Campus Advocate Fall 2020
Hard to believe it, but fall is here! This time of year is always an exciting time for all of us at Campus Advantage as we get to welcome (and, finally, welcome back!) our residents to the place they call home during their academic year. While move-in looked quite different than years past, our goal was to create and deliver a positive experience for residents, all while providing a responsible, socially distanced move-in process that still met our standards of customer service. It was a process that required a lot of early planning and adjustments — everything from developing a task force to digitizing all necessary paperwork, creating drive-through move-in stations, and scheduling interval move-ins. I couldn’t be prouder of the way our on-site teams adapted to, and executed on, this change, as well as the flexibility and understanding demonstrated by our residents and their families during that time.
Never in my 17 years as President and CEO have I been more excited to say “welcome home!” to our residents as I have this year. If there is anything these past seven months have taught us all, it’s about the importance of family, community, acceptance, and safety, and my hope is that each and every one of our residents experience those things as they walk through our property doors.
The outlook for the student housing industry continues to be bright, and we continue to be hopeful about what the future holds. As a lot of colleges proceed with an online-only learning model and on-campus student housing remains closed or at reduced capacity, we, along with others in the industry, have seen a strong demand for students wanting to live at off-campus properties as a way to be close to college and have somewhat of a college life experience, which helps keep off-campus markets thriving. I recently had the opportunity to share my thoughts with Student Housing Business on this trend, as well as the impact COVID-19 has had on our company, leasing, turn, etc. I am optimistic that this market will continue to thrive and have a positive impact on our company and the industry as a whole.
Speaking of off-campus properties, we want to welcome Vale East to our property management portfolio! Currently under development, Vale East is located near Valencia College’s East Campus in Orlando, Florida, and will be the first and only student housing project specifically designed to serve the Valencia College community. We couldn’t be more excited to introduce this new community to the property’s future residents and to be able to bring our management, operations team, and training programs, as well as Catalyst’s branding expertise, to this market.
In summary, I am extremely proud of what we have achieved at our properties and at our home office, and I am confident that we will continue to thrive and adjust to any challenges that may come our way. We’re in this together, and together we’ll continue to provide rewarding living experiences that inspire and equip residents to thrive in all areas of life.
Thank you for being part of the Campus Advantage team. Stay safe and stay healthy.
Mike Peter, President and CEO
We were thrilled to welcome (and, in some cases, welcome back!) our residents to our student housing communities this year. While move-in looked quite a bit different than years past due to the COVID-19 pandemic, we were extremely excited to be able to adapt and provide residents with a smooth move-in process, all while prioritizing the health and safety of residents and staff at all of our communities.
There is no doubt that this is a new (albeit very different) academic year for everyone, and our hope is that we continue to provide and create great living experiences for our residents.
EMPLOYEE’S TAKE ON WORK-LIFE BALANCE
JACLYN TAAFE, SENIOR REGIONAL MANAGER
To me, work-life balance means finding a way to balance my energy and focus between my professional life and personal life. It’s being able to ensure what I’m doing is meaningful and that I’m always fully present. Having a good balance of my professional and personal time keeps me engaged, fulfilled and happy in both facets of my life.
Campus Advantage has amazing values as a company and leadership who understand having a balance in life. Leadership supports and encourages a happy and healthy work environment, which helps lead to a happy and healthy personal life. They respect my time and responsibilities outside of work.
One thing I do to maintain work-life balance is to take time weekly to review both my work calendar and personal calendar to ensure I have a good plan for the upcoming week. I set realistic goals for myself that are always evolving and changing. I understand that our days get very busy and not everything can be accomplished as planned each day, and I don’t let something not being crossed off my to-do list get me down as long as the priorities are complete. Having this understanding and planning allows me to spend time with my family.
In my free time, I love spending time with my family, taking walks with my dog, going to the beach and watching my son have fun playing sports.
Check out our latest case study to see how Campus Advantage helped increase the occupancy percentage of 212 East, a 428-bed student housing property serving the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign.
Located in Normal, Illinois, The Flats is a 155-unit community offering a variety of one- to four-bedroom floor plans. All units offer granite countertops and stainless steel appliances. All amenities were renovated in 2019 and include a fitness center, an outdoor courtyard with grilling stations and fire pits, a heated garage, and indoor bike storage. The Flats is located just two blocks from Illinois State University and offers several on-site dining options. This community is currently 100% occupied.
STUDENT HOUSING INVESTMENTS
Student housing’s recession resilience makes it a value-add investment during times of economic uncertainty. If you or someone you know is interested in an expanded investment portfolio, Campus Advantage specializes in all aspects of student housing — operations, marketing, consulting, development, and acquisition — and has delivered excellent returns for over a decade. Contact our investments team to learn more.
