By Staff Writer Tighe Ratcliffe.
Are you an art student? Chances are that if you’re in one of Umass Dartmouth’s art programs, you’ve become familiar with using some kind of Mac computer. Most, if not all classes in the Arts department expect students to have Mac computers to use the software that they need for class.
But here’s the issue: Macs are expensive, many ranging upwards of $1,000. For a freshman, or any college student, $1,000+ is a lot of money that they probably don’t have lying around. So, the question is this: is it time for UMass D to become more inclusive with the software that its art programs use? Or is it necessary to “bite” the proverbial bullet and use the professional software because it will help the students in the long run?
The Torch asked our very own Johnny Perreira, a Senior year Graphic Design major, about his views on the matter:
The Torch: Based on the amount of Art Classes you’ve been in, what are the percentages of students using Mac software compared to others for their projects?
- J.Perreira:“I’d say most projects in my CVPA program are done on a Mac. The programs are not necessarily Mac-exclusive, but because the only lab computers in CVPA are macs, projects are saved as Mac files so transferring to any other kind of computer would be difficult.”
The Torch: Before coming to UMass Dartmouth, did you have another kind of computer besides a Mac? If so, how did it feel to switch to Mac because art classes require the use of one?
- Perreira:“I did not have a Mac, I had a Windows desktop. It was very difficult to get projects done, especially considering that in many classes that aren’t even labs, they expect you to take out your Mac laptop and work. So I had to go through a bunch of hoops so the university could give me $2000, which I used to buy an overpriced Mac laptop that could meet the requirements of all my classes.”
The Torch: Do you feel that CVPA should use more inclusive software so students don’t have to spend ridiculous amounts of money on Macs? Or do you think that students are better off buying these expensive Macs in the long run because they’re what professionals in the trade use?
- Perreira: “This question is tough. I have my own personal opinions on Apple’s business model, which I do not think is congruent with the modern student’s budget. Ultimately, the expectations of students by CVPA administration and professors is honestly kind of classist, and when I was in an awful spotfinancially, I was not helped. I can’t imagine what many other students must go through as I lucked out with the university giving me the money to purchase the Mac laptop.”
Many people in the professional business world praise Mac software for being the cutting edge when it comes to professions like graphic design. But these professionals also have the resources and money to buy these Macs and the expensive software that goes along with them.
Now, as a university that strives to get students ready for the real world, it makes sense that UMass Dartmouth professors would want their students to use the same software that they would be using in the real world. Not only does it make their (students) credentials look better, but it also makes themselves and UMass Dartmouth look more desirable for future students looking to go into these professions.
As J. Perreira mentioned, there are ways that the school can help you pay for these Mac computers, but there are many hoops to jump through. This information also might not be readily available for students who don’t know that they can get the school to help them pay for a laptop. So, a majority of our art students on campus have likely spent $1000+ out of pocket to get the computers that they need for class, without ever realizing that the university can provide them with resources to get these Mac’s for cheaper.
Maybe the real issue that we need to tackle is this: the school and faculty should work on making these resources not only easier to go through, but also actively inform students that these resources are there for them to use. This would not only solve the issue of making sure students have the proper software to use, but it would also vastly help students who cannot afford the software they need to succeed in classes and the working world.
If Umass Dartmouth is so passionate about having its students be prepared to be successful in the real world, they should really start to think about telling its students about the resources that are available for to them to succeed.