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A Note from Mike

The Texas heat was a bit late coming to Austin this year, but it has certainly settled in now. While the doldrums of Texas may be slowing everyone now, our company is still moving ahead at full steam. The past few months have been a busy time for us.

In fact, Dan Oltersdorf and I recently returned from a trip to the Middle East to see how student housing and universities operate in the Arab world. It was part of an international study tour organized by several student housing/student affairs trade associations, such as the Association of College and University Housing Officers, Association of College Unions International and NASPA.

As part of our visit to the United Arab Emirates and Qatar, we had the opportunity to meet with administrators of universities in the region. For many of these schools, catering to students from different cultures is just part of their typical day. Likewise, today’s student housing companies and universities often cater to students from a wide variety of cultures, beliefs, customs and religious practices. We have to learn how to meet these students where they are so that we can provide them with services and programs sensitive to their needs.

Closer to home, that same knowledge can be used to help us better serve international students who come to the United States to study. Building that mutual understanding across cultures is even more important in our post-9/11 world. Too often, people fear what they don’t understand. Trips like this help build that understanding and open the door for collaborations and partnerships that know no national borders.

My experience in the Peace Corps instilled in me a firm belief that our similarities to one another are what make us strong. The challenge to each and every one of us – especially those of us in student housing – is to take time to learn about and experience different cultures and new ideas. Only then can we truly serve each of our students where they live, and no matter where they came from.

Back at home, we continue to add new properties to the Campus Advantage family. Recent additions include University House in Manhattan and The Woodlands at Statesboro in Georgia. In August, San Diego’s Suites on Paseo welcomes its inaugural residents as it opens its doors for the first time.

Thank you for all of your hard work. I wish you a productive – and cool – summer.

Mike Peter
President and CEO

Middle East Trip Highlights

By Dan Oltersdorf

Some you may already know – some of you have already seen the video, in fact. In June, Mike Peter and I participated in an international study tour to the United Arab Emirates and Qatar where we visited several universities and met with administrators to learn more about higher education in that part of the world.

The opportunity to visit numerous higher education institutions in the Arabian Gulf region was extremely valuable. The United Arab Emirates and Qatar are in a very unique position to innovate and grow their higher education systems. They are working to move away from an energy-based economy to ones centered on education and information. With this commitment, they have committed to investing heavily in education, establishing experts and bringing in experts from around the world to assist.

For me, a theme of the trip was contrast. On one hand, these countries are steeped in tradition and culture, but they also are very young as relatively new countries. Growth and innovation is seen everywhere. You could see the contrast in the men and women clothed in traditional cultural attire donning designer shoes and sunglasses and typing on their iPhones and tablets. You also could see the contrast in historically inspired architecture against a backdrop of imposing, world-renowned skylines.

Initially, I saw these contrasts as contradictions because I was looking at things from a very Western point of view. As I learned more about our surroundings, grew to understand more of the culture and connected with the people, I realized these contrasts are not contradictory at all but rather a fascinating and functional convergence of the past, the present and the future.

We also had time on the trip to take in the culture as we explored cities, ate local food and were treated to incredible hospitality from our gracious hosts. On the deserts outside of Dubai, we even enjoyed a “Desert Safari,” which included “dune bashing” – racing four-wheel-drive vehicles on sand dunes, camel rides, entertainment and food. If you haven’t already, check out the video at

The cultural experiences of the study tour provided a new lens to look through when it comes to working with international students in the United States and to the work we are doing abroad. We are excited to use the lessons learned on this trip to add to our focus on equipping our team members to continue to improve our services as we work with students from around the globe. I look forward to sharing with all of you in the coming months the knowledge gained on this trip and how we can use it to better serve our residents.

Property Spotlight: The Woodlands at Statesboro


The property, The Woodlands at Statesboro, serves the students of Georgia Southern University and is located in Statesboro, Ga. Exclusively consisting of two-bed/ two-bath units, the property includes 184 units and 368 beds and is 99 percent occupied. The property is within easy walking distance to the university and includes amenities such as a clubhouse, swimming pool, fitness center, basketball and sand volleyball courts, business center and a billiards room. In addition, units feature washer/dryer, crown moldings, walk-in closets, track lighting and a breakfast bar.

The Woodlands at Statesboro is the first property acquired under the $75 million second round commitment that CalSTRS has made with Campus Advantage. CalSTRS is one of the nation’s largest state pension funds. CalSTRS’ investment manager for its investment in the venture is Heitman Capital LLC.

"We are excited to add The Woodlands to a strong portfolio of leading student housing communities nationwide," said Michael Orsak, senior vice president of investments for Campus Advantage. "This property serves a university that is seeing tremendous growth in its enrollment, which means there is great demand for student housing. The Woodlands two-bed/ two-bath unit offerings, small community feel and pedestrian access to campus creates a property that is perfectly positioned to deliver great returns on the investment.”

