That’s a wrap! Highlights from the 2021 Global Connect Conference
Where do we even begin. Digital Global Connect is our annual event to bring the StarRez community together to Learn. Connect. Prepare. Adapt.
Whilst the event was virtual again this year, it certainly did not detract from the interaction, enthusiasm, and fun we had with over 1000 attendees throughout the conference. We have all our community to thank for that. We had three jam packed days and took away some new key insights and learnings from the sessions.
Top 5 Insights
1. Communication is [still] key
161 attended our session on the importance of communication. We had a total of 27 respondents for our survey, all of which responded they would “highly recommend” this session to a colleague.
So what did we learn?
Corey Overstreet, Assistant Director of Residence Life at Virginia Wesleyan University, walked us through the benefits of using our new email solution to strengthen their communications strategy across their campus.
“This email wizard is created for people who have no background in graphic design. It streamlines email marketing processes and being able to drag and drop the image has been wonderful.”
Greg Whitmore, Senior Associate Director at the University of Chicago, also had some commentary to add to this:
“The new email wizard has students actually reading and responding to us. Game changing!”
The College of New Jersey also discussed our new chat feature which allows real time, one to one chat between staff and residents across the portal. The results? A significant drop in the number of calls received on the main line, allowing more time for staff to focus on providing thriving residential communities.
2. How to PIVOT and get ready for move-in
Ideas, Ideas, Ideas
Andy Russell, Assistant Director for the University of West Georgia (UWG), shared his before COVID planning regimes and the “new norm” experiences for their university in present day.
“What we learned from our experiences is that fast and efficient is not always the best way for our students.”
Before the pandemic, UWG's goal was always to provide a fast, efficient experience to all students. The learning from the emergency move-out is that while attempting social distancing, they also observed how peaceful the lower traffic volume became. The new normal for UWG is a slow paced, individual service. By keeping overall traffic on campus down, UWG is able to provide a more personalized and far less stressful move-in experience for their residents.
Joshua Maxwell, Associate Director for Bowling Green State University, fully utilized the Appointments solution, highlighting below some key insights from his session:
- Transitioned from prescribing move-in times to utilizing the Appointments solutions
- Centralized move-in over five days
- First-years signed up for move-in time as part of housing selection
- Returners signed up for move-in times a week later
- Early arrival times signed up using SQL to provide bespoke move-in times per group.
3. Data drives everything
It’s no surprise this key theme came out during the conference. From the resident rosters shared with hall staff to the weekly occupancy reports sent to a VP, secure yet accessible data is a key factor in the success of a housing operation.
Dashboards, reports, online rosters, real-time visibility, creativity in your reporting techniques and advanced reporting have helped our community navigate the challenges that the pandemic has presented.
Head to our Reporting and Analytics page to hear more about how our community use our wide range of reporting solutions.
4. Necessity drives innovation
In a year when every day was a new challenge, the StarRez community continued to put student support at the heart of their mission. Many were left asking, “why didn’t we do this before?”
Watch our on-demand webinar on this topic which discusses how operations have changed based on the events of 2020. Key themes include finding creative ways to support students and keep campuses safe, managing student housing applications and contracts and supporting students with technology.
5. Fresh takes on housing best practices
Gender Inclusive Housing, ESAs, and Resident Guests are not new ideas, but they continually evolve. Several sessions highlighted the latest trends and best practices for managing all of these within StarRez. If you are current StarRez user, please find these great sessions now available on demand in StarCare online.
A big thank you to all our customers, hosts, and guest speakers for helping the StarRez team deliver such a successful event. When we hear from our long-standing community members, like New York University, it’s moments like these that make us even more thrilled to continue delivering valuable events for our global community.