Dorm Amenities Every University Should Offer

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Dorm Amenities Every University Should Offer

Shifting demands for dorm amenities that blossomed during the pandemic are becoming a reality in student housing. Now, residence hall administrators are reviewing the research to differentiate between “nice to haves” and college campus living necessities.

Below are the top university campus improvement ideas for residential facilities and dorm amenities that every institution should offer as well as a glimpse into over-the-top extras that a few college campus housing options offer.

#1 Fast, Free Internet Everywhere

With textbooks, assignments, and syllabi transforming into digital data and experiences, university housing and residential college campus residents expect, if not demand, free, fast internet (their number one requested amenity) throughout campus. Although solid and stable Wi-Fi might be an additional outlay initially, it is offset by the reduced need for cable TV. Thanks to streaming on smartphones and tablets, cable is becoming obsolete in student life, and therefore is no longer an expected amenity in university housing.

#2 Study Spaces

When it comes to residential college and dorm amenities, the emphasis is on practical needs first and then entertaining options. For instance, today’s students are seeking private and group student areas as part of their campus experience. As Jay Pearlman, Senior Vice President with The Scion Group explains: “Whereas properties used to compete with each other over amenities, such as pools, tanning beds, golf simulators…today there is more focus on those that foster academic success.”1

“Students want more study and meeting spaces in common areas, including dedicated spaces for small or large group projects, rooms with technology for virtual interviews, and quiet study areas,” as CoreSpaces President Dan Goldberg clarifies.2 Community is key to making group study spaces work.

Electrical outlets, comfy desk chairs, desks, movable furniture, 24-hour access, and digital desk reservations are essential college campus amenities that should be integrated as part of a campus living floor plan to ensure success with student study rooms or spaces.

#3 Smart Lockers

The average American receives 3.5 packages per week, and college students aren’t exempt from this statistic.3 They are looking for safe and secure methods to retrieve their packages. After all, 44% of Americans have had a package stolen, and 17% (44 million people) have had one stolen in the last three months.

A smart locker system allows for secure, convenient 24/7 access for student package pick-up. Campus residents receive a notification via text or email to retrieve their package by entering a six-digit PIN or scanning a barcode at the locker kiosk. Steel parcel lockers, a built-in photo capture system, plus the smart tech in the electronic lockers make it virtually impossible to steal packages.

Plus, providing on-demand package access using university retail parcel lockers in undergraduate student housing and graduate housing areas can reduce long waits in residence life offices or campus mail service centers.

#4 Fitness Areas

Upgraded gym facilities are a top residence life amenity request among students. Dorm residents want to squeeze in a workout as needed throughout the day. Scheduled exercise classes, weightlifting, and circuit training are a draw for student residents.

#5 Smart Thermostats

Thanks to the domination of Nest in the smart home thermostat market, students are also looking for digital thermostats in their dorm rooms. With the help of a smart app, residents can easily set their temperature, turn it off when at class or off campus, and sync their thermostats with other smart devices such as smart humidifiers and light bulbs. And, as a bonus, they tend to save energy (and energy costs), too.

#6 Laundry Room & Laundry Facilities

Gone are the days when student residents scrambled for quarters. Today’s dorm residents demand digital payment solutions, including student identification as a form of payment, as is the case at Northeastern University. Smart washers and dryers also connect to student phones, alerting them when laundry is complete, thus lowering the odds of laundry sitting in machines for hours. Of course, 24-hour availability is de rigueur in daily life for many a current student.

#7 Outdoor Space

A new project near Clemson University boasts amenities equal to a 5-star country club. Nestled next door to Lake Howell, it includes 12,000 square feet of retail, a 12-slip dock for boaters, a resort-style pool with cabanas, tanning beds, a dog park, a yoga studio, fitness center, tanning beds, and a game room.

While some institutions may not be able to add quite this many amenities to their campus (or in an area nearby), incorporating outdoor areas in the standard dorm room floor plan or creating an outdoor common area for students can go a long way to attract a prospective student or impress returning students.

#8 Amenity Reservations

Similar to office “hoteling,” whereby employees must schedule a desk or conference room when coming to work in the office, dorm residents are looking for the same confidence that when they show up, there’s a guaranteed space waiting for them. Online reservations for private study rooms, quiet workspaces, and gym classes are essential.

#9 Retail Options

Two welcome trends are emerging on college campuses: retail shopping and dining. Although students have typically had a few dining room, student common area, or bookstore options, this new wave of on-campus services offers additional convenience and variety.

For instance, Publix opened its first on-campus store at the University of South Florida. Although the grocery chain had an outlet only 1.5 miles from the university, this one is half the size of a typical store and is situated in the middle of campus housing. Target, the eighth largest retailer, is also adding smaller stores closer to campus to boost sales and cement loyalty. Barnes & Noble, too, has a history of owning many bookstores on or near campus and is refreshing its offerings based on changing trends. Beauty products, athleisure wear, and health and wellness products now surround the typical textbook offerings.

Ready to elevate the student housing experience on your campus? Contact one of our package management experts today to discover how smart lockers can help.


  1. Faris, Mark. The Student Housing Amenities Most In Demand. May 31, 2022.
  2. Day, Nellie. Today’s Development Trends: Living ‘Large’ in Student Housing. September 21, 2022.
  3. Adkins, Matthew. 2023 Package Theft Annual Statistics and Trends. December 12, 2023.