Move-in day is an exciting time for all involved—Campus Advantage staff, students, and their families. Residents are starting a new chapter in their lives, whether it’s simply having a new place to call home or beginning their college career, and we love to share in that excitement. Move-in represents an opportunity for us to not only serve our customers, but to also hear from them about what their expectations are for the next year. It offers our senior leadership team a chance to see what the true work realities are on the ground floor for our site staff. It’s far too easy to armchair-quarterback property operations while locked away in our air-conditioned tower at the home office; instead, we put on a pair of shorts and break a sweat hauling boxes and working the check-in tables.
This is the 24th year that I’ve participated in move-in: one year as a resident (community) assistant, two as a resident director, three as a manager, seven in various corporate roles, and 11 as CEO of Campus Advantage. As all practitioners of the high art of student housing know, move-in is our industry’s exhausting and exhilarating equivalent of the Super Bowl, World Cup, or World Series. It is our first opportunity to meet and greet many of our residents and their families, as well as the day we officially “open” for business.
Our goal with all of our residents is to create an environment where students and their families feel that they are being taken care of, and this begins on move-in day. Toward this effort, each of the Campus Advantage properties offers many options to make sure the day runs as smoothly as possible. There are several options for check-in, from one-stop shopping where all paperwork is completed at once to progressive stations where students move forward in the process of paying rent, completing paperwork, picking up keys, etc. We also encourage all of our properties to fully embrace our move-in theme and get creative about the endless options it presents. This year’s superhero theme opens a world of possibilities, including CAs dressing up and interactive games that new residents can take part in to feel included. From the moment new residents arrive, we want to make the move-in process as seamless and efficient as possible.
Several years ago, I remember attending a conference where a panel of industry CEOs were asked about their participation in move-in. When asked whether they personally attended move-in day, they all said no. In fact, one stated, “We have people who do that sort of thing.” From my seat in the audience, I considered how this was one more thing that sets Campus Advantage apart from the pack. Our senior leadership team makes it a priority to visit at least one, but usually more than one, site to assist our properties as they welcome our residents to their new homes. We are the “people who do that sort of thing,” from CA to CEO. To student housing operators everywhere: good luck and have a successful 2014 move-in.
President and CEO
Property Spotlight: Cabana Beach
Every day may feel like a vacation for the residents of Cabana Beach Gainesville, but this month has been anything but a walk in the park for the staff. With approximately 600 people moving out and only 13 days to get those apartments ready for the next group of new residents, Cabana Beach staff have their work cut out for them. Luckily, the staff at Cabana Beach Gainesville are seasoned professionals by now and have their turnover schedule down to a science.
To stay upbeat and positive, the staff starts their morning with a “Cabana Huddle,” where everyone meets to go over the goals for the day and gets pumped up. A quick meeting and “Go team!” gets the day started off on a positive note, and has everyone excited to take on their tasks for the day. With food, music, and treats throughout the day, Cabana Beach is able to keep their staff of approximately 30 people revved up and on track all day. Another quick huddle at the end of the day allows the staff to share their accomplishments and helps everyone start preparing for the next day’s tasks.
The turnover team, made up of current staff as well as previous CAs and some siblings of current team members, works well together and stays organized. Cabana Beach has also fully embraced the superhero move-in theme by giving superhero backpacks and masks to the staff to wear as they walk apartments, and they have big plans for incorporating the theme into move-in day.
One of the most exciting moments for the staff during the turnover came courtesy of a radio station they often partner with. The radio station gave them VIP tickets to a T.I. concert and passes for a meet-and-greet with T.I. Not knowing about the prize, the staff were all brought together to vote on who they thought was doing a spectacular job, and that person was awarded the tickets. This giveaway was a reminder to the staff that their hard work is greatly appreciated and recognized.
Superheroes of Move–In
Each year for the move-in season, Campus Advantage chooses a theme for the company to rally behind and to help ease some of the stress that move-in inevitably entails. This year our theme was superheroes, and with the help of all of our staff playing the sidekick roles, The League of Extraordinary Move-In was a huge success!
In May of this year, all of our properties were called in to vote on their favorite theme, with options ranging from wild animals to The Hunger Games, and ultimately superheroes were chosen because, as anyone who has worked in student housing knows, the staff is always there to save the day! With the help of our marketing company, Catalyst, Agent Move In, Maintenance Man, Captain Automatic, Referral Girl, and the ResLife Crusader were born. Catalyst helped bring these characters to life and developed the face of our move-in campaign, but each property took the theme and made it their own.
