The Campus Advantage Quarterly Newsletter – CAMPUS ADVOCATE SPRING 2020
First and foremost, I hope this finds you and your loved ones safe and healthy in the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic. Like others, my thoughts are with everyone affected — the many communities and individuals impacted, as well as the healthcare workers on the front lines helping and protecting others.
These are extraordinary times we are experiencing, and each and every one of us is being tested in unimaginable ways. While it has been a time of challenge and uncertainty for all of us, I am filled with hope and pride as I witness our communities come together to support one another, encourage one another, and find ways to lift each other up during this unprecedented time.
I want to personally thank each and every one of our team members as they continue to invest their time to keep the wheels turning on site at our properties as well as on a corporate level. Your efforts make all the difference, and I applaud you. I am humbled and grateful for the commitment you have shown.
At Campus Advantage, our main focus has been, and will continue to be, ensuring the health and safety of our residents and staff. We continue to follow the recommendations of the authorities in which our properties reside. We also set up a resource website where we share recommendations on how to stay healthy, and provide updates and information based on the evolving situation.
I am also grateful for the successes and milestones we were able to celebrate during the start to 2020, including our annual FOCUS Conference, as highlighted in this edition of Campus Advocate. My hope is that the pride and inspiration felt throughout that week of collaboration and celebration can stay with our team in the weeks and months ahead as we adjust to this new normal and look ahead to the future.
To conclude, I am hopeful that brighter days are ahead. I wish you and your family good health during these extraordinary times.
Stay safe and healthy,
President and CEO
At the end of February, we were fortunate enough to hold our annual FOCUS Conference, which gave us the opportunity for our General Managers (from each of our communities) as well as Regional Managers, Vice Presidents, and Operations departments to come together and plan for new and exciting ways to equip, empower, and develop our team and properties so we can continue to achieve our mission of creating successful communities. It also gave us the chance to celebrate property, team and individual successes and achievements over the past year during our annual employee awards event, the CAmmy Awards.
We are very thankful we had the opportunity to spend this time together and celebrate team accomplishments before the current pandemic temporarily changed our day-to-day lives, and we are already looking forward to next year’s event.
Property Spotlight: Forum at Denton
Located in Denton, Texas, Forum at Denton offers a multitude of perks: an indoor basketball court, free yoga and Zumba classes, and the biggest hot tub in Denton. This modern-style property has fully furnished one-, two-, three-, and four-bedroom options that include a 42” HDTV, paid internet and cable with speeds up to 1 gig, valet trash, and a $30 cap on electricity. Forum at Denton is on the university shuttle route, just 1.5 miles from the University of North Texas and Texas Woman’s University.
Employee’s Take on Work-Life Balance
By Josh Truscott, Accounting Manager
Work-life balance is very important to me because I strive to be the best leader and employee I can be at my job, but I also want to feel supported when it’s time to unplug so I can enjoy downtime away from the hustle of the work week. Work-life balance means that my job gives me the ability to live life to its fullest and spend quality time with my family.
There must be support from leadership for this balance to work well. Campus Advantage supports work-life needs by hiring leaders and building teams that all strive for the same balance in their lives. The leadership group is open to listening to things going on in your life and encourages you to find a way to make the balance between personal commitments and career commitments work.
In my free time, I like finding new places for my family to explore. We love hiking with our dog and try to find new hiking locations each month to challenge us physically and keep things fresh. I also try to hit at least one music festival per year with my wife, and we’re about to start including the kids in those experiences, as well.
Finally, on a more micro-level, at our house, we have a rule that when we take family time and go do fun things that we turn off the “little red bubbles” (phone notifications) so we can enjoy things to the fullest and really be present. I also try to put down my emails and devices once I leave the office to pick up the kids, and if needed during busy periods, I’ll check back on things after they go to bed. All of this has been instrumental in maintaining work-life balance and being able to invest in both my work and family.
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.
Our Latest Content
Demand for student housing is directly driven by the number of students attending college and thus driven by demographics and not economics. Based on trend lines from past economic downturns and other factors, we know that student housing is a recession-resilient industry and can be classified as countercyclical. In this blog, we dive into the three primary reasons why, even in times of economic trouble, student housing may be considered a worthwhile opportunity for investors. Read more.
