Talking Stick - January/February 2009 - 56

38 continUed Assessing Assignments The Right Tool for the Job Seattle University (Seattle, Washington) Timothy Albert, Assistant Director, Housing and Residence Life University of North Texas (Denton, Texas) Tiffany Roussel, Associate Director of Business Operations and Susquehanna University (Selinsgrove, Pennsylvania) Erica Stephenson, Associate Director of Operations, Residence Life Constant communication has been one of the key points to the Seattle University in-house system. For the last four years, SU has used an inhouse program, soon to be integrated with StarRez. The system generates an e-mail for incoming freshmen every 10 days the summer before they arrive on campus. The e-mail includes tips on college life, including what to bring, what not to bring, and what to use as sustainable furnishings. “That way we don’t overwhelm them with all the information at once.” Each email contains the student’s roommate information, as a reminder. If the roommate is changed mid-summer, the next e-mail includes the name of the new match. “It cuts down on our calls tremendously,” Albert says. “It’s nice and friendly for the students to get an update from us.” Seattle and StarRez are working to smooth the integration of their two systems, and StarRez has created modules to aid in this process. The decision to select StarRez over an in-house system was influenced by time limitations. “When we went through everything we wanted to do with housing … we sat down with our IT department and told them what we want to do,” Albert says. “Our IT department has the expertise to do what we want, but it would take three to five years, with one or two people working full-time.” The housing department wanted a quicker solution. “They told us it would be better to go out and buy something.” The University of North Texas’ inhouse program allows for roommate and room selections, roommate searches, and other operations with an online room-change function in the works. Teamwork continues to be the driving force behind the success of this system. Roussel and Garza, as well as other people from throughout housing, from administrators to students, meet with IT representatives once a week and brainstorm ideas to improve the housing operation. Nothing is beyond consideration during their brainstorming sessions. Once one project ends, a new one begins. “Our application is a homegrown program,” says Roussel. Students use an application likened to a dating service to find roommates. “They can self-select. We found that to be very beneficial. We have a very small percentage of changes,” Roussel says. The students take more responsibility for the relationships they initiated. “Our ‘love matches’ are working very well. People can’t complain; they chose them,” she jokes. Students get a swipe card, which is used for all housing transactions. Check-in via swipe card is a much speedier process. “It has reduced the crazy mass of people in the lobby on opening day. The swipe check-in system reduced the wait from 30 minutes to 30 seconds,” Roussel says. “There were no lines in our lobby this year. We were worried something was wrong.” A mixture of homegrown Internet and business applications has allowed Susquehanna’s housing office to reduce the amount of paper used, as well as cut back on student frustrations. The old re-application process involved a lot of paper and mandatory attendance at a lottery at which the results were announced. Now students register online. As part of the process, students must view a FAQ document before accessing the housing application. “You have to consciously choose to bypass all that information. So when students come to us and say ‘I didn’t know…’ we can say ‘This information was there, and you chose not to read it,’” Stephenson says. Freshmen roommate matches are aided by an online survey. “The software automatically downloads their information into a spreadsheet, and when the deadline comes, we turn off the survey and it takes very little formatting,” Stephenson says. She prefers this to the previous system, which involved cards that were returned with the housing deposit. “We’d end up with this enormous stack of cards, some with illegible handwriting, and we’d have to figure out who didn’t send back the cards, with the sticky notes moms attached with their addendums,” she recalls. tS Emily Glenn is the ACUHO-I corporate librarian. 5 Talking STick

Talking Stick - January/February 2009

Table of Contents for the Digital Edition of Talking Stick - January/February 2009

Talking Stick - January/February 2009
Contents
Online Now
Vision
Just In
Your ACUHO-I
Transitions
Res Life
Facilities
Business
Special Focus
Calendar
Assessing Assignments
On Your Honor
Conversations
First Takes
Reporting Out
Welcome
Snapshot
Talking Stick - January/February 2009 - BB1
Talking Stick - January/February 2009 - BB2
Talking Stick - January/February 2009 - Talking Stick - January/February 2009
Talking Stick - January/February 2009 - Cover2
Talking Stick - January/February 2009 - 1
Talking Stick - January/February 2009 - 2
Talking Stick - January/February 2009 - Contents
Talking Stick - January/February 2009 - Online Now
Talking Stick - January/February 2009 - 5
Talking Stick - January/February 2009 - Vision
Talking Stick - January/February 2009 - 7
Talking Stick - January/February 2009 - Just In
Talking Stick - January/February 2009 - 9
Talking Stick - January/February 2009 - 10
Talking Stick - January/February 2009 - 11
Talking Stick - January/February 2009 - 12
Talking Stick - January/February 2009 - Your ACUHO-I
Talking Stick - January/February 2009 - Transitions
Talking Stick - January/February 2009 - 15
Talking Stick - January/February 2009 - 16
Talking Stick - January/February 2009 - 17
Talking Stick - January/February 2009 - Res Life
Talking Stick - January/February 2009 - 19
Talking Stick - January/February 2009 - 20
Talking Stick - January/February 2009 - Facilities
Talking Stick - January/February 2009 - 22
Talking Stick - January/February 2009 - 23
Talking Stick - January/February 2009 - Business
Talking Stick - January/February 2009 - 25
Talking Stick - January/February 2009 - 26
Talking Stick - January/February 2009 - Special Focus
Talking Stick - January/February 2009 - 28
Talking Stick - January/February 2009 - 29
Talking Stick - January/February 2009 - Calendar
Talking Stick - January/February 2009 - 31
Talking Stick - January/February 2009 - Assessing Assignments
Talking Stick - January/February 2009 - 33
Talking Stick - January/February 2009 - 34
Talking Stick - January/February 2009 - 35
Talking Stick - January/February 2009 - 36
Talking Stick - January/February 2009 - 37
Talking Stick - January/February 2009 - 38
Talking Stick - January/February 2009 - 39
Talking Stick - January/February 2009 - On Your Honor
Talking Stick - January/February 2009 - 41
Talking Stick - January/February 2009 - 42
Talking Stick - January/February 2009 - 43
Talking Stick - January/February 2009 - 44
Talking Stick - January/February 2009 - 45
Talking Stick - January/February 2009 - 46
Talking Stick - January/February 2009 - 47
Talking Stick - January/February 2009 - Conversations
Talking Stick - January/February 2009 - 49
Talking Stick - January/February 2009 - 50
Talking Stick - January/February 2009 - First Takes
Talking Stick - January/February 2009 - Reporting Out
Talking Stick - January/February 2009 - 53
Talking Stick - January/February 2009 - 54
Talking Stick - January/February 2009 - 55
Talking Stick - January/February 2009 - 56
Talking Stick - January/February 2009 - 57
Talking Stick - January/February 2009 - Welcome
Talking Stick - January/February 2009 - 59
Talking Stick - January/February 2009 - 60
Talking Stick - January/February 2009 - Cover3
Talking Stick - January/February 2009 - Cover4
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