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My Town: Baker College students rescue local animal shelter | Community Spirit

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My Town: Baker College students rescue local animal shelter
My Town: Baker College students rescue local animal shelter


Two Baker College of Muskegon information technology (IT) students spent their holiday break giving back to the community. The lucky recipient, Pound Buddies Animal Shelter & Adoption Center, the largest animal shelter in Muskegon County, is beginning the new-year able to find homes for shelter pets quicker than ever before.

Although the shelter counts eight staff members and dozens of active volunteers as critical to the organization’s success, it didn’t have the necessary resources to fix and upgrade technology at the shelter.

“We never could have done this without the help from Baker College,” said Lana Carson, executive director of Pound Buddies. “The students didn’t just repair and replace equipment, they evaluated our processes and recommended new ways of doing things that we never would have considered before.”

Encouraged by their instructor, Dennis LeBoeuf, and with nearly $4,000 in donated equipment in tow, Baker College students Mike Buitendorp, of New Era, and Michael Johnson, of Muskegon, logged more than 40 hours at the shelter in late December.

Today, Pound Buddies’ antiquated paper-based system is on its way out, and the shelter is rolling out new workstations and a public kiosk to handle adoption applications. Behind the scenes, Carson expects the upgraded network, new workstations and cloud-based management systems to save 60 to 80 man-hours per week that are typically spent processing adoption paperwork and applications.

The shelter received hardware donations from local businesses Prein&Newhof of Grand Rapids, Brooklyn Bagels Café of Muskegon, Shellcast Inc. of Montague and Microsoft Corporation.

“The goal was to provide self-supporting systems,” said LeBoeuf. “Like any other IT project, planning was critical. The students focused on understanding the pain points that Pound Buddies was experiencing. Of course, it didn’t hurt that they were able to play with some furry friends while they worked.”

All Baker College students are required to complete an internship prior to graduation, but this was strictly a volunteer project for the students who were eager to apply their classroom knowledge to a real project.

Michael Johnson is currently a networking lab assistant for Baker College and is enrolled in two associate degree programs: information technology – computer networking technology Cisco and Microsoft options. Mike Buitendorp is enrolled in the associate degree in information technology – computer networking technology Microsoft option and is a member of the Baker College Business Professionals of America team. Both students plan to pursue a bachelor’s of information technology and security at Baker College.

Pound Buddies Animal Shelter & Adoption Center has been operational for 15 years and coordinates adoptions of more than 500 animals each year.

For more information about information technology programs offered at Baker College of Muskegon, contact Kathy Jacobson in the admissions office at kathy.jacobson@baker.edu or 231.777.5200, or visit www.baker.edu.

The largest private college in Michigan, Baker College is a not-for-profit higher education institution accredited by the Higher Learning Commission. It serves more than 28,000 students on multiple campuses and online. Baker grants certificates and associate, bachelor’s, master’s and doctoral degrees in more than 150 programs across diverse academic fields, including business, health sciences, engineering, information technology, education and human services. An impressive 97 percent of available graduates are employed. Every Baker graduate receives Lifetime Employment Assistance—free and forever. Baker is a pioneer in online education and offers students the option of completing a degree 100 percent online, without ever visiting a campus. For information, visit www.baker.edu or follow Baker College on Twitter, @bakercollege, or on Facebook, www.facebook.com/bakercollege.

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