New campus user group growing 'like wildfire'

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The Mac is getting back on track in the K-12 education market. And thanks to grassroots support, our favorite computing platform just may make a lot of headway at several institutes of higher learning.

Take the University of Colorado (which has a sort of a misnomer of an acronym, CU), for example. The Mac has a large presence there, though currently, Apple systems are massed more within on-campus facilities such as computer labs rather than in the homes and side businesses of students and faculty. For instance, the College of Engineering and Applied Science has four rows of Power Mac G4s with 17-inch Studio Displays.

However, the new CU Mac users group, CU-MUG, hopes to help increase the number of Macs in homes and side businesses. Formed recently, the group already has 73 members.

"CU-MUG finally solidified the last week of August with the creation of our Web site and the distribution of e-mails informing folks of the new group," Ryan Bruels, one of the founders of the group told MacCentral. "It wasn't an organized e-mail campaign; it was only sent to a few folks on campus that Kurt Ackman (our Higher Education Account Executive at Apple who is helping us coordinate the MUG) had worked with previously. It spread like wildfire."

The regular meetings have not been scheduled yet, though the first meeting is Thursday, Sept. 6, at 6 pm (Mountain Time). It will be held in the Engineering and Applied Science building in room 1B40.

There is a Mac users group in Boulder, but the campus group isn't designed to compete with it. Their goal is to build the Mac presence among the students and faculty by catering right to the large (26,000 students, plus the staff/ and faculty) market on campus.

"More importantly, we just really want to promote the Mac," Bruels said. "Is CU-MUG for students only? Absolutely not! We want students, faculty, heck, every Boulder Mac fans to join and have fun with us, even if they're part of the other MUG in the area. Why stop at one when there's two, right?"

He said that CU-MUG would offer some unique aspects for a user group. There'll be Apple events on campus. For instance, a special Apple University Relations event will be held on Sept. 20.

Apple University Relations is the department within Apple that works with Mac-using universities throughout the country. They'll be holding a sort of a "demo days" for everyone on campus called "Apple and the College of Engineering and Applied Science Picnic." The Apple University Relations group will be at the CU-Boulder Engineering building, recruiting for interns as well as full-time positions, specifically in the fields of computer science and electrical engineering. There will be product demonstrations and CU alumni, now employed at Apple, will be present.

"Plus, we're working closely with a local Apple Higher Education representative to ensure we have the latest information, goodies and resources for anyone who joins or even just stops by with a question," Bruels said. "Also, anticipating that we get office space when the renovation of the Memorial Center -- a central student hub on campus -- is complete in 2002, students and faculty can come to us whenever they have a question or just want to chat about the latest update to Mac OS X."

The campus bookstore does sell all the major Mac models, including the Titanium and iBook. Bruels hopes that having an on-campus Mac user group will help sales of Apple systems.

"Having lived in a large dorm, a suitable cross-section for any major university, I see a lot of people coming in with Wintel PCs, with some iMacs and PowerBooks here and there, but your average student won't purchase another computer on a regular basis (if at all again during their four years), and most likely won't switch platforms if they do," he said. "We want to see a lot more Macs in their hands."

This story, "New campus user group growing 'like wildfire'" was originally published by PCWorld.

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