Client Spothlight: Temple University
Thanks to Sean Killion, Assistant Director for Assignments & Billing and Temple University Housing and Residential Life, for being our very first interviewee!
How did you get involved working in higher education, and specifically, Temple Housing?
I went to Philadelphia University for business. I spent 6 years in advertising and marketing then went back to school for long-term career opportunities. I earned my MBA while working in Business Services in the Housing Department at LaSalle University. It was during this time that I switched from the business world to the higher education world. In March 2007, I left LaSalle for Temple University.
What unique things have you done in the past 5 years at Temple?
Residential Management Systems (RMS)
At Temple we had a homegrown system but in past three years, we moved from our IBM Mainframe, implemented an ERP system called Banner, and now use Residential Management Systems. Using the RMS StudentWeb Self-Assign, we can give students more flexibility in choices and inform them about the resources available to them earlier.
Three or four years ago we were looking to satisfy our need to inform students about resources and technology for roommate selection. We have been with RoomSync for two years now thanks to their RMS partnership.
Housing on Demand
At Temple University, we’ve created “Housing-On-Demand,” a homegrown internal web application that gives students a user-friendly format to more easily communicate with the Residential Life Department. It consists of about 20 different apps including those specially tailored for students staying over breaks or moving onto campus early.
What does Temple University's Housing and Residential Life's social media presence look like now?
We use RoomSync to ease roommate selection and we have a Facebook fan page. We are mainly a resource for students to provide information about their interests on the fan page, however, in the coming fall semester we are planning to engage more people by running our Annual Room-Decorating Contest through Facebook.
How did you hear about RoomSync?
We were using RMS but were looking for more roommate-matching solutions. RMS recommended RoomSync because you specialize in this area. In addition, your application is integrated into Facebook so students didn’t need to go through a whole new system just for housing.
What have you found to be the most efficient and effective way to inform students about RoomSync and get them to use the application?
We combine promotional mix strategies to get the word out about RoomSync and the entire housing selection process. We issue publications to provide concise information to students and communicate electronically through links on our Facebook fan page and emails. Specifically at Temple, we have direct marketing opportunities like our open house program where students signing up on campus receive tutorials on our systems.
Would you say there is a time commitment?
From my understanding, the set-up process was very easy with sharing interfaces and it basically manages itself. RoomSync makes my job a lot easier because the students have been given that opportunity to feel good about whom they are matched up with.
Before RoomSync, did you experience a lot of Facebook related calls from students/parents about their roommate assignements?
Yes, we saw The Facebook Effect*!
After the implementation of RoomSync, did you see a change in the number of Facebook-related calls?
RoomSync definitely drastically reduced the amount of calls and complaints. With RoomSync, we provide more information for our students to make them more informed consumers. It also helps to deflect complaint problems. If a student chooses not to use the resource, they should be ok with getting a random roommate.
What percentages of your students currently use or have used RoomSync within the past year?
We only upload our system with people who have made the commitment to live on campus with their housing deposit to target eligible potential roommates. Temple had 806 freshmen users this past year with a total of 25,183 visits (Approximately 31 visits per user to the application).
What shifts have you seen in time spent on and frequency of roommate conflict, room changes, and complaints, etc.?
Roommate conflicts due to random matching at Temple have definitely decreased with the increased use of RoomSync as an information tool.
On a different note, what is your favorite movie?
I love so many, but if you're going to make me narrow them down, you should at least say favorite per genre! Star Wars, The New Hope”
What is your favorite musical artist?
Again, so many on my iPod. But I'll go with the Beatles and Eric Clapton.
*The Facebook Effect: Receiving a number of calls from randomly matched roommates dissatisfied after looking at their future Roommate’s Facebook profile