, 2002Judy Holmesjlholmes@syr.edu
Contact: Andrea Manseau
Lab is the result of partnership between First English, Weed and Seed, and Syracuse University’s Lutheran Campus Ministry
Saturday mornings on college campuses are traditionally for sleeping. Not, however, for a small group of Syracuse University students-all members of Lutheran Campus Ministry at Hendricks Chapel-who recently congregated at First English Lutheran Church, 501 James St., to spend a weekend scraping, painting and preparing a little-used room to be transformed into a new computer lab for the community.
At 9 a.m. Dec. 6, the Rev. Craig Herrick will dedicate the new computer lab at First English Lutheran Church. The public is invited to attend. Scheduled to speak at the dedication are Glenn Suddaby, the U.S. attorney for the Northern District region; Nancy Kronen, coordinator of Weed and Seed efforts on Syracuse’s North side; the Rev. Frederick Lampe, pastor of the Lutheran Campus Ministry at SU; and Robert Mervine, a sophomore in SU’s School of Information Studies. Mervine, LCM peer minister for service, coordinated the efforts to make the lab a reality for the congregation.
The lab was made possible by a $7,000 grant from Weed and Seed, a U.S. Department of Justice-funded initiative for revitalizing neighborhoods and eliminating violence, gang activity and drugs. The lab houses 17 networked computers, a scanner and two printers, and will be open to people in the community. Classes will be held to teach people basic computer skills, to send and receive e-mail and to use the Internet.
“I think it’s dynamite,” Herrick says. “The lab will give 90-year-old grandmothers the opportunity to e-mail their grandchildren, and provide basic computer training for children, youth and adults.”
The vision for the computer lab came from the First English congregation, many of whom have few computer skills and little access to computers. Once the grant was secured, Herrick sought help from SU’s Lutheran Campus Ministry to create the lab.
“Lutheran Campus Ministry continually looks for ways to apply the expertise of our students to the needs of the Syracuse community,” Lampe says. “First English has been collecting old computers for a number of years, but until recently, we were not in a position to help put the puzzle pieces together. Things took off last spring. Bobby applied his technical know-how to the vision of the congregation and pulled together his skills, as well as those of other students, friends and family to make the vision a reality.”
Mervine worked with church members and vendors to purchase the needed computer hardware and software, coordinated student work teams and designed the lab’s computer network. Since October, Mervine and his student teams have spent five to eight hours per week working on the lab.
While the lab is physically finished, there is still more work to do. Mervine and others will soon begin teaching computer classes. “My job is to build it and run it,” he says. “The building is done.”
In addition to Mervine, the students who worked on the project are Britt Faulstick, Andrea Manseau, Kristen Olson and Megan Vincent, all students in the S.I. Newhouse School of Public Communications; Justin Huffman and Kathy Weber, students in The College of Arts and Sciences; and Brian Rebuck, a student in the School of Architecture.
Lutheran Campus Ministry at Syracuse University is an open community of worship, growth and support and includes students, faculty, staff, administrators, friends, family, area congregations, the district synod and national affiliations in the name and spirit of Jesus Christ.