5. November 2012 13:18
We're excited to head to Denver tomorrow to particpate in the second annual Startup Alley at this year's EDUCAUSE, the largest IT conference for higher education.
While we were lucky enough to be invited to the first one, which took place in Philly last year, we can't wait to meet all the other great startups, vendors, and speakers that will be joining us this week.
If you'll be around, definitely stop by our table in Startup Alley to say hi and snag some RoomSync swag!
31. August 2012 11:12
The RoomSync Nerdz have been working hard and building new features to enhance the user experience. Now students are notified inside Facebook in the 'Apps' section as soon as they are requested or accepted by a roommate in RoomSync. Previously, users were only alerted via email. This immediate notification allows users to get information about RoomSync in a way they are familiar with and also helps them respond to requests and confirmations more quickly, which ideally will help increase match rate.
According to a recent TechCrunch article, "good (mobile app) push notifications drive 67% of app usage the first month after download, 74% of usage two months after download, and 81% of usage three months after download." RoomSync Mobile has notifications similar to the Facebook app, which the RoomSync team believes "are those that are highly relevant to the user and focused on meeting [student] needs. "
11. May 2012 09:13
The RoomSync Nerdz have been hard at work on a new version of the RoomSync Android app which is now available. This new version is expected to fix the occasional crashes occurring in the app and also includes speed improvements for a faster and more seamless matching experience.
We have received a great response from Android users since the launch of our Android app, and we're excited for them to dive into our newly improved version. RoomSync's iPhone app is currently under production and will be launching soon.
Do you have a cool feature idea, either for our mobile app or the original Facebook app? We want to hear from you! Visit our new RoomSync User Support forum to submit your ideas and search our FAQ's.
If you have any questions or feedback, feel free to email us at email@example.com or tweet @roomsync.
22. March 2012 06:50
NASPA is an organization for student affairs administrators in higher education. In an effort to innovative ideas and practices in education, NASPA runs initiatives and holds events to bring together higher ed vendors, school representatives, and special guests. Last week, RoomSync was lucky enough to make our debut in the world of student affairs by exhibiting at NASPA’s 2012 annual conference. There we also encountered something special and rare.
A Surprise Keynote. Lucky for us, Grammy Award winning vocalist, John Legend was the keynote for the opening reception. Attendees may have been confused as to the connection between the performer and the theme of the conference, but it turns out that Mr. Legend, along with his passion for music, is a giant advocate for education. He founded The Show Me Campaign, a nonprofit organization that fights poverty using proven solutions, with the hope that diminishing poverty will lead to higher high school graduation rates and college attendance for the next generation.
In fact, Legend is so committed to eradicating poverty and bringing education to every child that he created the Show Me Fellowship Program, which awards young people who are dedicated in improving the world. The program provides $3000 stipends for college students who take unpaid internships in the areas of international development and US education. Note to students, teachers, and parents - the program is currently accepting application for the 2012 Fellowship.
The Cycle of Education. I was truly moved by John Legend’s key note. While he performed a few songs for us (and mesmerized the crowd), I was even more intrigued by his convincing discussion on the effect of poverty on education, his enlightening perspective and worldliness, and his ability to open us up to true realities we face as a nation:
“U.S. high school graduation rates have fallen from #1 to #18 in the world. One third of American children don’t graduate from high school. Just 15% of our schools – the ones we call “drop out factories” – are responsible for 50% of the drop out students and those schools are more likely to have a majority of students who are African American or Latino” (ShowMeCampaign, 2012)
The Full Circle. Here at RoomSync, we are a higher education company; however I think we, along with other higher education companies, often don’t remember the connection with and potential impact we have on post-secondary education. We have to work harder and broaden our awareness, so that more students graduate from high school and make it to college. Then, we can all play a role in helping those students become successful in life.
