The display television near the student mailboxes in Murray-Herrick Campus Center was built in 1990, making it nearly the same age as students in St. Thomas’ freshman class.
This is one of the reasons this TV and others throughout the building are no longer working.
“The units have failed, and the current replacement units are either not available, very expensive or we have to upgrade the current type of system that we have,” said Nate Shuff, digital video integration coordinator for Information Resources & Technology.
These televisions were primarily used for digital signage, a form of electronic display that shows information, advertising and other campus-related messages.
Shuff said being able to display important updates for security, weather and other daily information is a “huge advantage of digital signage.”
But many of the digital-signage TVs have stopped working.
The television near the mailboxes, along with other TVs outside Scooter’s, on the first floor of Murray-Herrick, in Koch Commons and in the lower level of Koch near the Wellness Center, are all currently “non-functional.” IRT does not know exactly when each TV became defective.
“TVs don’t last forever,” said Rick Hendrickson, event support specialist for IRT.
Senior Dan Fettig, a Brady Hall resident adviser, works in Koch Commons next to one of the broken TVs.
“Last year it showed highlights of what was going on around campus, but now they’re not even turned on, so it’s just like a waste of space,” Fettig said.
If a television is broken or not working properly, IRT assigns a work order that gets routed to the budgets, acquisitions and inventory division, where an attempt to restore the television occurs. If the TV is irreparable or not worth repairing, it is usually recycled.
St. Thomas doesn’t usually sell or donate equipment such as TVs. If someone complains that the equipment isn’t working, “the university usually doesn’t donate equipment or sell it because they don’t want the liability,” Hendrickson said.
Junior Brett Stone said the TVs lack purpose when they are turned off or not working properly.
“I think that they should be either recycled or gotten rid of, or we should use them for a purpose, whether it’s advertising or a slide show, or just being able to show a news update,” Stone said.
The future of digital signage at St. Thomas
Paul Kozak, IRT’s director of budgets, acquisitions and inventory, said the future of digital signage at St. Thomas lies in the hands of committee members managing the budget and design of the Anderson Athletic and Recreation Complex.
“What the athletic building is going to [potentially] give us is the infrastructure for digital signage,” Kozak said.
Kozak said once the priorities for the athletic center are factored into the budget, a committee that meets within academic affairs, student affairs, the business office and athletics will decide if there is enough budgeted money for new digital signage.
The proposed new infrastructure would bring some changes to the digital signage system at St. Thomas. The old TVs displayed the same page content on every television around campus. The new system would allow TVs to display different messages, updates and announcements, making it more flexible than ever.
“In the athletic building, health and human performance could have a set running what they want, athletics could have a set running what they want and student activities could have a set running what they want,” Kozak said. “It gives it more control, and we can’t do that now with the [current] infrastructure.”
Miles Trump can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.