“Alexa, Ask SLU About the New Amazon Echo Dots”

Saint Louis University administration boasts new technological improvements on campus with the installation of Amazon Echo Dots in every residence hall.

“Alexa, Ask SLU About the New Amazon Echo Dots”

Riley Mack, News Editor

Over the summer, University authorities announced the creation of the Alexa Project, which was an association providing an Echo Dot to every student living space. With a grand total of over 2,300 of the voice-controlled devices purchased, this entails that SLU will be the first University in the country to provide Amazon Echo Dots to every room of on-campus housing, the faculty excitedly announced.

Some students, however, are not as enthusiastic about this decision.

The controversy with the students dwells from whether or not it is appropriate for a University to have a listening-device installed in each students’ room.

One Sophomore, Sophie Perry, who resides in Spring Hall, states that “[the University] had good intentions, but from a student’s perspective it feel like an invasion of privacy” while also begging the question if the device is worth the funds SLU spent on them.

Perry argues that from her point of view, it “can feel as if the University is spending money on things it shouldn’t.” As she believes that the administration “could’ve put [the funding] into better things, such as professors, the dorms, and more scholarships.”

Another Sophomore, Ian Modde, argues similarly about the Echo Dot, which lies unplugged in a drawer of his Grand Hall dorm. He strongly details that this addition could be “just a business move by Amazon and a publicity stunt by SLU.” Modde states with confidence that he believes the Echo Dot could not “make a meaningful impact on the student experience at SLU.”

Opposing Perry and Modde’s opinions, Junior Samantha Moore sees what she believes to be the true intention of the University administration when installing these devices – to provide students with all the tools they could ever need for their education.

[The Echo Dots are] a very useful tool to have in the residence halls,” she explains, as she mainly uses it “to check the weather and find numbers for ordering food around campus.”

Moore, a resident of the Village Apartments, states that the expenditures for the Echo Dots could be a worthy investment for the campus. With a few improvements, like allowing music through Bluetooth and adding more knowledge of University information, Moore believes the expense the administration spent may be beneficial.

Similarly, Radhika Patel, a Sophomore resident in Spring Hall, states that the Echo Dots could be a great resource for incoming freshmen in the future. Patel sees it as a productive way to give new students a resource on campus without needing to seek out information.

Although the opinions on the Amazon Echo Dots are notably diverse, the effort put forth from University administration to provide what they can for students’ success is noted. “It’s really impressive that SLU is the first University to integrate Echo Dots into the daily life of the students” says Patel, who regularly uses her Echo Dot to ask Alexa about SLU activities.

For some, the addition of the Amazon Echo Dot is a violation of privacy and useless tool that stays hidden in a drawer. For others, it is just another way that SLU goes above and beyond their expectations of education.

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