University Village is an off-campus housing community that is dedicated to the holistic development and learning environment of upperclassmen students. Acquired by South Carolina State University Real Estate in 2004, University Village is a non-profit 501-c3 since it was purchased through an alumni foundation.
These residence halls accommodate 438 students with fully furnished housing and amenities such as 24-hour video security, a fitness room, a game room, and a computer lab.
When Robyn Perrineau-Kendrick became the interim executive director of University Village, she was dedicated to taking on new technology initiatives to better serve her customers – the SCSU students.
Since residence halls foster both a living community and a learning community, University Village had to support both everyday technology use and online classes.
With the average college student carrying approximately 8 devices, the demand on University Village's bandwidth was heavy. Their WiFi was failing and students would have to go to the Village’s clubhouse — or even the nearby McDonalds — to get access to the internet.
They even had vendors trying to help, but everything failed to find and fix the root of the problem. Although in need of a new WiFi partner, their capital was also tied up for the year from previous WiFi consultants, so they needed a more pay-as-you-go solution.
“We could not serve properly; we had failed in how we served in WiFi and how we served in technology,” said Robyn.
They were on the search for certified WiFi engineers to fix their connection problems and deliver an easy solution with secure onboarding for residents and their guests.
Robyn and her team wanted to prevent entering the next academic year telling her residents the same story: “We’re still working on the WiFi.” They needed a quick, turnkey solution.
“Although we made a mistake with our WiFi, we can improve it by trying out this company, SecurEdge, and they can go from where we made the mistake at and help us get back to where we need to be,” said Robyn.
Since SecurEdge had already successfully deployed robust WiFi at South Carolina State, it became known to University Village that SecurEdge can help them with their connectivity issues.
At first, the engineering team went in and completed a WiFi performance assessment at the residence halls, and they found that the problem was due to a poor configuration of the network as well as several inefficiencies with the original WiFi design from their previous partners.
Their remediation plan allowed for University Village to decide on whether to remediate the problem themselves or go with the recommendation from SecurEdge.
They decided to move forward with a WiFi as a Service subscription, which combined all of the necessary infrastructure components, advanced software, ongoing support, and engineering services into one turnkey subscription. With no up-front costs, this was the easiest way for University Village to deliver enterprise-grade WiFi to their students.
“The solution made sense because technology evolves and in two years or three years, and we’re going to be upgrading again,” said Robyn.
The engineers also ensured the security of the network through the configuration of the firewall and segmentation of the network.
“Our challenges were easy for SecurEdge. Why try to do something that we’re not the experts in? Give it to someone else — and for us, that was SecurEdge,” said Robyn.
For students, their measurable benefit was getting an individual password for their WiFi; it gives them a sense of ownership and investment in their residence halls and their community. This adds value to the student experience.
“When someone comes and visits a student, they can get on University Guest and they don’t have to give them my password because that belongs to only us that live here. And the benefit is that students appreciate where they live and now, they’re going to buy into their community,” said Robyn.
For University Village, all their WiFi challenges were solved with one complete solution – WiFi as a Service. SecurEdge was able to diagnose their WiFi connectivity issues and give them a solution with monthly payments and a completely managed network.
The team is currently installing more performance sensors to ensure a more consistent WiFi experience to better serve their residents.
University Village’s partnership with SecurEdge is growing from an equal commitment to a more digital, and more secure residence life.
“As SecurEdge is evolving into other areas of providing initiatives to support customer service and student development, we will continue to grow right with them."
Robyn looks forward to the future of what SecurEdge has to offer off-campus housing and better student experience.