Loyola University Maryland like Enoch Pratt libraries, churches and many other community institutions is expanding its outdoor Wi-Fi during the pandemic with a $54,852 grant from the Marion I. and Henry J. Knott Foundation.
The grant will allow Loyola to create 24 outdoor Wi-Fi access points at its North Baltimore campus for students, and anyone else in the area to use in a visitor capacity.
“We are eager to augment learning beyond our walls and foster the opportunity for active personal engagement and collaboration,” said Randall Saba, Loyola’s chief information officer.
University officials said the Wi-Fi will help provide connectivity for classes to move outside, as well as for students to work in more places. Public safety officers will also tap into the network when they are in the field.
The university expects the local residents to possibly benefit from the expansion. At the very least, community organizations like the Govans Farmers Market, which is hosted by Loyola weekly on Wednesdays during the summer months at 5104 York Road, will have increased access to outdoor Wi-Fi via the grant.
The Wi-Fi expansion is an interesting example of how the pandemic has made access to internet in a variety of areas more of a priority. It’s not enough to just have a computer lab or tech center. Organizations have to make sure they’re thinking about how people have access to resources beyond their buldings.
Donte Kirby is a 2020-2022 corps member for Report for America, an initiative of The Groundtruth Project that pairs young journalists with local newsrooms. This position is supported by the Robert W. Deutsch Foundation.