Apple partners with Virginia Union University to launch 'smart campus' initiative

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Virginia Union University, a historically Black college/university, on Tuesday announced an initiative that will put Apple products in the hands of incoming freshmen and offer the tech giant's coding curriculum to all students.

Dubbed "Mobile Learning, Mobile Life," the new program equips first-year students with an Apple device package consisting of an iPad Air, Apple Pencil, Smart Keyboard Folio, Apple Watch, and AirPods Pro, the university said. The bundle is designed to prepare graduates for the "digital lifestyle" and workplace they will enter after leaving VUU.

Apple products were selected to give students a "significant leg up in their success."

It appears that Apple is assisting in the program, though its exact role was not divulged in today's announcement.

"At Apple, we believe education is a powerful force for equity and opportunity, and we're excited to work with Virginia Union University to support their new Mobile Learning, Mobile Life initiative," said Susan Prescott, VP of Worldwide Developer Relations and Enterprise & Education Marketing. "We're proud that Apple products will be an integral part of student life for VUU Panthers, and can't wait to see where the future takes them."

The incoming class of 2025 will be able to use iPad Air and Apple Pencil during class sessions. Students can provision their ID into Wallet and use Apple Watch to access facilities, pay for food and more via Core NFC technology. AirPods are expected to help students focus during online classes.

In addition to the hardware bundles, VUU will offer Apple's coding and app development curriculum to all students in an effort to diversify the STEM workforce.

"Creating a Smart Campus at VUU is critical to the academic learning environment of a 21st Century student. Apple has the products, apps, and professional learning support that will allow our students to access books, classes and research materials at their fingertips," said Dr. Hakim J. Lucas, President and CEO of Virginia Union University. "Our collaboration goes much further than technology; Smart Campus will help as we prepare students to enter the workforce, putting them on the path to generational wealth."

Today's announcement arrives days after Apple allotted $5 million of its $100 million Racial Equity and Injustice Initiative fund to four HBCUs. Alabama A&M University, Howard University, Morgan State University, and Prairie View A&M University are set to receive three-year grants designed to boost their respective engineering programs.

Apple regularly partners with educational institutions — especially those focused on underserved communities — to assist with funding and forward computer literacy initiatives.

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