Whether your goal is to establish a good first impression with prospective students, create a welcoming environment for visitors, or retain the good students you have, the campus experience matters.
In working with higher education, we have identified a handful of recurring problem areas that time and again prove to impact the experience for visitors and students alike. Here are 3 common sore spots:
Long waits? Inefficient queues? Service delays? Waiting in long lines can detract from the campus experience by tying up students, staff, and visitors. Numerous factors can affect the flow of students and visitors. Consider the Bookstore. Long lag times between service encounters is likely to happen when throughput is inefficient, perhaps due to a cashier having to loudly yell across the room to attract the attention of the next person in line. To serve more students faster, call-forward queuing systems can help keep foot traffic moving with the help of digital signage and station lights that alert the next in line to an available service point.
To improve the flow of traffic, make it easy for people to move in right the direction with queue management and crowd control solutions. Stanchions and barriers, for instance, can help guide students and visitors to the appropriate service point. Banner signs or digital signage can also convey important messages to customers. To keep the line moving, electronic call forwarding can allow service agents to immediately hail the next in line – reducing lag time between services and increasing throughput to allow for a smooth flow of traffic.
The campus lawn, stadium, and outdoor communal areas are often what make a campus so unique. Yet, they also pose challenges to keeping crowds safe and well-managed. A large, outdoor crowd can be considerably more challenging to control than an indoor collection of people. And, when working with such large crowds, such as at a stadium, complications can escalate quickly – such as an uncontrolled group rushing out onto the stadium after the winning touchdown.
To keep outdoor areas under wraps, there’s need for both proactive and reactive crowd control solutions. There will be instances where it is easier to predict when crowds are likely form, such as at the end of game or during an outdoor music festival, but chances are there will also be times when it’s necessary to respond to unexpected situations.
Preparation is key for controlling outdoor crowds. Helpful solutions include post & panel barriers, which provide a solid physical barrier and enable access control and JetTrac portable safety barriers which create an instant barrier across a large area, such as a football field or quad.
University grounds should feel like an inviting campus, not like a maze. However, designing a campus that is easy to navigate is no small feat. There’s innate complexity in a campus built to accommodate thousands, if not tens of thousands, of people at any given time. While challenging to pull off, wayfinding plays a critical role in satisfaction. Signage to improve library wayfinding, for instance, was cited as the top student demand in student satisfaction surveys.
Wayfinding solutions are helpful for preventing crowd build up, but also effective at making a more enjoyable campus experience by eliminating student and visitor confusion. Signage is effective for guiding students, staff, and visitors around campus. Directrac signage stands, for instance, feature a two-sided viewing area making it ideal for high-traffic areas. Meanwhile, stanchion signage can be placed directly in a queue or used as a standalone solution to communicate important navigational information. Even something as simple as a traditional sign stand can do wonders for wayfinding.
Universities looking to provide an exceptional campus experience simply cannot overlook the importance of crowd control and queue management. Keep students happy and lines moving by integrating crowd control and queue management solutions with your campus design. Explore our queue management and crowd control solutions for colleges and universities here.
And for more information, our latest guide, The Essential Guide to Optimizing the University Campus Experience, provides university managers with 8 higher education-specific solutions to improve campus-wide queue management, safety, and crowd control.