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Industry insight on residence hall service expectations

University Business, February 2018

What are some ways that you’ve seen student services within residence halls grow to meet student needs and expectations?

“Letter-centric mailrooms are not prepared to handle the packages and the expectation of doorstep-service associated with e-commerce. Students want low-touch retail, and administrators want to offer streamlined, cost-effective and safe services.

“Modern mail processes can automatically route packages to in-residence drop sites where recipients live, so students don’t have to venture out to the post office or depend on their schedule matching a mail clerk’s. Intelligent lockers can be accessed 24/7 with a secure code—without students ever leaving the safety and comfort of the residence hall.”

—Renaud Rodrigue, partner executive, Ricoh USA, Inc.


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“Over the 40 years CBORD has provided integrated technology solutions to colleges, we have seen an accelerated demand for expansion of student services. Today’s tech-savvy, connected students are accustomed to a high level of convenience, mobility and self-service.

Residents are now able to select dorm rooms, roommates and meal plans online before arriving on campus and enjoy a streamlined automated check-in process that grants immediate access to the appropriate buildings and rooms.

Residents can not only pay to do their laundry using campus card accounts, they can also receive text alerts when the washer and dryer have finished. They can receive notifications about the day’s dining hall menus, place an order for delivery or pickup and receive notifications about the status of their order.

Online student self-service tools are available for residents to request maintenance, complete room condition reports, and more.”

—Jim Hoefflin, president, CBORD

“Tech-savvy Generation Z students grew up in the digital age interacting with smart devices, computers, videos, games, social media, internet and more. On average, today’s student brings five to seven devices to campus. More students are engaging in blended learning and taking online courses, increasing network demand during the day.

Internet of Things apps and tools have created more burden on residential networks. In addition, 9-to-5 support desks don’t work for students. Administrators need to proactively plan for the many ways students can apply technology for academic and personal success, and to plan financing strategies that bolster technological and institutional excellence.

A select group of universities are creating connected campuses with high bandwidth that not only support current demands but are also making plans to support innovative applications like virtual and augmented reality, and artificial intelligence.”

—Rajiv Shenoy, CTO, Apogee

“Timing has become crucial and can make or break a student’s year; specifically, the flurry of activity during student move-in and move-out.  As online shopping becomes the go-to for daily essentials, proximity of parcel management to residence hall is also important.  

Online shopping isn’t going away—67 percent of millennials prefer to shop online, according to the January 2017 issue of Business Insider—so administrators need to plan ahead for parcel needs that will continue to expand.

Additionally, with the expectation of immediate satisfaction, students expect these services to be seamless with little room for error and extended pickup hours."

—Aimee DiCicco, senior vice president, sales, FedEx Office

“In the laundry room, we've experienced a trend toward technology that matches what students have grown up with. One trend has definitely been going cashless with app-based payment systems. Similarly, students want technology to help streamline the laundry chore. So we are seeing systems that enable them to check machine availability without ever leaving their room, as well as receive text message updates on if cycles are nearing completion.”

—Craig Madson, national sales manager, Speed Queen multi-housing


Jodi Helmer, a frequent contributor to UB, is a North Carolina-based writer.