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W&L's ITS Staff Members Become QR Billboards

When the Class of 2015 arrived at Washington and Lee University on Saturday, members of the University’s Information Technology Services offered them a quick way to find popular websites and add contact information to address books with their smartphones and the new QR code technology.

QR codes, short for Quick Response code, is a two-dimensional barcode designed specifically to be read by smartphones.

The staff members had QR codes printed on the T-shirts that they wore while they staffed the first-year check-in and orientation and several dozen students took advantage by using their phones to scan the code, which then loaded the web page or prompted to save the new contact.

On the front of the shirts were codes for ITS services such as Help, Campus Notices web sites, and the Information Desk contact information. On the back were codes for both campus and local attractions, ranging from the Blue Ridge Parkway to the University’s Nabors Service League.

David Saacke, chief technology officer, said the T-shirt design reflected students’ increasing use of the various smart phone technologies.

“Year by year we have seen a steady increase in the percentage of students who bring smartphones to campus and use them to do an increasing variety of tasks,” said Saacke. “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.”