Students will be able to use a University e-mail system with extra storage space at more places around campus by September.
The University plans to add several more wireless hot spots around the Foggy Bottom campus and release a revamped e-mail system within the next several months, said Ron Bonig, vice president and chief information officer of Information Systems Services.
"We are currently reviewing the offerings of the two major vendors of outsourced student email services," Bonig said. "If the negotiations are successfully completed, we anticipate moving student e-mail services to a vendor who will allow GW's e-mail services to continue to be GW-branded but who will also allocate dramatically larger storage allocations and offer students free ancillary services."
Student Association President Nicole Capp, who has been meeting with ISS officials since the fall, made an improved e-mail system a top priority of the SA this semester. Currently, the Colonial Mail system has only 20 megabytes of storage space while Google's GMail, a free commercial e-mail provider, has more than 6,000 megabytes of available space.
"I'm very pleased with the progress that's already been made and I'm impressed by the timeline of future upgrades," said Capp, a junior.
Bonig said the University is also in the process of adding about 3,000 wireless access points throughout the Foggy Bottom campus.
"This level of saturation means wireless should be available virtually everywhere on the Foggy Bottom campus including the residence halls," Bonig said. "This will take about two-and-a-half years, with more than 1000 (wireless access points) targeted for this calendar year."
Capp said expanded wireless and improved e-mail will be a great asset to GW's active student body.
"Students at GW are busier than most," said Capp. "The changes will allow them to accomplish more in more places."
Throughout the past several years, GW has steadily improved wireless connectivity at its Foggy Bottom, Mount Vernon and Virginia campuses.
Last semester, the Mount Vernon campus went wireless and common rooms in 16 residence halls got wireless Internet in spring 2007.
Bonig said the University already has more wireless access points this semester at the Virginia Campus in Loudon County, Va., and in some academic buildings in Foggy Bottom, including Monroe Hall.
"I am very satisfied with the progress and am curious to see the final product," said SA Sen. Elliot Bell-Krasner (CCAS-U). "I am excited to see what will happen to wireless."
The University has made other technology improvements on campus in addition to changes in e-mail and wireless connectivity.
GW is also in the process of improving weak cell phone reception on campus for several cell phone providers within a year, Bonig said.
"Verizon placed an antenna on Funger Hall which dramatically improved their reception on campus," he said. "We are also working with a third party vendor that distributes small cells around campus to collect calls and route them to the proper vendor."
SA Sen. Julie Bindelglass (CCAS-U) said all of the planned technology improvements will be a great benefit for students.
"Technology is such a huge part of our lives on a daily basis," said Bindelglass, a freshman. "They are making it more effective and easier for us."