We caught up with Minnesota State University-Mankato Dean of Students and Director of Residence Life Cindy Janney prior to her 2023 Campus Home. LIVE! session “Proactive Approach to Residence Hall Wi-Fi”.
When the COVID-19 pandemic started in 2020, Minnesota State University-Mankato, like many schools in the US, quickly transitioned to hybrid learning. But its internet service provider struggled to keep up with the surge in demand for Wi-Fi in the residence hall.
“We had progressed from wireless access points in the residence hall hallways to wireless access points inside student dorms, but we weren’t getting the services on the other pieces of the equipment,” said Dean of Students and Director of Residence Life Cindy Janney. “We were having increasing outages to the point where our campus IT professionals would get on the phone with the vendor and explain to their technicians exactly where the problem was and what they needed to do.”
Losing valuable time and resources, Janney pulled together a team across several departments and issued two RFPs – one for streaming entertainment service and another for internet services.
“We issued the RFPs with the possibility that one company could take on both services. But if we didn’t get the proposal that we were hoping for, we were ready to go with two different companies.”
The university selected Apogee for its ability to offer both high-quality, dependable video and ResNet services, as well as customer service. Unlike the major cable companies or smaller Wi-Fi providers, Apogee Client Services Manager (CSMs) and Field Services Representative offer customized, highly responsive, virtual and on-campus support.
“We’ve been appreciative of our partnership with Apogee because there’s always someone to call and there’s always someone who will respond,” Janney said. “We appreciate Apogee’s commitment to paying attention to our Internet and streaming entertainment environments, solving problems before they arise. And when a problem arises, taking responsibility and getting it fixed as soon as possible. I expect that of myself, and I expect that of our staff and partners on campus. I’m grateful the company shares that value.”
Over the last 20 years, Janney witnessed the transformation of campus housing and the importance of Wi-Fi. Students rely on ResNet for almost every aspect of their lives, including social connections, academic work, transportation, and career development.
“We used to think housing was food, clothing, and shelter. It was meal plans, res hall rooms, and t-shirts. But today, Wi-Fi and wired internet access are a critical piece of the campus experience,” Janney said.