This past January, SPC’s Chad Mairn championed the Gadgets for Good electronic recycling initiative in partnership with Tony Selvaggio, founder and CEO of eSmart Recycling, and Tara Newsom, Director of SPC’s Center for Civic Learning. The initiative’s goal was to collect and recycle used electronics to develop a mobile technology incubator, which will deliver equitable access to technology and provide learning opportunities to those in need in our community. Close to 2,000 pounds of electronics were donated to various SPC campuses and picked up by eSmart Recycling to inventory, destroy all data, and to prepare the electronics for recycling. This week, SPC will receive their first installment of 10 laptops as part of a mobile technology lab. This is great timing, as we celebrate Open Access Education Week!
The drive to ensure equitable access to technology started in 2001 when Mairn received a $20,000 grant from the Friends of the Gulfport Public Library to create a mobile laptop lab to teach computer literacy to the elderly, so he has years of relevant experience. Mairn will collaborate with the Center for Civic Learning to develop learning opportunities within the College and will embed the use of this incubator in coursework across disciplines.
“Creating comfortable and open access to learning is what we do at SPC,” Mairn points out. “Accepting these computers will help SPC fulfill one of our goals, which is to bring equitable access to technology so people in need will gain essential technological skills that they can use in their professional as well as their personal lives.”
The first batch of laptops will be used in the community and Mairn and Newsom will work as mentors to “train the trainer” within various disciplines to help expand this effort and increase computer literacy across SPC’s service area.
Esmart Recycling is a collaborative partner with SPC whose mission is to improve core literacy and re-enforce the importance of pre-workforce readiness through access to technology. It is in this context that eSmart Recycling passionately believes creating an agile, 21st Century international economy is vital for the next generation to achieve their full potential. The eSmart Initiatives™ team embraced this idea from a standing start in 2014 while expanding internationally with tech incubators in Venezuela and Peru. Setting a global benchmark in the crusade to end the cycle of poverty by 2030 remains the deep routed commitment of Tony Selvaggio, today’s E-Revolutionary.