UT-Austin engineering students create charger checkout system at PMA library

Leena Alali, News Reporter

Starting Fall 2022, students will be able to check out cords to charge their electronics from the Physics, Math and Astronomy building’s library as part of an initiative from the Society of First-Year Engineers.

SFE, an organization under the Student Engineering Council that aims to help newcomers on campus, is purchasing cords and partnering with the PMA to catalog chargers at the library.  The charger checkout will allow students to borrow various chargers, including laptop chargers, Apple and Android cords, calculator chargers, and a USB-C hub.

“It’s similar to checking out a book from any UT library,” said SFE member Fu-Yao Yu. “As long as you are either a UT library card holder or you have a UT ID, then you can check out a charger,” Yu said.

Students can check out chargers for 24 hours at a time, and late fees apply similarly to those for a book checked out of any UT library.  

Electrical and computer engineering freshman Yu said he hopes that charger checkouts for students will become a more widespread concept beyond engineering buildings.

The group first came up with the charger checkout initiative because it wanted to create a useful amenity for engineering students, mechanical engineering sophomore Shreya Hegde said. To determine what type of chargers to order, SFE sent out a survey to students asking them what devices they use the most on campus. 

“We made sure to order chargers (that were) at least six feet long just so that it’s easier for people to to move around,” Hegde said. 

Civil engineering senior William Zakka said he would find the initiative more beneficial if charger checkout locations were distributed across various buildings on campus.

“If you gave some chargers to civil (engineering), some chargers to (mechanical engineering), etc, people would have chargers they can check out in the building where they spend (of) all their time,” Zakka said.

The PMA is currently working on tagging and logging the chargers that have been purchased for students to check out, according to Yu.

“I’ve had a lot of friends who ask me, ‘Can you bring a charger for me?’ And I’m like, ‘Oh, sorry, I won’t be there,’ and they have to ask around for a while before they can find one,” Yu said.  “I think this will help a lot of people in that regard.”