The bookstore on the UTRGV-Brownsville campus began selling Apple products on Tuesday as an Apple Authorized Campus Store offering educational discounts to students, faculty and staff.
Bookstores on both University of Texas Rio Grande Valley campuses have been designated as Apple Authorized Campus Stores and held ribbon-cutting ceremonies to celebrate that fact on Tuesday.
The designation is significant because it means UTRGV students, faculty, staff and alumni at both the Brownsville and Edinburg campuses and their legacy institutions, including Texas Southmost College, qualify for an educational discount on Apple products for sale at each store.
Both bookstores held one-day in-store sales on the newest models of Macs, iPads and Apple watches. Each opened a Vaquero Tech Center featuring tables with demonstration devices, racks with tech accessories and sitting areas for workshops and for sampling technology.
“We hope to make these two stores technology hubs for the Rio Grande Valley,” said Art Brownlow, a music professor at UTRGV-Brownsville, an early Apple innovator and now faculty fellow for academic innovation. He said the effort to bring an Apple campus store to Brownsville started before UTRGV and TSC split into separate institutions. Students from both schools attended Tuesday’s grand opening and ribbon-cutting.
Many tried out the newest versions of Apple products on the display tables including iPads and MacBook Air and MacBook Pro laptop computers.
Jahaziel Cavazos, a sophomore mechanical engineering student, said he is definitely interested in a MacBook Pro laptop. A flyer on one of the display tables quoted discount pricing on a 13-inch model starting at $1,104 to $1,748. The flyer listed a15-inch MacBook Pro at $2,392 compared to regular retail of $2,599.
Still, Cavazos regarded such a computer when loaded with the proper software as a good investment compared to his current HP laptop, which he said is slow and has battery problems.
The Vaquero Tech Center will also sell other non-Apple products like Dell, Surface Pros, Chromebooks and HP devices and accessories.
Brownlow said the mission of the Vaquero Tech Center includes three overall objectives: retail, education and outreach. He envisions Saturday workshops, tech play days and coding workshops and bringing in middle and high school students and teachers to participate.
Store manager Joanna Garza said the tech center went live on Monday and there has been considerable student interest.
The educational discount amounts to 8% and is available to students, faculty and staff at UTRGV and TSC, as well as alumni of its legacy institutions UT-Brownsville and TSC, officials said.