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Tuesday, September 13, 2005

Student Housing Just aClick Away With 'Welcome Mat'

class=""MsoNormal"">SALISBURY, MD---At Salisbury University, student housing is only a click away.

class=""MsoNormal"">SU has partnered with Beacon Technologies, Inc.,  a Salisbury-based solutions development company, to create a new software system to assist students with their housing needs through the Welcome Mat Residential Life Management System, a Web-based program allowing them to register for on-campus housing, pay their deposits and sign-up online. 

class=""MsoNormal"">A major benefit of Welcome Mat is saving student and staff time and allowing students to complete room applications 24 hours a day over the web.   With the new program, what previously took students and staff several weeks now takes minutes.

class=""MsoNormal"">“Establishing a partnership with a local software developer is a win-win situation.  Partnering with Beacon Technologies has provided us with a state-of-the-art system,” said Jerome Waldron, chief information officer. “It really demonstrates how the university and the local business community can come together and create solutions that can be applied elsewhere and generate a profit.”          

class=""MsoNormal"">Welcome Mat was used with returning students during the spring. The positive response from those who had used the older system and were now trying Welcome Mat for the first time was overwhelming.  “Exactly what we hoped for,” said Dave Gutoskey, residence life director at SU. “Dot.Com students were satisfied and impressed with the program’s efficient nature.”

class=""MsoNormal"">Features of Welcome Mat include the use of identifiers including study and sleep habits.  The software also looks at student wants such as residence hall preferences and roommate preference.  It then makes a room assignment that will work best for each student.  The program uses a prioritization formula based on the total number of credits earned while at SU.  Those with senior status have priority.  Welcome Mat also allows both on and off campus students to purchase meal plans.

class=""MsoNormal"">Some of the most noticeable benefits are: a very effective web based user interface requiring only an ID and password and the ability to assign students to rooms even in the most complex residence hall design configurations.

class=""MsoNormal"">Beacon also does comprehensive system maintenance for a reasonable cost, compared to current options in the market.

class=""MsoNormal"">“The accessibility to Beacon Technologies that we have is fantastic,” said Gutoskey. “Their response time during our times of need is short, and the time they need to repair the problem to get us back up and live is minimal.  This venture has minimalized the time that inconveniences the student.”

class=""MsoNormal"">For more information call 410-543-6030 or visit the SU Web site at www.salisbury.edu. "



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