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Adapting to Demand: 5 Things College Students Want

What do college students want? Sometimes understanding what goes on in the hearts and heads of students today can be tough. How does a TikTok work? And what in the world is a fidget spinner? Luckily, some things are the same for students across every college campus in the country.

Here are five things that every college student wants from their university:

  1. Healthy Meals at Dining Halls
  2. More Streaming Services
  3. Collaborative Study Spaces
  4. Better Mail Delivery
  5. More Technology

When colleges and universities invest more in what their students need and want on campus, institutional performance shoots up. Read on to find out why these five picks are the most important yet. 

#1 Dining Hall Food: Make it Healthier, Make it Tastier

From an outside perspective, college kids seem more than satisfied with an infinite supply of cold waffles and cereal to fuel them throughout the day. The more, the merrier, right? Wrong. College students are increasingly conscientious of healthy food choices—and the lack thereof at university dining halls. 

Whether it’s the “Freshman 15” or the fact that the scrambled eggs look like giant yellow sponges, college students are not happy with their dining hall options. Not to mention, they are really paying for it. On average, students are charged about $18.75 per day for dining hall access, over an eight month academic year. That’s far more than the national average of $11 per day, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics.

That means that undergraduates are paying 70% more per day when they eat on campus than if they were cooking at home. This price hike is worsened by the fact that college dining halls offer far fewer healthy choices than they do burgers, pizza, and soda. And, by the way, infused water is not enough. Here are some ideas to turn dining halls from overpriced fast-food joints into healthy havens of deliciousness:

  • Vegan and vegetarian options can be included in the menu to promote schools’ health and inclusivity.
  • Salad bars with a large array of greens, toppings, and light dressings are a great addition.
  • Dining halls can serve a diverse set of in-season fruits alongside tasty desserts.
  • Colorful vegetables should keep the fries and mac-n-cheese company.

#2 Offer More Free Streaming Services

When students aren’t pushing themselves through mind-bending assignments or coffee-fueled all-nighters, they are winding down with their buddies to consume some streamable entertainment. Whether it’s watching a popular TV-show on Netflix or listening to music on Spotify while skateboarding to class, when Gen Z goes to college they love their streaming services. 

And many would argue that they need them.

That’s why, to increase student happiness, the conscientious four-year college will invest in student housing amenities that provide free access to some of the most popular streaming services of today, like:

  • Spotify Premium
  • Netflix
  • Hulu
  • Apple Music
  • Disney+

Although many of these services offer reduced prices for college students, they may still be inaccessible for students on a budget. For that reason, universities that invest in streaming services for their students will be greatly appreciated.

#3 Make Room for More Study Spaces

Whether they are tossing ideas back and forth for an anthropology project or working through tough physics problems, college students are demanding more study spaces from their universities—be they individual, collaborative, or creative. As college enrollment increases each year, study spaces are in higher demand than they have ever been before.

With the digital revolution changing how students consume books and resources, an increasing number of colleges are ditching books for large collaboration spaces. Because most books are available online on databases or digital library collections, the need for physical copies has decreased. Reinvented library spaces are trends in college student housing that help their study life. 

Here are some ideas to revamp former book stacks into the vibrant study spaces students are asking for:

  • Large Windows – Let the natural light in! With students growing increasingly concerned with wellness on college campuses, bright study environments with calming atmospheres are ideal.
  • Big Project Tables – Whether they are skimming through ten books for a dissertation or spreading out their entire notebook into one table, students need space and lots of it.
  • Individual and Group Rooms – Rooms separated from the rest of the space foster smaller group collaboration or can be used as quiet individual spaces for those who need to focus. 
  • Whiteboards – Sometimes, the best way to work through an idea is by visualizing it on a whiteboard. Students will appreciate portable whiteboards that they can roll around to their study area or whiteboard walls that they can scribble all over. Either way, whiteboards are valuable study tools that are often overlooked by universities. 
  • Free Printing – Nothing hurts more than a student’s printer breaking right before that big essay is due. Some students can’t afford printers, least alone the ink that seems to always dry up seconds before they need to print. That’s why free printing is a must-have for any study space.
  • 3D Printers and Laser Cutters – For design or engineering schools, these two tools are good for providing students with an enriching and productive creative experience. 3D printers are amazing for prototyping large ideas, while laser cutters add a clean finish to any design project. 
  • Nap Pods – Studies show a short nap in the mid-afternoon can boost memory, improve mental performance, lift your mood, make you more alert, and ease stress.. Invest in some cozy nap pods so students can recharge on a busy day, especially if they didn’t get a good night’s sleep!

#4 Better (Smarter) Mail Delivery

Busy college students already face the overwhelming pressure of completing homework assignments, working a part-time job, attempting to socialize, and—for some—cooking their own food for the first time (hello, ramen!). With all of that on their to-do lists, no wonder students have no time to go shopping. When they attempt to get items delivered, however, they have to deal with the added burden of standing in line at the campus mail services center.

For students, picking up packages feels like yet another homework assignment. Each college student receives approximately 31 packages per year, resulting in a mind-boggling influx of packages to campus mailrooms across the country every day. This results in overcrowded mail services centers with long wait times, limited pick-up hours, and too few staff workers to manage it all. 

That’s why the future of on-campus mail delivery is in the advent of Intelligent Parcel Locker Systems, which are the ideal solution to today’s university mail and package management challenge.

Here are some reasons why:

  • Campus mail services can secure deliveries without fear of packages being lost or stolen
  • Students can pick up their items at any time of the day without bothering staff
  • Students change their dorm, and therefore addresses (almost every year), so intelligent parcel locker systems mean that students don’t have to keep changing their mailing address
  • Bonus: Lockers for colleges can be customized to match school colors, settings, and mascots!

By eliminating long lines, overcrowding, and understaffing altogether, Intelligent Parcel Locker Systems expedite the mailroom package process, making the student college experience that much easier.

#5 More Technology… Everywhere!

With the world growing more and more virtual, universities must embrace the rise of technology on campus or be left behind by their competition (other universities). To provide young adults a pathway to success in the modern world, colleges and universities have to integrate technology across campus, even in the places that they least expect.

Here are some of the ways technology makes student life better:

  • Outlets (Everywhere, seriously) – Not enough can be said for the importance of outlet ubiquity on college campuses. Nowadays, everything is plugged-in, and students are looking for a place to charge their devices, whether they’re hanging out or hunkering down on some calculus. Students will never study where they can’t charge a laptop, so if a college invests in new study spaces, they had better come with outlets.
  • Internet – Although this one may seem obvious, colleges seem to struggle in the bandwidth department. Widespread internet connectivity is by no means a passing desire for students. For most, if not all of them, it is essential to their higher education experience. Most students cannot complete or turn in assignments without it.
  • Intelligent Delivery – Students are busy as busy can be. They do not want to be wasting time waiting to collect packages from bustling campus mail services centers or re-ordering packages that were stolen from the shuffle. That’s why Intelligent Parcel Locker Systems are ideal for student internet package issues and for times when they need to work and nap (especially napping).
  • Keyless Building Access – Today’s world is a smart one, so college buildings should be smart, too. Keyless doors with smart card-reading technology are ideal for students that don’t want to juggle fifteen keys everywhere they go. Student IDs can be programmed for specific building access, and safety is ensured without limiting student involvement. 

Enhance The Experience, Empower The Student

As tuition increases and the job market becomes more daunting, students expect more and more from their colleges and universities. To increase student satisfaction, thereby increasing enrollment and improving recognition, universities benefit from providing students with the services, systems, and technology that they want and need to make their educational experience worthwhile.