Investing in Stronger Tools that Support the Infrastructure of Student Development

Learn how Berea College revolutionized their student experience and created a baseline of trust with a smart software partner.
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Key Highlights

Revolutionizing Student Experiences

How software can transform the overall experience of our community.

From Inaccuracy to Precision

Improving the data management process.

Forecasting for Success

Using the right tools to prepare and plan for the future.

Building Trust with Technology

Understanding how to integrate tools into the community to build trust and understanding.

Berea College
Southeast, USA
Higher Education
Active Since

Berea College is a private liberal arts work college in Berea, Kentucky. Berea College offers a high-quality education to academically promising students with limited economic resources. It awards every student a Tuition Promise Scholarship so that no Berea student ever pays tuition. Founded in 1855, Berea is the first interracial and coeducational college in the South and consistently ranks among the nation’s leading liberal arts colleges. With an undergraduate population of 1,468 full-time students, about 92% of those students live on campus. The Berea experience nurtures intellectual, physical, aesthetic, emotional, and spiritual potentials and with those the power to make meaningful commitments and translate them into action.

The Need to Support Growth

In today's competitive academic landscape, educational Institutions are continually looking to enhance the student experience by utilizing smart and reliable technology solutions to handle important operational needs. By leveraging a reliable and powerful solution, a housing team can establish trust and communication with their community, increase revenue, and maintain sustainable growth for the institution.

To serve their 1,700on-campus residents, Berea College needed enhanced technology that would support their team’s daily housing operations. The software solutions in use by the Housing team presented challenges in many operational areas – like damage billing, emergency responsiveness, and departmental forecasting. The Housing team found that the system’s capabilities were driving their processes, instead of the other way around – creating a challenge to sustain growth created by using the software to enhance the previously mentioned operational areas. Additionally, the system created mistrust and an unreliable perception of the housing department from the resident’s point of view because of inconsistencies in damage charges and communication.

After holistically reviewing their current software solution, the team discovered significant inconsistencies with damage and lockout charges – the process was time consuming for staff and students were being significantly under billed. Area Coordinators in Housing also faced significant challenges in many areas, but most notably with emergency response management. Their current procedure was taking too long to coordinate temporary assignments, process check-in/check-out procedures, and communicate with students, staff, and admin regarding the situation.

An Accurate and Reliable Step Forward

To increase Housing’s reliability and trust within the community, the Berea team decided it was time to explore a better suited tool to manage their housing functions. The team selected StarRez as their go-forward platform because of the native capabilities that solved challenge sand provided room for growth. StarRez offered a reliable, strong, and accurate way to address staff and student needs.

“We were in a tough position with our old housing software where it did not address our needs or empower our team to work efficiently.  Moving to StarRez opened possibilities to really clean up our performance in handling basic tasks that would keep our community running efficiently for years to come. We are now better suited to provide fast, reliable, and accurate experiences to our students, with the opportunity to grow and expand our community for years to come!”

Matthew Vetter, Associate Dean of Student Life

The Housing team identified major pain points in a vast majority of housing functions that would need to be addressed in the implementation project. They created a roadmap of target goals that would help address immediate needs, while also focusing on longer term areas of improvement that could be addressed over time. The priority of this implementation exercise was to focus on the key functions that would enhance the immediate operation flow, while also future proofing the success and growth of the residential program at the College.

“The StarRez team was helpful and accessible throughout the entire implementation process. We loved having actual humans to reach out to when we needed them most – before and after our implementation. I’ve worked with several campus software companies, and the StarRez support we receive is by far the best I’ve experienced.”

Matthew Vetter, Associate Dean of Student Life

Building Community Standards for the Future

After their implementation, Berea College immediately began to work on addressing their concerns with the StarRez product. Housing first tackled issues with inconsistent billing that inaccurately charged their residents, causing a mistrust and confusion within the community. The team was able to automate billing processes that tied directly to key housing events. The system was intuitive enough to charge and communicate to students when keys were not returned, or damages were recorded. This held students to a higher level of accountability and set expectations for necessary situational charges. With a seamless integration into Banner, Housing was also able to intercept any inaccurate billing instances before the student would even see it.

The Housing team also focused on improving efficiency for Area Coordinators executing emergency response tasks. The StarRez Mobile App now allows the Housing team to address issues relating to Room Management while in the field. The Housing team has configured StarRez to handle check-in/check-out during high-tense situations by; tracking accurate occupancy records, assigning Room Condition Inspections to spaces, updating associated reports, and doing this all from a mobile device.

“StarRez theoretically would have saved us approximately 78 emails from Student Life to Public Safety regarding quarantine student’s access levels alone.”

Matthew Vetter, Associate Dean of Student Life

Overall, the move to an enhanced housing platform has allowed Berea College to set community standards, future-proof housing operations, and build upon the blocks that support student development.

To learn more about how you can drive success for your students and staff with smart tools, visit our website.