Campus Success Story: Optimized Student Centers and Auxiliary Services at VCU

· by Ben Michalak

Virginia Commonwealth University (VCU) is a large campus located in Richmond, VA, encompassing 11 schools and 5 colleges. At the heart of campus is the  massive student center, the Commons, which experiences heavy foot traffic during peak academic hours. However, the Commons has struggles with insufficient staffing to meet the demands of the student population; although VCU has a strong student staff, their work availability is often unpredictable due to their demanding academic schedules. Additionally, despite having items available for students to rent at service desks, many of the items went unused.  As a result of the staffing challenges and excess inventory, VCU reduced hours lounge spaces and limited equipment availability. 

With fewer students being able to access its spaces, VCU by the Commons noticed a dip in engagement. VCU partnered with RecRe as part of an effort to expand student offerings and increase engagement in the Commons. Since they implemented automated rentals, VCU has achieved significant success in student engagement, inventory management, and staffing, leading to the expansion of RecRe to other campus areas.

Lauren Gyurisin, Assistant Director of Operations and Facilities at VCU, shares the following: 

“When we reevaluated our needs after the COVID-19 pandemic, it was clear we were spending a lot on staffing while also [working with] a shrunken inventory…. [RecRe] offered a solution to this. We were able to reintroduce inventory to our students and grapple with staffing issues more effectively, all while increasing engagement at key times of day.”

Lauren Gyurisin, Assistant Director of Operations and Facilities at VCU

VCU’s RecRe deployment began with boxes in the Commons. The Rams Lounge downstairs stood out as needing the most assistance from a student engagement perspective. After adding a single RecRe box, VCU noticed almost immediate improvements to student engagement in the Rams Lounge. Now that they could rent inventory like billiards, ping pong, and air hockey equipment on demand, more students were taking advantage of the recreational sports tables at all hours, activating the space for its intended purpose. Seeing the results created by the first box, VCU by the Commons soon added a second box to the Rams Lounge. 

Since then, VCU has expanded to several locations across campus, including the Hunton Student Center, University Bookstore, and Shafer Court Dining. 

“We have other departments on campus deploying RecRe–in the bookstore, in dining facilities,” Lauren adds. “I think it shows that we brought something to campus that works for student engagement not just for our student centers but for all types of campus auxiliary services.” 

Lauren Gyurisin, Assistant Director of Operations and Facilities at VCU

With RecRe, VCU has achieved the following results: 

> Reopened Spaces: RecRe’s simplified inventory management has allowed VCU to expand its offerings in their Rams Lounge space. 

> Rental Integrity: With automated rentals, VCU has the confidence to let students self-manage inventory return. 

> More Social Interaction: VCU’s inclusion of group games has enabled thousands of hours of student social interaction. 

If you want to learn more about VCU’s partnership with RecRe, you can download their campus success story below.