Reinventing the Campus Experience as Students Return to College This Fall
Back-to-school season is upon us and many colleges and universities are determining how to reopen their campuses for partial or full in-person learning. As students and staff begin to return to campus, higher education institutions should consider investing in smart technology solutions, like smart package lockers, that can enable a safer campus life experience.
Here are a few ways that universities can use smart locker technology to help reinvent their campus life experience this fall:
New Safety Standards for Student Housing
In light of COVID-19 and social distancing guidelines, many colleges and universities will likely make adjustments to their student housing arrangements. For example, some schools may only offer single-occupancy rooms instead of double or triple occupancy, and community bathrooms may be closed or transformed to better adhere to social distancing guidelines.
The fact of the matter is that colleges and universities need to find creative ways to reduce contact and interaction between students in campus housing environments, especially in communal spaces. One way they can do so is by offering smart package lockers as part of student housing.
Parcel Pending by Quadient’s university lockers provide an easy, secure, and contact-free way for students to retrieve their personal online orders and packages. The step-by-step package delivery process is simple:
- Student packages arrive via courier at a central receiving area on-campus.
- Mail operations staff sort and code the packages for smart lockers according to their final on-campus destination.
- Staff deliver the packages to the appropriate locations on-campus and place them into a secure storage locker.
- Students are notified by text and/or email about the delivery status and are provided with a unique code to use when retrieving the package(s) privately and safely at any time.
- At their convenience, the student arrives at the locker, enters their unique access code, accesses the locker, and retrieves their package.
Reinventing the Traditional Move-in Day
Traditionally, move-in day involves thousands of college students arriving on campus on the same day to move-in their personal belongings. With parents and friends providing assistance and seeing them off, move-in day is typically a high-density experience. However, in light of changing social distancing guidelines, many colleges and universities will likely implement staggered move-in days to help reduce risk of exposure.
Colleges and universities can utilize smart lockers as a tool to help minimize contact on move-in day. For example, schools can distribute important move-in materials and supplies like dorm room keys, school ID cards, check-in paperwork, and more to students via secure, contact-free smart lockers. This provides a tech-forward, safe, secure, and, most importantly, contact-free way for students to get what they need to have a smooth and successful move-in day. These electronic lockers can also be used for Orientation Day and other key dates where there is more foot traffic on campus.
What’s more, package lockers can be easily customized to fit the university’s look, branding, and aesthetics. Everything from the school mascot to the school logo can be featured on the lockers to bring a special look and feel to the package pick-up experience, whether they’re in the residence hall or at another convenient location on campus.
It’s All About Contact-Free
Online shopping has increased in light of COVID-19 and so has the demand for contact-free package pick-up. In fact, 87% of consumers want a contact-free option when it comes to retrieving their packages and online orders.
Smart lockers provide seamless package management for campus mail services staff and a contact-free way for students to obtain deliveries at their convenience. With Parcel Pending by Quadient smart lockers, students can use their mobile device to open their corresponding locker door thereby avoiding any contact with keypads, touchscreens or package locker doors.
Package locker solutions can also help higher education institutions adhere to state and local health guidelines by reducing contact with delivery drivers and couriers, thereby encouraging the safety of students and campus mail services staff. Instead of the numerous face-to-face interactions between delivery drivers and mail services staff, and then mail services staff and students, students are instead able to retrieve their packages from a self-service solution at any time of the day.
Self-service lockers can be made available 24/7, which helps eliminate the need for students to congregate in lines and encourage social-distancing in communal spaces. Campus mail services staff can then discourage drop-in traffic, asking students to make an appointment for any in-person questions or assistance.
But smart lockers can manage more than just packages. In fact, many colleges and universities utilize smart lockers to deliver student mail; distribute personal belongings or electronics (like a laptop or tablet); distribute library books or textbooks, and so much more! This helps to minimize face-to-face interactions and keep students and faculty safe.
Key Benefits for Higher Education Institutions
Smart lockers aren’t just beneficial to students. They can also benefit universities and colleges in a number of ways.
For starters, smart lockers eliminate the chaos of on-campus mail delivery and package management by assuming all of the customer service responsibilities for mail and parcel delivery, notification, and retrieval. In fact, up to 80% of online orders and packages, including grocery, medicine, and more, can be delivered directly to parcel lockers, freeing up campus mail staff to focus on other tasks. In fact, Parcel Pending by Quadient university locker solutions can reduce the labor resources demanded by package management by as much as a third.
With package lockers, university mail services no longer need to worry about crowded mail services lines or students rushing to collect their packages before the mail services center closes. Electronic lockers make it quick, easy, and convenient for students to retrieve their packages at their convenience, simplifying the package delivery process for university staff, students, and couriers alike.
And because students are able to pick-up their packages any time of the day without having to tie up mail services staff, campus mail operations will also experience fewer inquiries and complaints from students trying to locate their lost or stolen packages.
Smart Lockers Reduce Package Theft
Smart lockers also reduce liability for stolen packages and missed deliveries. All deliveries and customer pick-ups are monitored, tracked, and verified by Parcel Pending by Quadient’s built-in cameras and infrared scanners to guarantee the safety and security of each package. That means that delivery attempts are also monitored and verified. With cloud-based, web video surveillance also available, higher education institutions can ensure that packages reach their intended recipient every time.
Students and staff will no longer need to worry about tracking when a package will be delivered and planning a well-timed trip to the mail services center. Instead, they can rest assured knowing that their packages and online orders will remain safe and secure in the locker until they are ready to be retrieved.
Smart lockers are an important addition to a university’s student housing experience. They not only help streamline campus mailroom functions and save valuable staff time but also provide a seamless, contact-free package management experience for students and staff. As students look to return to school this fall, colleges and universities should consider investing in electronic lockers to help reinvent and improve the residence life experience.
Don’t let budget or resource concerns be the reason not to invest in a safe return to campus. Parcel Pending by Quadient is offering new flexible commitment options and payment plans that, along with the CARES Act, can help you provide safe, secure, contact-free package deliveries for your students and staff. Let our university package lockers take care of your packages so you can take care of your students and staff.