Survive to Thrive: Creating a Connected Campus Through COVID and Beyond
Keeping pace with technological advancement is often discussed in terms of life or death: evolve or go extinct, sink or swim, keep up or be left behind. While these comparisons have previously been limited to metaphor, recent years have shown that the stakes truly are that high, both for institutions and the people they serve. COVID-19 has been a hard teacher, but the lessons learned are vital ones that will define the way we move forward into the future.
In 2020, universities everywhere were asking, “How can we react to this?”
In 2021, the question became, “How can we get our students through this?”
As we approach 2022, industry leaders and changemakers have begun to ask, “How can we learn from this? How can we use what we’ve learned to our advantage?”
One thing has become clear: technology integration is key, not only to surviving the pandemic, but to creating the kind of vision and differentiation that will propel colleges and universities into the future. Institutions around the country are currently using CBORD products to create technology-rich campuses that protect students and staff and enhance the student experience.
CBORD technology has enabled colleges and universities to make everyday processes safer and more efficient across all departments.
Dining? Meals can be ordered and picked up or delivered completely contact-free. Students can reserve space in once-crowded dining venues. Off-campus vendors can deliver meals through Grubhub using student ID funds. Dining halls can go mobile, using food trucks as flexible, outdoor food distribution sites that still utilize student meal plans. Student IDs can be added to smartphones and smartwatches, eliminating the passing of physical cards between students and cashiers. Kiosks can optimize your labor force and reduce congestion by increasing points of sale and enabling self-checkout. Aside from that, we’re good to go!
Residence halls? Room selection and check-in for dorms can be accomplished entirely from a mobile device, streamlining otherwise lengthy processes. Dorms can be quickly provisioned for use as quarantine locations. Medical personnel in need of quarantine sites can be given instant access to repurposed facilities.
Access control? Student and staff check-ins can be used for contact tracing, allowing anyone exposed to a confirmed COVID case to be notified, tested, and quarantined, if needed. Mobile credentials eliminate manual card-scanning, preventing overcrowding at high traffic locations with quicker line throughput.
Other tech integrations include remote card issuance, allowing students to submit a photo for their ID card from their mobile device and pick up the physical card at one of multiple remote locations. During COVID, this has helped prevent long lines at often crowded ID centers, allowing for proper social distancing. Post-pandemic, when the stakes are considerably lower, remote card issuance will simply be a time-saving convenience that reduces frustration and enhances the campus experience.
Currently, the stakes for technological innovation and integration are higher than ever. There will come a day when the risks have lessened and it’s safe to return to a less vigilant state of being. However, there will be no return to the world we left behind almost two years ago. The world has changed, indelibly, as has the public perception. Long lines in crowded venues are no longer simply inconvenient, they are dangerous. Contactless delivery isn’t a luxury, it’s a safety precaution for all involved. The colleges and universities that will move seamlessly into the future are the ones that are making changes now, implementing new technologies, and seeing the present moment for what it is: an opportunity to learn from this global crisis and take proactive steps toward creating a connected, technology-rich, and future-proof campus.