Over 5,500 current and incoming residents at 64 different Campus Advantage properties recently volunteered their time to educate our management teams on what they want in their living experience in our annual “Customize Your Experience” survey. Their responses support what research has informed us about this new generation of students (labeled Gen Z, or those born 1996-2009) — that they are ambitious, career-driven and health-conscious. Like every year, this year’s survey provided beneficial insights into the daily lives, motivations and interests of today’s residents — insights that we’ll incorporate into our unique and industry-leading Students First® Experience. Here are a few of the standouts. Read more.
Throughout various times of the year, Campus Advantage teams up with our marketing partner, Catalyst, to create a variety of innovative student housing campaigns designed to drive renewals and/or encourage leases at our properties. Whether created for an individual property or a portfolio-wide audience, campaigns are geared around a leasing special, a giveaway, an incentive, or general brand awareness and designed to be engaging for today’s students. Here are a few of our favorite campaigns from 2019! Read more.
Many student housing owners perceive operators who oversee multiple assets within the same market as having a potential conflict of interest, and skepticism has long been present when considering an operator who is already performing within a market. Is the better strategy to hire a student housing management company who is already successful within that market, or to hire a firm who will only be focused on one asset per market? What if the management firm has ownership interest in certain assets and not in others? How will employees ensure the property is a priority over other properties it manages within that same market? These are all valid questions, but what Campus Advantage has found time and time again, is that the more properties operated within the same market, the more market control an operator has within the space. Read more.
Jazmyn Lopez – Accounts Payable Specialist
Charmaine Terania – Senior Accountant
Roger Hsu – Accounting Manager
With this March marking Ariel’s first full year at Campus Advantage, she reflects on her time thus far as a corporate leasing specialist, expressing gratitude for the past and excitement about what the future holds. Ariel spends 90% of her time traveling to Campus Advantage properties to increase their number of occupancies and pre-leases, taking on a variety of roles including anything from acting as leasing manager to conducting market surveys. Ariel fills in wherever the need may be with confidence, expertise and a stellar sense of humor. She shares more about her role and time at Campus Advantage with us today.
Campus Advantage’s Vice President of Project Management, Raka Sandell, will celebrate her 6th year of wearing many different hats at the company this March. On top of overseeing project management initiatives that keep us all organized, Raka also manages stress levels at Campus Advantage by offering monthly yoga and meditation classes. As a person who takes great pride in setting a high bar for herself, her family and her peers, it’s no wonder that Raka’s thoughtful and collaborative nature shines both at work as well as at home as a wife and mother of three.
Brian Parks’ dedication to ensuring that a job is done correctly the first time around makes his accomplishment of never leaving a work order open for longer than 24 hours all the more impressive. With the support of his hardworking team and the help of his expansive iTunes library, Brian works diligently to keep the Burnham 310 property in pristine condition and ensure smiles on the faces of the students who reside there.
Welcome to the Family
Campus Advantage, in partnership with Stark Enterprises, recently welcomed two Gainesville, Florida student housing properties to its property management portfolio: Campus View Place and Lyons Corner — both located within walking distance of the University of Florida campus.
Campus View Place is a 45-unit, 112-bed property and contains fully furnished two- and three-bedroom apartment flats. Apartment amenities include gourmet kitchens with stainless steel appliances, spacious living rooms with tile flooring, bar-top seating, custom-designed cabinetry, high-speed internet, full-size washers and dryers, and private balconies and patios. The community also features on-site parking with scooter parking options, easy access to public transportation, elevator access to all floor levels, and 24-hour emergency maintenance.
Lyons Corner is a 28-unit, 116-bed property and contains two-, three-, four-, and five-bedroom townhome floor plans. Each unit is fully furnished and features modern finishes including crown molding, designer paint colors, wood cabinets and granite countertops. Unit amenities also include private balconies, master suites with individual baths, spacious walk-in closets, washers and dryers, spacious living rooms with wood vinyl flooring, and bar-top seating. Community amenities include reserved parking options (including scooter parking options), 24-hour emergency maintenance, and easy access to public transportation.
As co-owners, Campus Advantage will oversee property management and Stark Enterprises will provide asset management services on behalf of their private investors.
Learn more here.
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