Campus Advocate Fall 2023

Mike Peter, founder and CEO of Campus Advantage.

Another year has come to a close — a pretty significant one for this company and team. As we look ahead to the next one, I want to take time to reflect on the journey we’ve been on and the plans we have for an exciting 2024.

This year, Campus Advantage celebrated our 20th anniversary — two decades of historic milestones, company growth, and serving our communities across the country. Seeing this organization grow from a scrappy little startup back in 2003 to the industry-leading name it is today has been such a rewarding experience. Of course, it couldn’t have happened without the dedicated team members that make it all possible. In this issue, you’ll read a few articles from both on-site and corporate employees that reinforce what we’ve always known: Even though so much has changed in 20 years, our core values and commitment to our mission has remained the same.

This year also brought us a very successful turn and move-in season, anchored by the theme of “Envisioning the Future.” All of us at Campus Advantage enjoy being part of, and making an impact on, this exciting time of our residents’ lives and helping create a sense of community that sets us apart from other student housing providers. I want to personally thank our teams for the time and energy they put into making move-in such a positive experience for our residents earlier this fall.

2023 also brought quite a few exciting changes at the home office: the successful transition of our management systems to Entrata, an industry-leading software platform; the completion of our inaugural Future Lives Here Scholarship; the awarding of a DEI grant from the National Apartment Association; the opportunity to travel and speak at InterFace, NMHC, and other conferences; a company-wide rebranding; and so much more.

As I look ahead to the new year, I’m so energized for what’s to come. In early spring 2024, we’ll hold our annual Momentum Summit (formerly Experience Conference), FOCUS Conference, and CAmmy Awards ceremony. These events are the perfect opportunities for us to empower and inspire our team to continue our mission of creating successful communities.

In the meantime, from myself and the entire Campus Advantage leadership team, we wish you a joyous holiday season and a new year filled with peace and happiness.

Mike Peter, President and CEO


Dan Oltersdorf

As Chief People Officer, Dan Oltersdorf oversees the People and Culture division of Campus Advantage — the driving force behind learning and development, human resources, and the overall “people experience” of the company. Dan is also responsible for a wide range of internal processes, from employment and benefits to ongoing training and policy development. Because of this, Campus Advantage’s core values play a vital role in his day-to-day work. And after 20 years with the company, they also serve to inspire him as a leader.

Join us for a discussion on the importance of strong core values — and how companies and brands of all sizes can integrate them into their culture, workplace, and processes.


Michael Hanley

As Senior VP of Facilities and Development Services, Michael Hanley provides senior-level oversight of all maintenance; furniture, fixtures, and equipment (FF&E); and CapEx programs. He works closely with operations to ensure Campus Advantage standards are in place when managing large CapEx projects. He also provides consulting on new development projects during the planning and design phase. Michael began his career in student housing in 1988 as a resident assistant and has had a 30-year career in public and private student housing management and operations, in numerous roles, across the United States and internationally.


Entrata Summit

In late summer, corporate team members from our Leasing and Marketing, Operations, and Management Systems departments traveled to Salt Lake City to attend the 2023 Entrata Summit — a week full of exciting insights, powerful keynotes, new connections. And they had the opportunity to attend a Weezer concert! On the heels of a successful transition to Entrata’s software this summer, the team returned home energized and excited to continue to build our partnership into 2024 and beyond.



We are pleased to announce Campus Advantage was selected as a recipient of the National Apartment Association (NAA) 2023 Innovation in Diversity, Equity and Inclusion (IDEI) Grant.

The IDEI Grant is awarded to NAA member associations, property management firms, supplier partners, and related groups that have innovative ideas to advance DEI within their own organizations. With the funding provided by this grant, we plan to launch the Campus Advantage #YOUBELONG Campaign — a company-wide initiative that will offer DEI scholarships, outreach, and empowerment to the 18,000+ individuals who reside at CA communities across the country. Stay tuned in the coming months for more information about this exciting initiative.


Lindsay Brown

Lindsay Brown joined Campus Advantage in 2017 as Vice President of Leasing and Marketing, where she oversees the Leasing department as well as all leasing and marketing activity across the Campus Advantage property portfolio. She brings more than 20 years of marketing and leasing experience in the student housing industry. Her experience includes large-scale implementation of marketing campaigns across a portfolio of properties; developing training in customer service, reputation management, sales skills, and resident retention; and implementing guerrilla and digital marketing solutions to increase traffic to communities. In this article, she shares her insights on how Gen Z has shifted marketers’ approach to student housing, and provides advice for staying in front of this rapidly changing audience.

Notable Coverage

The Campus Advantage team was recently featured in the September/October issue of Student Housing Business magazine, as well as on, including:

Dan Oltersdorf, Chief People Officer: “Focusing on Student Experience and Addressing Mental Wellness” – Read more

Scott Barton, Chief Investment Officer: “Question of the Month” (page 26) – Read more

Employee Spotlights

Cody Burch

Cody Burch Jumps In to Help On-Site Teams Achieve Success

Cody Burch is a recent addition to the Campus Advantage team but has already made a huge impact with his work during this year’s turn season. As a Traveling Operations Specialist, he works alongside community teams to ensure business objectives are being met, oversee day-to-day operations, and create a positive living and learning experience for residents of the community. Cody leverages his resourceful nature and problem-solving skills to achieve positive results with a personal touch — and makes sure those he comes into contact with feel as valued as he has. Read on to learn more about Cody’s favorite moments with CA so far, the core value that best represents him, and the organization he’s passionate about outside of work.

