“Year by year we have seen a steady increase in the percentage of students who bring smart phones to campus and use them to do an increasing variety of tasks,” said David Saacke, WLU’s chief technology officer. “We expect that this year’s entering class will be relying even more than usual on this technology, and the QR code T-shirts seemed an appropriate welcome for tech-savvy kids. ”

The QR code-clad IT employees meeting freshmen as they arrived on the 1,800-student campus proved a great icebreaker for staffers and students.

“It was partly for fun, just to have a geeky T-shirt,” Knudson said. “What it turned out to be was a great conversation starter … and they knew right away that we were here to help them with whatever they needed.”

Even for edgy freshmen in their first few days on campus, Malhorta said scanning a QR code is “really, really simple. They see it and they know that all you have to do is point and snap a picture.”

Shirts filled from top to bottom with QR codes intrigued freshmen this year, Knudson said, but IT officials will look for new ways to draw in new students getting used to life away from home.

“I like the idea of making it fun for the students to acquire the knowledge they need,” she said. “Like anything else, you just have to keep mixing it up. … This is the thing for this year and right now, but I’m sure there will be a new way to grab their attention next year and the year after.”

Colleges and universities have found ways to use QR codes as smart phone ownership has skyrocketed in recent years.


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