Campus Success Story: Changing the Grad Student Experience at Georgia Tech

· by Ben Michalak

The Grad Lounge is a space on Georgia Institute of Technology’s sprawling 400-acre campus dedicated exclusively to the university’s graduate student population. Like many student centers, the intention behind the Grad Lounge was to offer students a dynamic space to engage with their peers, but with a unique focus on empowering graduate student success. 

Graduate students are extremely busy with limited time to relax and spend time with friends playing board games, pool, or ping pong; trying to accommodate so many diverse (and limited) schedules with engagement opportunities can be a big challenge. Georgia Tech experienced this first hand in their Grad Lounge. Most of their inventory—such as their pool and ping pong equipment—was not publicly available, which limited students’ access to specific days and times that didn’t always overlap with their schedules. Although the Grad Lounge was open 24/7, Georgia Tech could not staff the Grad Lounge at all hours of the day, nor could they let the items out and the open without risking theft or damage.  These issues directly impacted grad students looking to play a late night game of pool only to find that the cues and balls they needed were locked away. 

When Georgia Tech discovered RecRe’s automated rental solution at a conference, it sounded like a fix to the inventory and staffing troubles facing the Grad Lounge. Assistant Director of Programs at Georgia Tech, Jamie Alt, shared the following: 

“We’re always trying to think of ways to pivot the grad student experience…. When we first heard about [on-demand rentals], we saw an opportunity to not only enhance their experience, but extend it. Now that we can provide rentals without additional staffing, we have the ability to give grad students more opportunities to connect with each other.”

The Grad Lounge is meant to be a comfortable and inviting space. To fit its aesthetic, RecRe worked with Georgia Tech to create a box that contained rental inventory, but looked like a piece of furniture. 

Today, the Grad Lounge’s RecRe box provides graduate students with 24/7 access to tabletop and board games. Delacy Carpenter, a Graduate Program Advisor at Georgia Tech, shared the following on their ability to provide more for grad students with RecRe. 

“[Our graduate students] will play pool all the time at all hours of the night. Before, there was no way we could staff the Grad Lounge 24/7. Now we don’t even have to staff it and we can keep it open 24/7 and provide graduate students a place where they can engage and relax without having to schedule their lives around a game of pool.”

In addition to the Grad Lounge, Georgia Tech has a second RecRe box outside their TechRec student center space with outdoor recreation equipment. Positioned right next to the Tech Green, the box gives all students the chance to enjoy Georgia Tech’s outdoor spaces, now with free rentable equipment right at their fingertips. 

If you want to learn more about Georgia Tech and their success with RecRe’s automated solution, you can gain access to their campus success story.