By purchasing the required laptops, they became the first class to participate in the first computer initiative of its kind at a public university: the Carolina Computing Initiative.
The brainchild of the late Chancellor Michael Hooker, the CCI aims to have students, faculty and staff own appropriate technology and know how to use that technology effectively.
And after the initiative's freshman year, the program has received mostly passing grades.
"It makes computing a much more natural part of a student's life," said Todd Taylor, faculty coordinator for wireless sections in Greenlaw Hall. "Before, a lot of computing needs could only be done in specific places."
CCI officials said they are pleased with the first year, although they cautioned that the program will not be fully effective for another three years. At that time, all undergraduates will be outfitted with their own laptops.
"It is hard to gauge because only so many faculty members can use (wireless technology) because not all students own laptops," said Lori Casile, director for UNC special projects, echoing a familiar response to complaints from students.
And while there have been minor glitches to deal with, such as broken computers and server problems, Casile said they were expected and remedied.
"It's something new," Taylor said. "We're all a little awkward with it. Everyone I've encountered has a very flexible attitude."
Casile said the CCI's goals for its first year included pooling student and faculty computer buying power, standardizing equipment used on campus to provide high-level support services and, most importantly, getting a computer into every freshman's hands.