The anatomy of a FIXit request

When the faucet is leaking and the lights won’t turn on, the first instinct of GW students is to call FIXit. And while most include FIXit in their arsenal of Colonials-specific jargon, the process that starts when students file a request is not always understood.

It turns out that the simple four-step online procedure of requesting service belies the complicated system that is behind repairing those running toilets and broken fixtures. In actuality, the FIXit portal is only one part of this larger process, serving as a medium between the student and the right technician for the job.

Once a FIXit request is received, it heads to GW’s Operations Customer Service Team, Senior Associate Vice President for Operations Alicia O’Neil said. The team then determines the best person to contact to resolve the issue.

“When a FIXit ticket is submitted, it is then received by the Operations Customer Service Team, which is responsible for routing the request to the appropriate individual and/or shops that will complete the work,” she said.

GW employees complete some repairs, while other service requests require the University to bring in outside contractors. Whether or not this happens, O’Neil said, depends on the nature of the request.

In addition, the number of requests varies by building, with size and age being the main factors. O’Neil did not comment on which buildings consistently log more requests than others.

Either way, in older buildings, aged conditions can significantly complicate repairs. Freshman Curtis Davis, a resident of Crawford, called FIXit about the low temperature in his room, only to find that it fluctuated wildly even after repair workers came to resolve the issue.

“We got back from break and it was insanely cold,” said Davis, who added that FIXit came to rectify the problem. But this did not spell the end of his troubles.

“Within a day or so our floor was insanely hot,” he said. The temperature then normalized, and Davis did not know if FIXit subsequently returned to further investigate the issue.

Other students have had more positive experiences. Freshman Marianna Griffini, a Strong Hall resident, filed a FIXit request for damaged windows and broken electrical outlets, and received a swift, satisfactory response.

“They came after one day to fix the windows and two for the outlets,” said Griffini in an e-mail. “They fixed the problem.”

Regardless of whether a student lives in older residence halls or the immaculately new South Hall, O’Neil said FIXit treats all requests equally. Even buildings slated for renovation next year, such as Lafayette and 2034 G St., receive the same attention as modern ones like Potomac, which was built in 2006.

To assess the maintenance system’s performance, FIXit requests are reviewed from the time they are submitted to ensure a high fulfillment rate.

“[The University reviews] what proportion of requests are completed within a set time frame with the goal being that 90 percent of routine priority requests are completed within eight days,” said O’Neil, who added that FIXit strives to address emergencies within 24 hours. This measure, she said, more accurately captures FIXit’s effectiveness than average response time.

But with several aging buildings, the system is certain to remain stressed under pressure. Schenley Hall, Crawford Hall and Mitchell Hall were built in 1920, 1926 and 1929, respectively. Infrastructure-related issues also continue to plague Thurston Hall, built in 1929 and currently housing over 1,000 freshmen per year.

In the face of this, O’Neil said that FIXit always hopes to remedy the problem, even if it requires a second look.

“FIXit sends out a customer service survey upon completion of the work order,” she said. “If a survey result indicates work has not been completed satisfactorily, a tradesperson will be dispatched to revisit the request.”

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