Colgate University Improves the Housing Experience with Residence

Residence makes it easy for students and residential life staff to communicate by keeping all housing tasks in one place. Day-to-day tasks and processes like room selection, managing assignments, selection windows, room condition reports, and inventory are made simple. We spoke to Office Manager of Residential Life at Colgate University Ashley Weaver about how Residence allows her office to efficiently collect the right data and streamline the housing process.

Collecting the right data

One of Colgate’s main goals in using Residence is to help them easily gather and track valuable student data students and share it quickly and efficiently with other campus partners. They’ve had particular success with special interim applications, which allow the staff to create additional applications that are not necessarily tied to generating a housing assignment. Some common examples would be for room change requests, early move-in or break-stay applications that a student could obtain by request.

Why it works

We asked Ashley how special interim applications have helped Colgate Res Life meet their operational and housing experience goals.

“From an operations standpoint, much of what we do is data collection. For example, whenever we are opening or closing our residence halls, we can make an application available to all students to apply to arrive early and move-in before our residence halls officially open, or they can apply to remain in their residence halls after they have closed for the term,” Ashley explained. “We then take these applications and run reports that include the student profile information, contact information, room assignment, as well as their reason for being on-campus. That report is then generated as a Google doc which is shared with campus partners, such as Campus Safety and the Dean’s Office, so they are aware of who is on campus and why in case of emergency or behavioral issues. Before we created this system of data collection, the information was collected via phone calls and emails from our students.”

On tailoring applications:

“With applications already helping their housing operation collect data, Colgate then took their creative use to another level, implementing the use of Residence Applications in Student Staff Selection processes. “Easy organization and reporting of student data in Residence allows us to tailor applications specifically to each group, so not to confuse students, but additionally, we could make answers required because they were actually applicable to that specific group of applicants,” said Ashley. “After applications are submitted, we can use the reporting engine to pull in GPA and automatically eliminate anyone who is not eligible. Once we have made our staff selections, we create our contract via an application.”

On special housing accommodation:

“Students who believe they qualify for a Special Housing Accommodation (housing that can’t be met through regular room selection) have the ability to apply for the accommodation ahead of room selection. Any student who is interested in applying for Interest Community or Themed Housing, can also apply via an application ahead of room selection. By doing so, it gives our housing staff the ability to determine the appropriate housing assignments for these students before our general housing lottery. If they are approved for an Interest Community or Accommodation, then they will not be eligible for general room selection. We can also use applications for prospective seniors who are interested in applying for off-campus housing. We pull the information from their applications to create roommate groups and run a SympleSelect process. Again, by creating an application, we are able to generate a report and disqualify anyone who is not eligible for off-campus housing based on their academic standing.”

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