U of T hosts first international residence application conference

StarRez conference at the Chestnut Residence and Conference CentreParticipants gather for the first international StarRez conference at the Chestnut Residence and Conference Centre

As an application that is used by all 13 U of T residences, StarRez has streamlined the residence process for thousands of students – from the application process to deposits, room assignments and maintenance.

On November 7, StarRez users came together to discover best practices, tips and tricks, and to discuss process improvements. The event, called International StarRez Regional Connect, was the first conference of its kind hosted outside of the US, and welcomed close to 70 users and 12 institutions.

“The goal for this day was to provide an opportunity to connect and learn from colleagues at other local StarRez institutions, and it did not disappoint,” says Jen Radley, manager of U of T’s Housing Services. “This event helped facilitate conversations around industry trends and best practices, as well as networking with other StarRez users. It was a great opportunity for collaboration and conversation!”

U of T’s Student Family Housing implemented StarRez in 2007 with the help of Enterprise Applications and Solutions Integration (EASI), and a year later Chestnut Residence and Victoria College residence launched the residence admissions platform.

Now a university-wide application, U of T uses 22 modules and manages more than 28 residence applications. StarRez is also used to manage maintenance and facilities, residence life activities, and conference and events services at various campuses/residences.

“Over the past six years, the process of setting up and transitioning U of T’s residence management portal from the StarRez desktop client to a web portal has been an incredibly collaborative and community building effort,” says Vik Chadalawada, senior manager of student information systems with EASI. “Yet another fine enterprise example of how technology when combined with people and process is a winning formula for service adoption.”

In a broader sense, StarRez has over 600 customers in 15 countries, supporting more than 1.5 million residents.

“The U of T residence community is quite collaborative, but also diverse. This event enabled us to connect with other institutions that shared issues that were unique to individual residences at U of T,” says Arlene Clement, director of Housing Services.

Next steps for the project include developing a new portal, called Portal X, that will provide an enhanced and streamlined residence application portal across the university.

“Since this year’s event was so successful, we look forward to continuing these conversations in the future,” says Radley. “Peer-to-peer learning is so important and it really helps to hear from others who are facing similar challenges and who need to remain current with trends in the housing industry. Stay tuned for details about next year’s event!”