Well, you can get Google Talk or Skype, it's voice over IP and if you're on the university's broadband connection, you're good to go
Then yeah, SASE stationnery is a good way to simplify his life.
Or you could always have a photoblog. A basic digi cam isn't very expensive now. Also an idea, if you want to use your computer is to set up a time for you and your SO and chat via webcam.