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Contactless lockers prove smart idea for college campuses

Gantner pairs existing campus cards with modern lockers to deliver convenience & security

CampusIDNews Staff   ||   Apr 04, 2017  ||   , ,

For some, the image of a student locker still evokes thoughts of cutout celebrity photos taped inside rusty metal boxes. But on modern college campuses, lockers are being re-envisioned to serve a real need for busy students. Today’s lockers often feature sleek designs to integrate into high-end buildings, while new technology is replacing metal keys and combination locks with contactless smart cards and mobile phones.

Though often not as visible as their high school counterpart, most college and university campuses have lockers in at least a few niche locations. Rec centers, labs, athletic facilities and libraries are common locales where students need to secure valuables – equipment, laptops, clothing and books  –  as they transition between activities. Some institutions are finding that as student culture evolves there is a growing need for more widely available lockers.

If you consider the cost of a smart phone, a laptop and some high-priced course materials, the average student could be lugging around several thousands of dollars worth of belongings in their backpack. Without convenient locker options, the reality is that students must return to a residence hall, apartment or car if they’re going to participate in another campus activity before, after or between classes.

This storage challenge can keep a student from taking advantage of some institution-offered activities. And researchers now believe these extracurricular activities are key to engagement, retention and matriculation.

Traditionally, campuses have offered a limited number of lockers to be checked out, with or without a fee, for a semester or an academic year. But this is changing as more flexible models emerge.

As the need for student lockers rises, the available real estate to install them on campus grows harder to come by. Convenient locations are at a premium and deploying lockers for dedicated student use requires a significant footprint. This has given rise to shared locker systems, where a student checks out a locker for a short time, say an hour or a day.

Rather than tying up a dedicated locker for a semester or a year, this shared model allows a smaller quantity of lockers to serve a large population, as most students only need the locker for a few hours each week.

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