With such a fun and exciting theme, this year we saw properties rally around and fully embrace all of the superheroes in The League. Check out how some of these properties incorporated the theme in their move-in days to keep everyone upbeat and make it through the day!
The District on Luther
The District on Luther in College Station, Texas, was decked out from the moment you walked in—imagine doors decorated to represent different superheroes, life-size cutouts of Batman, a headless superhero cutout for you to stand behind and take a picture, and even an app to vote on your favorite superhero. Once everyone got settled into their new apartments, they all came down to watch the winning superhero in action on the big screen!
In Tampa, Florida, community assistants at ON50 got into the spirit of move-in with full-on superhero costumes. Thor and Batman directed residents through the move-in process of picking up keys while wearing full capes and masks and even carrying Thor’s hammer. After residents were directed upstairs by these superheroes, they were greeted with a photo booth, Superman cupcakes, and a fully decorated clubhouse.
Campus Advantage’s Leasing Rock Stars
Campus Advantage is recognizing its top 10 leasing consultants. These individuals have signed the largest percentage of leases at their properties and are known as Campus Advantage’s Leasing Rock Stars.
Performing well during the spring leasing season is key for student housing properties. Campus Advantage continues to set the industry’s high standard for new and returning resident leases.
Congratulations to everyone and keep up the good work!
The Park at 18254
St. Thomas Aquinas
Red Mile Village
Campus Advantage-Russia Presents Mascot Logo
Over the course of the Campus Advantage-Russia (CA-R) engagement, we have been working to develop and present a world-class mascot for Far Eastern Federal University (FEFU) to implement and use for the next hundred-plus years.
In developing mascot logo options for FEFU, CA-R researched a variety of styles and depictions of traditional dragons and recently presented full personas for three logo options to FEFU. Each of the three logos had a distinct personality reflective of FEFU and was presented in a variety of formats to showcase how the logo would be used on T-shirts, letterhead, and other merchandising items.
FEFU was thrilled with the work and happy to present their top choices to the school’s rector and his advisors, who are currently selecting the final mascot. With the help of CA-R, FEFU has begun to establish a logo that will be recognizable around the world.
The team that developed these logos feels that the final logo selected will represent the core values of FEFU and will stand the test of time as it is used for generations of new students and alumni.
Campus Advantage-Russia Assists in Implementing Residence Life Program
Campus Advantage-Russia has been assisting in training and supporting the new residence life program that is being implemented at Far Eastern Federal University. The residence life training program is the first of its kind in Russia, and the newly appointed resident assistants represent a broad cross section of the student body, including a handful of resident assistants from the football team. Training includes assistance from the Office of International Students in preparing the team about how to work with multicultural communities and to have a strong focus on community building and camaraderie.
Students First™: Importance of the First Six Weeks
The first six weeks after move-in provide an important time for properties to establish their reputation in the eyes of new residents. The first impression students get often establishes their involvement with the property for the remainder of the year.
Many of our residents are new to the community and may be away from home for the first time. The first six weeks after move-in offer the perfect time to add extra events and fun activities to get new residents involved and show them the awesome new community they are now part of. We recommend going out of your way during this time to get to know new residents and make sure that they feel included in what’s going on at the property. If a resident hasn’t attended an event in the first six weeks after move-in, it is extremely difficult to engage with him or her later in the year.
Employee Spotlight: Tim Huang
Each month Campus Advantage will recognize members of its team who have gone above and beyond in carrying out their jobs. This month’s newsletter recognizes general manager Tim Huang.
Tim Huang has been with Campus Advantage for eight years and continues to excel in his role as general manager at Legacy in Statesboro, GA. Tim started at Campus Advantage as a leasing manager at the Wabash in Williamsburg, VA, and transferred to Legacy as the assistant general manager and leasing manager in June 2013. Since his move to Legacy, Tim has been an integral player in turning around students’ perceptions of the property and has assisted the property in reaching 100 percent occupancy.
On top of Tim’s daily duties at Legacy, he helped develop a company-wide social media committee, which assists all properties with ideas and programs for their social media platforms. Tim’s passion for his job is obvious in the hard work he puts into every task he takes on, and he has been essential in establishing a great team at Legacy.
Congratulations to Our Employees
The following people are celebrating anniversaries with the company this summer. We’re proud to have them as part of the Campus Advantage family and thank them for their service.
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