Insights

PortalX: How Our Student Housing Software Supported Users Through COVID-19

How housing professionals utilize our PortalX solution to gather crucial information, facilitate movements, and clear safe passages during an emergency crisis.
COVID-19 is more than a health and economic crisis – it has been a test of resilience on a global scale. Residential students and staff experienced the challenges of navigating the early stages of this time alongside thousands of peers, friends, and total strangers. They had to quickly adapt their lives and workflows to ensure their safety and security as the situation evolved. As the crisis escalated, many residents all were required to move off-campus while maintaining strict social distancing measures. In response, housing professionals utilized PortalX to gather crucial student information, facilitate student movements and clear safe passages, and work remotely. Throughout the crisis, users leveraged the power of our student housing software to manage resident needs and problem solve on the go.

Designed to put health and safety first

As the spread of the virus increased and social distancing measures came into action, universities and property managers across the globe were faced with the need to communicate with their students, gather crucial data and facilitate safe move-out procedures at record speed. Our customers turned to PortalX to configure timeslot appointments that allowed students to book either 30-minute ‘grab-and-go’ timeslots for moving a few belongings or longer 120-minute ‘move-out’ timeslots. With their individual timeslots confirmed, students could then pack and move without the added stress of maneuvering around their neighbors or getting too close to one another. The emergency response process was streamlined by our highly configurable platform that is designed to adapt as the dynamics change.

“I am so glad Purdue started in January with our PortalX implementation. Because of this, we’ve been able to quickly produce and go live with forms to gather information from our students.”

Heather, Purdue University

PortalX’s easy form-building capabilities empowered universities and property managers with everything they needed to create, configure and edit forms to facilitate important services such as the emergency contact details, moving out logistics, and the organization of safe parking and housekeeping plans. The platform even supported the refund process.

“Having just “soft-launched” our PortalX in mid-February, we officially fully launched it to the entire resident population when we had to whip up a “What are my plans?” form in a matter of hours without basically any IT support! To say that our upper-level leadership was impressed was an understatement..”

Lisa, Carnegie Mellon University

Once students were successfully relocated off campus, StarRez’s cloud-based technology meant work could continue remotely, with no disruption. Karen from University of Delaware explained that the COVID-19 crisis drove home ‘another good reason to be on PortalX, StarRez Web and the cloud.’ Of course, student relocation was only the first major challenge for housing directors. Helping keep student resident communities operational, safe, and informed, is ongoing work that requires reliable connections between colleagues, especially through times of isolation. Karen said she’s particularly thankful that with StarRez Cloud she can now ‘work from anywhere.’

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PortalX in action

PortalX’s capabilities empower users with the agility to pivot major plans in real-time. Ken, a housing professional from Virginia Polytechnic Institute and State University, was most impressed with PortalX’ adaptability and responsiveness at a time when the virus was creating new planning and logistical challenges, almost hourly. The PortalX Process Graph let Ken arrange and rearrange portal page functions during meetings – at the exact moment collaborative strategies were being cemented – instead of hours later. No tech support required. Ken had this to say: ‘I had to literally 180-degree reverse course on the process three times in 36 hours… the last reversal being in front of the University leadership just before the notice was to go to all students.’

“I’m happy to say StarRez did not hiccup and those at the meeting were suitably impressed by the magic of the Portal Process Graph.”

Ken, Virginia Polytechnic Institute and State University

Rona from the Rochester University of Technology was equally impressed with PortalX’s responsiveness during the start of emergency planning. Rona said: ‘we should feel very proud of the StarRez product and how quickly customers were able to create PortalX pages to gather information. It’s the only software with the capabilities needed to spin up a portal page to gather essential student information in less than an hour.’

“Loving PortalX’s ability to help us pivot so quickly during this crazy time.”

Rona, Rochester Institute of Technology

Rona was able to monitor all of this student information in real-time from her StarRez web dashboard. So the dashboard acted as a link between Rona, the student population and the relevant departments – such as housekeeping, parking services and campus police – who were all coordinating to stay on top of the situation. It meant Rona could fully evaluate all of the information she needed to before making her next big decision. Rona went on to explain that ‘the main tools (reporting, dashboards, email tools, automation and more.) have helped schools manage and report on information with confidence as well as communicate efficiently.’

Your trusted partner

PortalX helps provide a great resident experience at the best of times, but in an emergency, it can prove crucial. Our student housing software has helped users respond to the COVID-19 crisis with maximum efficiency, and maximum consideration for the safety and well-being of their staff and student communities. If you’re keen to learn more about how PortalX can streamline your housing management needs, in times of crisis and beyond, reach out to our team to find out how we can help.

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