Hey, Alexa: What Time Does the Dining Hall Close?

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Saint Louis University (MO) students will have a little extra help figuring out what’s happening on campus this year.

All students moving into residence halls this week will receive a university-branded Amazon Echo Dot. The device, already popular in homes across the country, responds to voice commands and has been programmed to answer more than 100 university-related questions.

Other colleges to provide Dots to at least some of their residential students include Arizona State University, the University of Oklahoma, and Northeastern University (MA), according to a recent Inside Higher Ed article.

At Saint Louis University (SLU), school officials say the devices are part of a larger effort to help students feel more connected to the school.

The customized Dots offer instant answers to questions SLU students may have, such as “What time does the library close tonight?” and “Where is the registrar’s office?” The device also includes information about campus events and activities.

“What is most exciting to me is the enhanced connectivity to the campus community these devices will provide,” Kent Porterfield, SLU’s vice president for student development, said in a press release. “The more connected and engaged students are, the more they learn and benefit from their SLU experience.”

Admitted writer/editor Mary Stegmeir welcomes additional comments and story ideas at mstegmeir@nacacnet.org.

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