Wellesley Initiative for Sustainable Computing (WISC)

The Wellesley Initiative for Sustainable Computing (WISC) is a Library & Technology Services program that refurbishes and repurposes computing equipment that has been retired at the College. Wellesley retires significant numbers of 3- to 5-year old computers which, although no longer useful to the College, could be used by students, non-profit organizations, community centers, and smaller educational institutions.

The WISC program was conceived in 2013 by College Government, LTS, Jay Turner ES, and Wes Watters ASTRO, in an application to the Class of 1957 Green Fund to further develop policies for refurbishing retired computers for continued use by students and non-profit organizations. This project was started with the hopes that such a program would forge new connections between students and non-profit organizations, advance environmental sustainability, and position Wellesley as a model for sustainable computing in higher education. WISC has since been incorporated into LTS’s operations, providing computing equipment to Wellesley students, Boston Area community centers, and educational institutions in Nepal, Uganda, and Ethiopia. The current version of WISC continues the mission of prior initiatives to make the best use of recycled computers.

Computers and accessories donated through the WISC program are cleaned and refurbished by student workers who restore all computers to their original operating systems or install Linux Ubuntu, a free operating system, onto the computers.

To apply for computing equipment through the Wellesley Initiative for Sustainable Computing, please click here.

If you have questions about requesting WISC computers, you can contact the WISC program at wisc@wellesley.edu. Please allow a few days for a response. 


Am I elgible to get a WISC computer?
If you fall into one of the categories below, you are eligible for a WISC computer:
  • Students interested in Linux & GNU (a free operating system)
  • Non-profit organizations
  • Community centers (eg. libraries)
  • Educational institutions

You may also be eligible for a WISC computer if you have a uniquely compelling reason for applying for a computer.

What conditions are the WISC computers in?

Computers are usually 3-5 years old. The hardware may have minor cosmetic defects that do not affect the computer’s function. All WISC computers are put through hardware and software diagnostics, including hard drive and memory tests.

What operating systems do they come with?


Student workers will replace the original operating systems on the computers.  For PCs, versions of Windows 7 and Windows Vista are available. The latest version of Linux Ubuntu, a free operating system, can be provided on request. For Macintosh computers, Mac OS X 10.6.8 Snow Leopard and Mac OS X 10.9.3 Mavericks can be provided.



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