Jeffrey Pierre/Assistant News Director
Students and staff looking to pinch a few pennies on the hunt for computers and software won’t have to travel far.
FIU Panther TECH, whose doors officially opened Jan. 6, is an authorized retailer for Apple, Lenovo, Dell and HP products and students, faculty and staff can purchase computers and tablets at discounted rates.
The store takes the place of GameStop in the Graham Center, which closed last semester.
Robert Grillo, vice president and chief information officer, began the project when he saw a need for a computer store.
With the launch of FIU Panther TECH, the University joins a Miami-Dade County-wide initiative headed by Public Schools Superintendent Alberto Carvalho — who was also present at the ceremony — to bring interactive technology to every classroom.
“You and your team are raising the bar,” said President Mark B. Rosenberg in his address at the store’s Jan. 26 ribbon cutting. “What that means for us is as your students come to FIU, we have to raise the bar.”
“There’s no more important an area than the digital economy for us to both reach for the stars,” Rosenberg said. “If we don’t then our students and staff won’t have the connectivity and quality they need to ensure excellence.”
Along with discounted computers, tablets and Adobe Creative Suite products, shoppers can find free Microsoft Office and McAfee Antivirus.
FIU Panther TECH says its staff prides itself in offering shoppers first-rate customer service, repairs and upgrades, custom computer orders and online shopping found at panthertech.fiu.edu.
Store manager Jose Lopez-Varela said that the store is here to provide students and staff with “a great resource conveniently on campus.”
“There isn’t a person who goes to FIU who is not dependent on technology. I’m thrilled to have a state-of-the-art tech center right in the middle of campus that is accessible with a reasonable cost. I’m extremely happy.”
-President Mark B. Rosenberg
Stephen Gonzalez, a political science major, said the store is a step in the right direction.
“I’m looking forward to the TECH center and I like the fact that they are giving discounts to students,” said Gonzalez. “As a part of this new age of technology, we’re going to need computers.”
“Hopefully they can put together payment that will out do stores like Best Buy or the Apple store,” said Corey Fairfield, recreation and sports management major. “Financial aid is really getting cut down lately and we need something that is affordable.”
Payment plans are currently only being offered to faculty and staff, but this is in the works for students as well.
Rosenberg expressed his excitement and optimism about university’s newest store.
“There isn’t a person who goes to FIU who is not dependent on technology,” Rosenberg said. “I’m thrilled to have a state-of-the-art tech center right in the middle of campus that is accessible with a reasonable cost. I’m extremely happy.”
Photo by Jeffrey Pierre.