CBORD Community Success Story: University of Vermont, Housing Services
Located on the shores of Lake Champlain between the Adirondack and Green Mountain ranges, Burlington, VT has been consistently ranked among America’s best college towns. That would make the residence halls at the University of Vermont (UVM) among the country’s best places to live.
At UVM, students and staff alike are encouraged to “think big and inspire others to do the same.” This was the vision guiding their decision to employ CBORD® access and housing management systems in UVM’s residence halls. The relationship between CBORD and UVM is long, and our organizations have worked well together providing a robust and reliable solution to the university’s access needs, while improving the residential student experience.
We recently spoke with JoAnne Moore, Assistant Director for Housing Services, about her role at the university, the benefits CBORD systems bring to her organization, and measuring success.
Describe your role at UVM.
I am the Assistant Director for Housing Services in the Department of Residential Life. We currently house over 5,500 students in our residence halls and will be expanding that capacity in the near future with a new residence hall going online this August. My role is to provide leadership for all housing processes including billing, contracts, room selection, first-year students, break housing, damage assessment, and appeals.
In addition, I assist in planning and implementation of major housing initiatives, and as a member of the leadership team I provide assistance in the development of department policies and procedures. I am responsible for the housing management software, ResCenter®, including interfacing with other University systems on campus. I also supervise the staff and the functionality of the Robinson Hall service desk.
What is the scope of the CBORD presence at the university?
We currently have 41 residence halls open and one new 695 bed building that will open for 2017–2018 occupancy. We have two fitness centers under residential life housing, along with a university fitness center which is not operated under residential life. There are 14 locations for UVM dining, with 23 meal plans and 20 stored value credit (SVC) plans offered. Incorporated into this are approximately 600 doors with CBORD readers. We also have approximately 238 cameras. CBORD products make our fitness centers, dining facilities, and residential halls operate smoothly and help keep our residents safe.
“Swiping your CatCard into your first-year residence hall and making your way into your room is one of the defining moments of a student’s entire college experience. The first taste of living in a residence hall can be bitter or sweet, but it’s ultimately one of the first opportunities for a student to live as an individual.” The Vermont Cynic, 11/09/16
Can you give an example of an obstacle or challenge you had, and how CBORD systems helped overcome that obstacle or meet that challenge?
One of our struggles for years in residential life was our damage assessment process. Originally this process was all paper-based, initiated by the student at the beginning of the academic year by filling out their room condition report form. At the end of the year we would send our maintenance staff out and attempt to assess the damage in the buildings and rooms. With no ability to have previous history stored on the rooms assessed, we were incapable of billing students with 100% accuracy that the damage was due to their occupancy.
However, now that we are online with ResCenter, this process has brought us closer to an accurate assessment of rooms. The process now starts with the maintenance staff assessment in August. The students assess their own rooms on opening day, and maintenance staff close the loop in May for end-of-year assessments. We are now able to see what was previously assessed on a room, and with that history can assess any damage accurately for the residents.
How are you able to measure the results or determine the scope of success?
Processing this assessment online through ResCenter has resulted in fewer students and parents appealing their damage bill assessed to them. This is a clear indication of success, and will improve as the product continues to be enhanced and we compile a more thorough history on the buildings and rooms.
What other benefits do CBORD systems bring to your organization?
CBORD products helped us bring our entire room selection process online. Previously this was a manual paper process. Now the students simply go online and choose the room they desire for the upcoming year. Also, by linking to CS Gold® we are able to allow students easy access to halls that they are permitted to be in, along with controlling break housing periods when students are not allowed in the halls without approval.
How would you describe the overall impact that CBORD systems has had at the University of Vermont?
CBORD systems have helped us automate many of our processes in housing. We are confident in the continued enhancement of the product line, which will allow us to improve our processes further and offer an even greater level of service to students.
"I have always said, if you can think it, you can do it with CS Gold®. We have pushed the boundaries of what a traditional campus card program can do over the last 20 years." Mark McKenna, Director, CATcard Service Center, UVM