Re-purposing a Student Tech Service Group?
I would offer full virtual servers running FOSS (GNU/Linux, *BSD). Push the creativity and responsibility to students side. Let _them_ do whatever they want to do, whatever they can possibly come up with. Clouds, services, etc. Limit them via fair policy. In this way, environment is created by them where they can create better social services, search engines, fiddle with applications running on multiple servers at once, etc. For example XEN can be used or some commercial virtualization offer.