Room phones officially deemed obsolete

Megan Welch

Many students have been seen staring confused at the new phones in the hallways of the dorms around campus.

What they may now realize from UNIT representative Tom Demarco’s campus-wide e-mail is that these phones are a part of the recent removal of the on-campus phone service from Villanova.

Long distance offering was already stopped two years ago.

Stephen Fugale, chief information officer of the University’s technical services, said that the decision to make the change has come after five years of closely following the campus trends in phone usage.

In a telecommunications survey from February 2006, only 6.69 percent of the 942 students questioned used their phones for off-campus calls, and only 24.84 percent used their phones for on-campus calls.

Fugale pointed out that in 2007, the numbers related to landline usage are even smaller.

Although the room phone connections are not costing the University any extra money, the 15-year-old system is simply no longer necessary.

The low numbers of usage shown in the survey indicate that the bulk of the students own cell phones.

In light of this, Villanova established a partnership with Cingular Wireless Corporation in August 2003.

They have several cell towers on campus, providing the greatest amount of service, and provide a discount to Villanova students and alumni upon request.

As each successive freshman class arrives, students are more acclimated to cell phones. Most have stopped bringing an extra phone altogether because they know it will not be used.

“As long as there is some sort of landline around, just in case, all I need is my cell phone,” said Laura Valentine, a freshman business student.

“[The] purpose for that is we know virtually every student has a cell phone, but we still want to make available a central phone that students can use for emergency purposes,” Fugale said.

Maggie McDonnell, a sophomore marketing major, said, “It’s nice to have a cell phone on you at all times, but it is realistic to make sure that if your cell phone dies, you have another option.”

These phones can be used for both on-campus calls and for long-distance phoning, with the use of a calling card.