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Budgets, Buildings & Betterment – 3 Reasons Why Student Unions Use People Counters

February 23, 2022

Why do student unions use people counters? People counting sensors help union directors and management quantify the building’s usage. Armed with foot traffic data, better business decisions can be made surrounding budgets, building operations, and planning renovations.

A student center is more than a place to grab a bite to eat, it is the hub of campus – where students go to feel at home. Union directors have to balance the operations of the physical building along with meeting the greater mission of serving the campus community. From cafeterias, meeting rooms, study lounges and recreation halls, there are endless reasons why people walk through the doors.


Save Money and Request Funds

By installing sensors at each entrance to a student union, you’ll capture data on the total number of people using the facility, traffic patterns throughout the day, traffic patterns throughout the week, and even peak occupancy.

Using Vea Analytics, the data is collected, reported, and ready for analyzing. Jeremiah Johnson of UAB collected foot traffic at the Hill Student Center over three months to base staffing decisions. By adjusting the welcome desk staff schedule to parallel the peak and non-peak traffic times, Jeremiah was able to save his union $12,000 a year. That’s a nice chunk of the budget to allocate elsewhere!

But there may come a time when you can’t stretch your union’s budget any further and you need to request additional funding. Easily create a report in Vea showcasing increased traffic and over-capacity meeting rooms to attach to a proposal. Let the data strengthen your justification for additional funds.

Watch the full UAB Case Study video below.


Efficient Operational Decisions

efficient operations - why student unions use people counters

Closely tied to budget is the need to efficiently operate a student union building. In addition to proper staff levels, foot traffic data can guide decisions on appropriate marketing placement, floorplans based on actual traffic patterns, and the need to repurpose spaces.

When Jeremiah first implemented a people counting system at UAB, one of the first surprises the data revealed was the most used entrance. He always assumed the front entrance near Starbucks was the busiest doorway. However, the data showed that a side-entrance was actually the most used. This revelation led to operational improvements such as navigation and marketing signage surrounding the side-entrance to improve the traffic flow and communication to students.

Learn more about Vea Analytics


Renovations and Construction

justifying renovations - one reason why student unions use people counters

Similar to submitting a proposal for additional funding, foot traffic data also strengthens proposals for larger projects like renovations or constructing a new student union.

Traffic data may very well be the foundation for recognizing the need for a renovation or new building. If you haven’t used people counting sensors before, you may be surprised by the number of people using the building. It may exceed the capacity the union was originally constructed to support, making an obvious justification for expansion. Or if you track foot traffic over years, you can determine the increased rate of usage to make an accurate prediction of when you’ll outgrow the current building.

Learn more about Occupancy Monitoring

These are just three illustrations of many on why student unions use people counters to make data-driven decisions and operate more efficiently. We’ve worked with dozens of universities and look forward to serving you! Contact us today to get started.