20. January 2012 06:29
Once a month, we feature one of our fantastic clients to learn more about them and how they use RoomSync. Our thanks go out to Amy Jorgensen, Marketing Coordinator at University of Florida, for sitting down with us for this UF spotlight.
Amy Jorgensen, Marketing Coordinator at University of Florida
Tell us about your journey to and experience within Higher Education
I was highly encouraged to start a career in higher education by my grandfather. He was the Director of the University of Connecticut Stamford campus and taught at UMASS Amherst. My aunt also teaches at the University of Hartford, so I guess you can say I was destined to start a higher ed career.
I spent about 10 years in the hospitality industry, working for companies like Disney, Universal Studios, and KSL Recreation. I had recently returned from working at Universal Studios Japan when I decided to return to college. I was offered a position as a secretary at UF, and knew that I had to live in the Gator Nation.
Coming to UF is the best decision I have ever made. The Department of Housing and Residence Education is one of the best work environments I’ve ever encountered. After the secretarial position, I worked in the UF College of Medicine and even took a brief position at Disney in Internal Communications and Marketing, before the Department of Housing called me back for my dream job and I very happily found myself back in Gainesville
My experience with the University of Florida has been incredibly rewarding. The Department of Housing and Residence Education supported my efforts to finish my degree. In addition, I work with one of the best teams in the country and am very lucky to have such a great boss. Our Associate Director, TJ Logan, is one of the best bosses I've ever had - very supportive and motivating. I definitely recommend working at the University of Florida, especially the Division of Student Affairs.
So now you are Marketing Coordinator at UF Housing & Residence Education, what is UF's social media presence, what is your strategy?
We had around 1400 Facebook fans when I started, and now we’ve grown to just little under 5400. While this is important, I think it’s important to also measure success through consumer engagement factors: page views, interactions, comments, and posts. All the fans in the world don't matter if they're not engaged, interested, and ready to share your information.
Some of Facebook.com/UFHousing 2011 highlights include 182 comments in one day, almost 6000 weekly active users, and nearly 390,000 Facebook page views in only one month. That many page views was very exciting! In comparison, our website had about 800,000 page views in a whole year - so to obtain almost half that in one month was very exciting! For more strategy, you can check out the presentation on social media I did at the ACHUO-I Business Conference.
I believe that RoomSync can be a significant component of enriching our consumer engagement. It is also a tremendous customer service tool, and a fantastic amenity that any higher education housing facility should consider!
What were the biggest challenges in roommate assignment for UF housing before RoomSync?
We think it's very important for students to choose their roommate. This way, students can have a more positive experience because they feel empowered.
UF is one of the select few universities that allows its students to choose their room and roommate during the assignments process. Early applicants can hold a space for a roommate that they find through social media, RoomSync or someone they knew from high school. Building students into the process and allowing them to to have choices can greatly increase customer satisfaction.
According to TJ Logan, staff noticed a reduction in roommate conflicts and in problems related to room transfers. Students hold themselves more accountable when they choose their own roommates and they learn how to compromise.
So what would you say is the most effective way of getting the word out to students so they are excited and use RoomSync?
I think the best way is through social media. Many students don't pay attention to emails anymore. For the younger generation, it’s all about texts and social media. Begin with email and include all the information; then send a reminder email a week or month later.
Tell us about the growth of the RoomSync network.
The growth at the University of Florida has been quite positive! Our first year had about 1300 users and the second year grew to 3300 users. We have about 7500 undergrads living in campus housing, so it’s pretty great when half are using RoomSync. About 80% of users are first-year students and even for those who didn't find their roommate, RoomSync provides a great opportunity to build community before students are even on campus.
Now for some fun questions. What is your favorite movie?
Splash, 1984. Tom Hanks, Daryl Hannah, Eugene Levy, John Candy. How could you not love this movie?!
Who is your favorite musician?
Pre-1990 Michael Jackson. Off the Wall always gets me going! I’m also a big fan of Journey, Aerosmith, and other classic rock.