After a heavily anticipated upgrade, students will now be able to get connected at the heart of campus. University and Student Government leaders gathered at the steps of the Hatcher Graduate Library last Friday to cut the ribbon and officially completion of the Campus WiFi Upgrade. The project brings wireless internet access to the Diag and upgrades internet connection in more than 250 buildings on campus.
Ravi Pendse, vice president of the University’s Information and Technology Services, opened the ceremony by sharing details of the project.
“We upgraded Wi-Fi coverage for close to 16 million square feet,” Pendse said. “If you want to think in terms of football, that’s about 300 football fields, or if we’re thinking Big House, maybe 275.”
Tuesday, on the first day of classes, about 106,000 devices were connected to the University Wi-Fi network.
University President Mark Schlissel concluded the ceremony, speaking on the role Wi-Fi connection plays in student and faculty productivity and innovation.
“This project is actually long overdue,” Schlissel said. “And I’m very pleased that I got to play a role in helping bring it to fruition. More and more each day we depend on internet access as our tether and our lifeline at scales that range from around the Diag to literally around the world.”
Schlisse credited multiple generations of Central Student Government leaders for the completion of the project. The project was launched by former CSG President Anushka Sarkar, and current CSG President Daniel Greene, a Public Policy senior, who was present at the ceremony to see it through.
Greene acknowledged Sarkar’s dedication to the project and said the Wi-Fi improvement is an example of the ways the University is listening to the needs of its students.
“The completion of Wi-Fi on the Diag highlights the University’s commitment to meeting the evolving needs of students and demonstrates the productivity of successful relationships between student and administrative leaders,” Greene said.
LSA sophomore Evan Starr was working on a class assignment under a tree on the Diag following the ceremony.
“(The Wi-Fi’s) been good — better than last year’s,” Starr said. “It encourages you to be outside.”
Schlissel said many Wi-Fi access points have been concealed to preserve the aesthetics of the campus. Coupled with the increased internet speeds, the Diag will become even more active campus spot, Schlissel said.
“With Wi-Fi connectivity further enhancing the learning environment, there is no limit on lightning-fast access to the world’s information no matter where you are on the U of M campus,” Schlissel said.