Jamir Card

Jamir Card Is Adaptable in All Situations

After his tenure as Leasing Manager at Arcadia on the River for two and a half years, Jamir Card now serves as both Leasing Manager and Assistant Property Manager of The Beacon in Auburn, Alabama. His unique dual role allows him to oversee a lot of different responsibilities, from resident engagement to social media and marketing. Hardworking and passionate, Jamir is always asking himself and his team what needs to be done to make this situation right — and then not stopping until he achieves that goal. Read on to learn more about Jamir’s time at Campus Advantage, a memorable CAmmy Awards night for his team, and what motivates him to get up for work every day.

Melissa Hinton

Melissa Hinton Creates a Culture of Support and Inclusion

As Regional Vice President of Operations, Melissa Hinton oversees all aspects of her portfolio of properties and their on-site teams, including managing hiring and training, meeting financial targets, and maintaining a high level of resident satisfaction. Leveraging her tenured operations experience with Campus Advantage and passion for guiding and creating future leaders, Melissa’s influence can be felt in her communities, the corporate office, and beyond. We sat down to chat with Melissa about her favorite moment at Campus Advantage, her recent work as an ambassador for the DEI Committee, what motivates her to come to work every day, and more.


Did you catch the CA team members at the NMHC Student Housing Conference in October?

This year, members of the College Student Mental Wellness Advocacy Coalition came together to share insights on how hundreds of thousands of residents approach their everyday college life. This panel was moderated by Dan Oltersdorf, Campus Advantage’s Chief People Officer, and encouraged an open dialogue about the importance of mental wellness and its impact on students.

In a session titled “Diversity, Equity and Inclusion (DEI) is Driving Positive Business Performance,” Lindsay Brown, Senior VP of Leasing and Marketing, shared her insights on how DEI is imperative to the student housing industry as well as some key initiatives that can make a big impact for companies. Visit our DEI page to learn more about Campus Advantage’s commitment to diversity, equity, and inclusion.


Campus Advantage made a donation to the Hi, How Are You Project in honor of our partners’ help in creating successful communities where people can thrive. This contribution, along with our ongoing work as a founding member of the College Student Mental Wellness Advocacy Coalition will help continue to remove the stigma around mental health and create residential environments where students thrive.


The Future Lives Here Scholarship

On December 6, Campus Advantage and Catalyst Marketing will announce their second annual Future Lives Here Scholarship. This scholarship opportunity captures our combined mission to create successful communities and invest in the futures of students for years to come. This year’s scholarship is open to anyone interested — not just Campus Advantage residents — and applicants will be asked to answer three short prompts in written, audio, or video format. The $5,000 scholarship will be awarded in April 2024 to one full-time student for the upcoming school year.

Our inaugural scholarship winner, Kira K., had this to say: “This scholarship has been a major blessing to me and my family because I have multiple siblings. It’s hard when finances for college have to be stretched among multiple siblings within a big family, so getting a scholarship like this is huge for me. It really helped to take some of the financial strain off while in my senior year.”

We’re Hiring!

Do you know a passionate, motivated individual who wants to be part of a company that encourages, supports, and inspires employees to achieve their full potential? One that is committed to cultivating and developing a diverse and inclusive culture? A culture that also believes in taking our work and our communities, but not ourselves, seriously? At Campus Advantage, our team is the core of our success. We hire based on experience and character, keeping an eye to diversity, equity, and inclusion for everyone. We seek out new team members who are passionate about making raving fans of our residents and clients — and having fun while doing so! If you know someone who fits this description and would like to be part of a team who loves what they do, check out our open positions and send them our way!


Do bid and offer actually know each other? We anticipated a great deal of transaction activity in the student housing space this fall as two years’ worth of planned dispositions would likely try to transact and take profits. Interest rates had other plans though, and borrowing costs are now close to 7% depending on the exact day, depressing prices. Most sellers are content with the rent growth they are receiving to push another year if necessary. This is reflected in the fact that both conventional and student housing transaction volumes are down roughly 75% compared to a year ago. Wells Fargo stated at a recent conference that its student housing lending volume was down 90% on the year. Most buyers are reluctant to endure periods of negative leverage extending beyond a year, especially for a prospective five-year hold.

A hint of a sense of urgency is beginning to appear for some owners with loan maturities in the coming months as prospects for attractive refinancings appear slim. Similarly, many owners with floating rate notes are not covering their debt service and might not have capital patient enough to wait much longer. In general, however, those situations are relatively rare in stronger markets as rent growth helped to minimize concerns.

Interest rates continue to be volatile, with both 5- and 10-year Treasury rates touching 5% briefly in mid-October. Both rates have retreated to just less than 4.5% but are still more than 100 bps higher than what was available at times during the past year. The Federal Reserve seems to believe inflation is coming under control, and a Fed hike in December appears unlikely.


After the strongest overall student housing leasing season for the 2023–2024 academic year, owners are feeling confident and asking for more. Asking rents are up 10.9% compared with this time last year, and pre-leasing occupancy has not been compromised. Nationally, pre-leasing occupancy sits at 36% according to College House, 1.8% ahead of this time last year.

We remain bullish on the long-term prospect for student housing relative to other real estate classes and will continue to buy opportunistically in this environment.

Scott Barton
Chief Investment Officer