My freshman year of college was in 1989. I remember my dorm room well. Cinder block walls with two beds, two desks, and two windows. The showers, toilets, and sinks were in the center of the hall shared by all rooms.
We had a TV in the room that had access to local channels thanks to an antennae. We had a computer with access to the online campus system via a 9600 or 14400 baud modem. I remember going online to register for classes. My other computing accesses was governed by a usage quota and the currency was fondly called “bananas”. The more time online and the more time spent compiling programmings the more bananas I used. There were a few times where I had to request more bananas!
Fast forward to 2014 and now I’m helping my daughter look at prospective colleges. The dorm life at some of her prospective schools has gone digital. Look at some of the amenities we found at one school in the dorm:
- Wireless throughout the entire building
- Premium cable TVpackage
- Brita water station (ok, so not digital. But really cool)
- Individual electronic temperature control in each suite
- Laundry room with text alerts from washers and dryers
- Shower and toilet shared by suite, not an entire hall (again not digital, but a little more homely)
Its good business.
We didn’t find this at all of the schools she looked at. But a couple of the schools had recently renovated the dorms with all the comforts of a modern home. It’s a nice touch and makes a big impression on a college bound student that is comparing schools.
I think it’s good business for the education industry. Colleges compete with each other and amenities are a factor in prospective student decisions just as the education is. Look at how athletic departments constantly upgrade their facilities to impress student athletes in attempt to draw the best to their school.
Who knows what the modern dorm rooms will look like when my grand children go to college. They’ll probably be equipped with network connected appliances, illuminated projection devices, biosecurity devices for entry.