NIU switches to Google

Sierra Lowe

Google has reached NIU.

With the efforts of Information Technology Service’s (ITS) Green Up initiative, students this semester have switched to a new system that provides access to variety of Google applications.

Part of the reason the ITS sought to use Google was because they believed there is too much paper use going on.

Walter Czerniak, associate vice president of NIU information technology services, said technology is capable of more than killing trees.

“Through Google, we efficiently burn less energy, which helps a little,” Czerniak said. “This change has been in planning for three years awaiting approval. It’s just hard to make a change in one semester when so many are used to marking on paper.”

The switch to Google was not just done for its expected environmental benefits, but also its financial opportunities.

“Google does not charge the university,” said Cindy Phillips, director of telecommunications services and customer support. “They expect students will become lifelong users.”

Czerniak said the move to Google would not raise student tuition at all.

“The lab budget was eaten up by the paper and printer budget, hence the end of free printing,” said Czerniak. “So with Google covering that expense, we can reuse the money we already have elsewhere and not waste it.”

The new email system is far from the only change being made on campus.

“This is just the beginning,” said Czerniak. “This time next year, campus will be 100 percent Wi-Fi capable.”

Sophomore nursing major Michael Smirat doesn’t like using the Google mail system.

“I hate gmail. I use Yahoo!,” Smirat said. “It is too much stuff going on at once. I just like to know what my email is.”

A Google Apps privacy policy may cause some concern for students using the software. The policy states an administrator or service provider has access to any data stored in an account, including email.

When asked if the administration could go into email accounts, Czerniak said he wasn’t aware of anyone having access to another person’s account in any shape or form.

Sophomore chemistry major Daniel Gazinski said he wasn’t concerned about the privacy policy.

“I only use my school email for school,” Gazinski said.