WELCOME TO THE FAMILY
VALE EAST (ORLANDO, FL)
This summer, Campus Advantage welcomed Vale East, a 456-bed student housing property located in Orlando, Florida.
Currently being developed near Valencia College’s East Campus, Vale East, when finished, will consist of three four-story buildings, and will feature one-, two-, three-, and four-bedroom units. All units will include wood-style flooring, upgraded GE slate appliances, granite countertops, and individual pantries for each resident. In addition, each bedroom will have its own walk-in closet and individual bathroom. On-site amenities feature one academic-focused clubhouse space including study areas, individual conference rooms, a coffee bar, an indoor/outdoor community room, an outdoor Zen garden, and 24-hour access to computers and printing. The highly amenitized property will also feature a second recreation-focused clubhouse inclusive of a resort-style swimming pool and pavilion, a fitness center, a yoga studio, a steam room, a sauna, a golf simulator, a bowling alley, a game room, a self-service mini-market, cabanas, corn hole turf, an outdoor entertainment screen, and an outdoor kitchen with grills.
Vale East will be the first and only student housing project specifically designed to serve the Valencia College community. Located only half a mile south of Valencia College’s East Campus, Vale East’s proximity will provide the option for students to walk to campus instead of commuting from the shadow market or living in product designed to cater exclusively to UCF students.
Stabilizing a Student Housing Asset in Times of Uncertainty
Moving forward into 2020, it’s important for asset managers and property owners and operators to remain fluid and adaptable while having a general plan in place detailing how current residents will be cared for and future leases will be secured. Pulled from key insights we’ve gained throughout this year, here are our tips for remaining successful and stabilizing assets, even in times of heightened uncertainty.
How to Create Great Move-In Experiences for Residents in the Current Climate
Those who work in student housing management have said for decades “adapt, adapt, adapt.” The COVID-19 pandemic has been a proving ground for this level of adaptability and certainly tested us, and the industry as a whole, in providing a responsible, socially distanced move-in experience that still met our standards of customer service. We learned a lot, and are still learning. In the meantime, we wanted to share our key findings with other student housing managers in the hopes that it will be of benefit to the industry.
Gauging the Depth of a Commuter Market
A university with a significant amount of commuter students can still create enough demand to justify additional housing due to the lack of overall supply within the market. So, how can the depth of a commuter market be gauged?
Student Housing Consulting: Six Red Flags Indicating It’s Time for an Operational Assessment
When a community finds itself achieving lower than expected occupancy, higher than expected expenses, negative online reviews, low resident retention, high employee turnover, or has concerns about best practices, there is certainly an underlying issue below the surface. The following are six red flags that could indicate it is time to consider an operational assessment.
Designing Amenities for Tomorrow’s Modern Residents
Gone are the days of off-campus apartments being highly valued for flashy amenities — tanning beds, lazy rivers, golf simulators and the like. Generation Z, or those born after 1997 and the majority of today’s college students, has shifted the student housing amenity trend back toward practicalities: health, wellness, and academics. Additionally, due to the COVID-19 pandemic, there are heightened concerns around communal interactions, so many communities have been forced to refit communal spaces and amenities to be more conducive to social distancing.
Campus Advantage Awarded Management of 456-Bed Development Near Valencia College
Question of the Month
Leasing, Marketing and COVID-19
Orlando Multifamily Wrap-Up – August 2020
Campus Advantage Adds 456-Bed Vale East Student Housing Community to Its Management Portfolio in Orlando, Florida
Campus Advantage to Manage Orlando Student Housing
Campus Advantage Awarded Management of 456-Bed Development Near Valencia College
Buckeye Village Apartments: Where the manager knows your name
‘We have each other’: Saddled with remote learning, college students create off-campus dorm experiences of their own
Webinar: Move-In is a Month Away! Are Your Student Housing Properties & Portfolios Ready?
Some Student Housing Foiled By Online Classes, Unclear Plans
Lo Robinson, the Property Manager at Campus Vue in Houston, Texas, celebrated her first work anniversary in late May of this year. With 10 years of industry experience under her belt, Lo can say with certainty that Campus Advantage truly feels like home to her. Her positive energy and team spirit fit right in with the motivated, successful, and kind peers that she admires most at Campus Advantage. In her interview, Lo shares her passion for Campus Advantage and admiration of her teammates, and showcases her ability to find the light in the darkest of situations.
PROMOTIONS AND ANNIVERSARIES
Charmaine Young – Accounting Manager
Peter Jbeili – Director of Operational Support
Brian Hunt – Corporate Leasing Specialist
Chenoa Anderson – Regional Manager
Nicole Portugal – Regional Manager
Sarah Johnson – Regional Manager
Joshua Greenleaf – 10 years