GW to unveil text-to-unlock program for residence halls

Media Credit: Photo Illustration by Samira Uddin | Hatchet Photographer

The University recently piloted a program to let students text to enter their residence halls.

For students who have lost their GWorld cards, getting into tap-access residence hall rooms will soon be as simple as sending a text message.

A new program, which the University tested earlier this semester, allows residents to connect their cell phone numbers to their online laundry tracker accounts. In return, they receive a phone number that they can text to unlock their doors within seconds.

Groups of students living in Shenkman, JBKO, Munson, Lafayette and West halls participated in a testing period of the system that lasted for several weeks in October. University spokeswoman Maralee Csellar said GW is now reviewing responses from the small sample of students, and will roll out the system within the next year.

“They knew it would make life in the residence halls easier, and for that reason we were all for it,” said Ari Massefski, the president of the Residence Hall Association.

He said the system would be useful in situations when having to venture out to the key depot for a replacement key card might be inconvenient.

“This would be for something like if you go downstairs to do your laundry and you forget your GWorld,” he said. “You’d be able to text in to your room instead of having to go all the way in your pajamas to get a new GWorld.”

Lafayette’s hall council president, Aditi Patil, participated in one of the tests, and said the system allowed her to help her roommate enter the room while she was somewhere else.

“I was at the library and my suitemate was locked out,” she said. “I could just text to open the door instead of having to go there and run all the way back to the library.”

Ryan Greene, a sophomore living in JBKO, said when he received an email from the GWorld office in early October asking for volunteers for the trial, he was eager to try it.

“The timing of the email was perfect for me because they sent it the day after I locked myself out of my room,” Greene said.

Greene said all of the steps to synchronize his phone number and GWorld information with the system were “a little tricky and nuanced,” but he said it worked for him and that his door unlocked about 30 seconds after he sent a text asking to be let into his room.

The new program means GWorld cards would not be required to enter rooms, but Massefski said he did not think it would become a replacement for tap access.

“It’s preferably not the sort of thing you’re going to have to use on a regular basis,” he said. “It’s a backup plan for when you forget your GWorld in your room, or lose your GWorld or break your GWorld.”

The Hatchet has disabled comments on our website. Learn more.