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Brandeis University's Community Newspaper — Waltham, Mass.

Usdan cell service to improve

Published: February 13, 2009
Section: Front Page

<i>PHOTO By Max Shay/The Hoot</i>

PHOTO By Max Shay/The Hoot

A signal amplifier will be installed in lower Usdan over February break in order to increase cell phone service in the dining hall.

The amplifier, which should work for all cell phone providers, was the idea of former North Quad Senator and current Union Director of Community Advocacy Andy Hogan ’11.

The amplifier consists of an external antenna that would be placed outside Usdan to strengthen the signal.

“If there’s reception outside, there should be reception inside once this is installed,” Hogan said.

Cell phone service has been a problem in lower Usdan for just about as long as Vice President for Campus Operations Mark Collins can remember. The problem is partially due to the building’s construction.

“It’s a pretty thick building, there’s lots of brick,” he explained.

“We’ve tried a lot of things, but it’s a difficult problem to solve,” he said. “We’ve had cell phone providers in over the years and they can’t seem to fix it.”

After learning that the service providers could not help, Hogan said that he searched online for other ways to increase cell phone service and “stumbled” across the signal amplifier online.

Collins said that he hopes that the signal amplifier will solve the problem, saying “I hope it works. For the price, it’s worth a shot. Also, there’s a pretty good return policy just in case.”

The cost of the amplifier, about $500 for the device plus the $2,500 labor fee, will be taken out of the Facilities budget.

Other universities, like Princeton and Stanford, have used signal amplifiers to improve cell phone service, however, Hogan said that he is unaware of whether or not they used the same company that Brandeis will be using.Hogan, who has been the main Union force behind the initiative, said that he came up with the idea while campaigning for his position in the fall.

“It was part of my platform to do it,” Hogan said “I wanted to follow through with my campaign promise.”

Hogan hopes that the fulfillment of his campaign promise will inspire others on campus who want to change the university.

“I hope it will encourage people who want to change Brandeis to run,” he said, “it’s also a message to senators that if you run on something, you should get it done. We can improve the school if we want to.”