Access the power of technology for free

Students receiving laptops Published September 13, 2023

Students gather their back-to-school essentials as the semester starts and computers are usually a big-ticket item at the top of the list. However, hundreds of students at College of Lake County (CLC) don’t have the financial resources to afford one. Thanks to a generous donation from Meridian Group International, a technology and equipment finance solutions provider, 100 students were able to kick off the semester with a free laptop computer.  

This opportunity means a lot to students like Kendra Anderson, a non-traditional student from Zion with four children. She started taking classes at CLC in fall 2021 to study elementary education and Spanish so she can become a teacher in a dual language classroom.  

Technology is critical to her success. Anderson used to borrow a laptop and Wi-Fi hotspot from the library to attend online classes and do her schoolwork. She picked up her free computer provided by Meridian before the semester started.  

“The world runs on technology,” Anderson said. “There's no more pen and paper, so I need this computer to send emails, communicate, create data sheets, budget and whatever else I could possibly need. With this laptop, I will be able to continue to have this technology available even after I leave CLC. It will help me in my teaching career with my students.” 

This was made possible by Meridian, a global business headquartered in Deerfield, Illinois that in addition to offering equipment financing for a broad range of industries, brings solutions to companies with information technology needs, including leasing laptop equipment.  

Juan Pablo Reyes, Chief Financial Officer at Meridian, agrees that having access to a laptop is a basic necessity in this day and age. Donating laptop devices is one way Meridian gives back to the local community. 

“Technology has the power to transform the course of things for organizations – and for students,” Reyes said. “By giving these students a high-end computer, they can use it to do research and school projects, and be able to do so at home, giving them more time and resources. Meridian unlocks the power of technology and we're hoping we can help unlock the potential of the students as well.”   

Familiar with finding solutions to help narrow the technology and homework gaps for students at CLC, Kurt Peterson, CLC Foundation executive director, has seen students writing papers on their phones, straining their eyes and doing research on tiny screens.  

“Access to technology is an absolutely central component to student success. We know that students who don't have the technology they need to thrive cannot do their best in school,” Peterson said. “Providing a personal laptop gives students the opportunity to get a leg up on their work. Plus, they get to keep it afterward.” 

Meridian and CLC’s tech team went the extra mile, delivering students a laptop with all the right specs. Microsoft Office is already loaded onto it and the device is fully consistent with all the tools they'll need as a CLC student. Additionally, recipients received backpacks to keep their device safe. Students, like Anderson, started their semester strong. 

“I wish people knew how friendly everyone is here at CLC and how amazing of an education opportunity you have at a cost that you can afford,” Anderson said. “There are a lot of schools out there that cost a lot of money because college is expensive. CLC is affordable. It's local. It makes education doable. And for me with four children, it has made my education possible.”