Record-setting speed of wireless deployment during academic session delivers on promise by North Carolina HBCU to improve campus life
Austin, TX, Raleigh, NC, October 4, 2021 – To strengthen a tradition of excellence spanning more than 150 years, Saint Augustine’s University (SAU) has partnered with Apogee – the only managed technology services provider solely focused on higher education – to deliver a cutting-edge residential network (ResNet) that will upgrade campus life, improve learning outcomes, and drive student success. About 1,000 SAU Falcons now have an exceptional Wi-Fi experience across all residence halls and two campus hubs – the Falkcrest Clubhouse and Prezell R. Robinson Library – ensuring reliable, blazing-fast connectivity for on-campus residents and commuter students alike.
SAU is a historically Black college or university (HBCU) located just north of downtown Raleigh, North Carolina and was founded in 1867 by the Episcopal Diocese of North Carolina to make education accessible to formerly enslaved people. Today, SAU is a four-year liberal arts university that prepares students academically, socially, and spiritually for a diverse and rapidly changing world. The institution has also contributed a total economic impact of $72 million to its local and regional economies.
As the return to campus for Fall 2021 approached, SAU leadership was focused on improving the student experience after three semesters of adapting to the volatile pandemic. Transforming the university’s network infrastructure was a critical step to deliver the technologies needed to meet student demands for exceptional blended learning and campus life experiences. SAU turned to Apogee to design, build, install, and manage a new wireless infrastructure in the school’s eight residence halls, clubhouse, and library to fulfill its promise of improved student connectivity.
The assessment and design were completed in less than a month, and installation began on the first day of SAU’s fall semester and was completed in under three weeks – a record overall and for an in-session deployment. Students can now enjoy a richer academic and campus experience with a fast and reliable connection for online classes, along with seamless capabilities for streaming TV shows and movies, gaming, video calls with friends and family, and more during their downtime.
“We knew that Wi-Fi was critical to the student experience – and consequently to enrollment and retention – so we decided to act quickly,” said Farooq Agha, Chief Information Officer at SAU. “We contacted Apogee in June 2021, and the company delivered a comprehensive proposal tailored to our needs with an accelerated deployment timeline that aligned with the start of the SAU semester in August 2021. SAU could not have built and managed such a robust project in-house on such a constrained timeline, much less with classes already in session and residence halls already occupied. It was impressive to see Apogee act so swiftly, with our students top of mind every step of the way.”
The evolving needs in academic instruction, aging network equipment, and demanding student technology habits had strained SAU’s network. Students regularly experienced speed, connectivity, and bottleneck issues, particularly during high-traffic times of day, resulting in a “first come, first served” Wi-Fi experience. These problems were compounded during the pandemic shift to blended learning, where intensifying connectivity demands derailed class quality and threatened learning outcomes.
The new SAU wireless network not only supports learning outcomes by bolstering blended learning but also upgrades the campus experience for both residential and commuter students. Students can connect up to seven devices to fast 100 Mbps Wi-Fi and use Personal Area Network (PAN) capabilities for an at home-like experience, where a student’s many devices can seamlessly communicate with each other. Students can print papers or documents wirelessly, use Apple AirPlay, listen to music on wireless speakers, and more. This approach allows students to smoothly connect and use multiple devices for study, research, entertainment, creativity, and socialization.
With Apogee guaranteeing reliable, high-speed Wi-Fi and providing 24/7/365 technical support directly to students, SAU’s IT department is now freed up to focus on innovation efforts rather than fielding student support calls or upgrading the network in increments.
“The mission of Apogee is to help colleges and universities respond to the myriad challenges they face today by transforming with technology,” said Scott Drossos, CEO of Apogee. “We are honored to welcome this distinguished school to our established HBCU partnerships, which now includes six institutions. HBCUs play a crucial role in ensuring that African Americans – and students of all races – receive a quality education in a supportive atmosphere and community. We are excited to support SAU to enhance the student experience and increase its community and regional economic impact.”
Apogee is the only managed technology services provider with a sole focus on higher education. Fueled by a community of more than 1,000,000 students and administrators nationwide and 20 years of experience living and breathing higher education, Apogee has a unique understanding of the connection between technology and student vitality. The company is committed to redefining the student campus life experience. Visit Apogee at apogee.us.
About Saint Augustine’s University
Saint Augustine’s University (SAU) was established in 1867 in Raleigh, NC by the Episcopal Diocese of North Carolina. A four-year liberal arts university with an average enrollment of approximately 1,000, SAU sits on 105 lush acres just north of Downtown Raleigh. The institution offers more than 20 undergraduate degree programs and is accredited by the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools (SACSCOC). To learn more, visit st-aug.edu.
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