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Information Technology

Do I need a personal computer at Lewis & Clark?

Computers are not a mandatory purchase for Lewis & Clark College students, though you will be required to use a computer to complete some class assignments. While there are public computers available on campus, many students appreciate the convenience of having a personal computer, as well as the ability to customize their computer for their own needs. Lewis & Clark participates in educational pricing programs through Apple and Dell.

What computing facilities are available on campus?

There are more than 100 Macintosh and Windows computers in the public computer labs. In addition, many departments have discipline-specific labs for teaching and student projects. All residence hall rooms include Internet access for residents, as do the study areas in Watzek Library.

What computer can I buy that will last me for four years?

Below are recommendations for systems that we believe will meet the needs of a typical computer user and adequately support current versions of our recommended software suite (Microsoft Office, email, web browsers, etc.), for the next four years.
• At least 4GB of RAM is recommended for Windows 8 and Mac OS X Mountain Lion
• At least a 250GB hard drive. We strongly recommend upgrading to 320GB or larger if you plan to store audio or video files on your computer. If you plan to store most of your files in the cloud, we recommend a 125GB Solid State Drive, as they are faster and more durable.
• 802.11n or 802.11ad wireless.
• An Intel core i5 processor or better (i.e. i5 or i7).
• Windows 7 Home or Professional Edition or higher; Mac OS X.8 (Mountain Lion) operating system for Mac.

Should I get a laptop or a desktop?

Students tell us that they find a laptop computer very useful. Laptops are portable and flexible in small spaces, such as a residence hall room, but are more vulnerable to theft (we suggest also purchasing a computer lock) and cost more than a comparable desktop. Desktops are more powerful and expandable, but do not offer portability and use a larger amount of desk space.

Should I get a Mac or a PC?

We recommend that you buy what you know. Both platforms are supported on campus, and most students will work with both platforms during their time at Lewis & Clark. Your new computer should be a tool to assist you. Buying what you know will alleviate the anxiety of having to learn a new system. 

Still not sure? Here’s an article that doesn’t devolve into rampant fan speculation. 

What software do I need?

We support Microsoft Office 2010 or higher (Windows) or Microsoft Office 2011 or higher (Macintosh). If you prefer to use another word processor and plan to print in the public computing labs, we may be unable to support you. The College requires an up-to-date anti-virus program. Currently enrolled students can download Symantec Endpoint Protection for free from the Information Technology website. If you do not install approved anti-virus software, you will not be able to connect to the campus network. A complete list of supported software is available; this is software that IT staff can offer expert assistance or training in.

We strongly recommend that you bring your system/software restore disks and the disks for any software that you have installed on your computer so that we may assist you in case a system re-installation is required.

How do I access the Internet at Lewis & Clark?

In order to connect to the Internet on campus, your OS (Operating System) must have all current security patches and updates installed, and your computer must be running up-to-date and supported anti-virus software. Once on campus you will be required to authenticate your computer in order to access the campus network.
For more information, call the Information Technology Service Desk (503.768.7225) or go to the getting connected page.

What about wireless?

WiFi Internet access is available in all buildings on campus.

Will I be able to connect through my media or gaming console?

Network access is available on campus for your TiVo, media server, or gaming console. You can request connectivity using this form.

Will I need my own printer?

Laser printers are available in the public computing labs. Each student receives 650 free sheets of laser printing per year. After that, each sheet costs 6 cents. These additional sheets may be purchased online or in the Student & Departmental Account Services office. For more information about printing in the lab, visit the lab printing page. Many students, however, prefer the convenience of having their own printer. Since space is limited in the residence halls, we recommend a low-cost inkjet printer. Please make sure you can directly connect to the printer via a cable - personal wireless printers are not supported on our network.

Can I get help using my computer? What support options are available?

Email with your non-emergency computing questions, or call 503.738.7225 to reach the IT Service Desk. The IT Service Desk, located on the first floor of Watzek Library, provides support for all forms of computer problems.

Who can I contact if I have questions?

Students and parents can contact Information Technology with questions about computer purchasing. Send an email to or call 503.768.7253. For general computing questions, please contact the IT Service Desk at 503.768.7225