C.A.R.E. Team Feature

When a crisis strikes that threatens the health and well being of residents or a property and its operations, Campus Advantage’s team of experts are on hand to step in and provide immediate assistance to onsite staff in responding to the incident.

C.A.R.E. — Campus Advantage Rapid Engagement – is a committee created in 2007 to support properties in crisis situations, such as resident death occurring on property, violent crime or catastrophic weather event. The C.A.R.E. team provides a coordinated, comprehensive and organized response to emergency situations that may occur on properties.

“Events can unfold quickly when a crisis event occurs,” said Dan Oltersdorf, vice president for residence life. “We created the C.A.R.E. to provide additional support to our onsite staff in cases in which they might be overwhelmed. The primary goal of the team is to minimize the impacts to residents of these types of incidents.”

The situations that the C.A.R.E. team members are trained to respond to are those of human violence or acts of nature that pose a threat to residents or to the property itself. In every situation, the safety and well being of the resident is the primary concern of the C.A.R.E. team. The team also ensures that all of the policies and procedures are followed throughout the entirety of an incident.

The C.A.R.E. team is equipped to handle all aspects of an incident. Team members are trained to handle first response by enacting Campus Advantage’s mobile emergency service in order to better ensure the safety of all staff and residents on a certain property.

Part of the team’s job is to work with onsite staff to keep residents informed of what has occurred and provide them with information they can use to protect themselves in the event of an emergency. This is done through text alerts, email, calls to residents or flyers, which are often used to provide follow-up details after an incident has been dealt with.

The C.A.R.E. team also provides crisis communications support, assistance with responding to media inquiries about the incident and resident support, as well as assisting with therapy for individuals who may have experienced trauma.

Alex Hildebrandt: The Woman behind the Numbers

Alex Hildebrandt

Alex Hildebrandt came to Campus Advantage in 2007 looking for an adventure. A job recruiter informed her about an accounting position in a new company that was growing very fast. That company was Campus Advantage.

Alex is now an accounting manager for the company. After six years at Campus Advantage, her responsibilities have grown. She works with new properties to establish reporting systems and processes, she trains general managers in finance and reporting, creates the budget template used by all properties and is also the accountant for four of the properties at Campus Advantage. Alex is also a member of the policy and procedures team for accounting and finance at Campus Advantage.

Questions and Answers with Alex:

What is your Alma Mater and what did you study there?
Westchester University of Pennsylvania where I studied Accounting.

What has been your favorite thing about Campus Advantage so far?
The faith that they have in your work — they expect you to do what you’re supposed to do and have high expectations. It makes me want to achieve.

What is the best part of your job?
It’s challenging, and I get to do a lot of problem solving. Every day is something new. Accounting is usually the same thing every day, but I get to work with new properties so every new property is a challenge.

What are some lessons that you’ve learned while working at Campus Advantage as an accountant?
I’ve learned that if you want to accomplish something you just have to focus and do. You just have to pick up the phone and do. You never know what is happening on the other side – they could be dealing with something crazy on their end – you have to take those things and solve the problem. Also, I’ve learned that you have to enjoy working with your co-workers, to care about them and to care about their success.

What are some things that you like to do for fun?
I like to do karaoke. I’ve been trying to get them to have a karaoke party here! I like to take dance lessons. My husband has a motorcycle, and I’m going to teach myself to learn how to ride it.

If you could be a superhero, what would you want your super power to be?
Telekinesis. I’d like to be able to clean my house by just thinking about it.

What is one of your favorite quotes?
“There are those that look at things the way they are, and ask why? I dream of things that never were, and ask why not?” by Robert F. Kennedy

What are three things that people would be surprised to know about you?
English is not my first language. I was born in Puerto Rico and moved to the United States when I was 8. I will be married for 20 years in September. I’m also a cancer survivor.

Would you rather want free Starbucks for the rest of your life or free iTunes?
I want the free Starbucks. Some days the Starbucks is the only thing keeping me awake!

Leasing Rock Stars of Campus Advantage

Campus Advantage would like to recognize some of the top performers who have displayed great achievements so far this year. These individuals have shown some of the highest ratios of signed leases from this leasing season. President and CEO Mike Peter has dubbed these individuals the “Leasing Rock Stars” of Campus Advantage.

Performing well during the spring leasing season is key for student housing properties. Campus Advantage continues to set the industry’s high water mark for new and returning resident leases. The individuals identified below are part of the reason for the success Campus Advantage has seen over its 10 years of operation.

Windsor Hills

Robyn Vezina



Heather Cox


Williamsburg on the Wabash

Timothy Huang


The Park at 1824

Kaitlyn Berchem


Suites on Paseo

Paris Buss


Titan Court

Kathrine Ewoniuk



Christine Ridsdale


21 Rio

Chelsea Kneblik


The Union

Geneveive Thompson


The Belmont

Brittany Leggett


318 Commons

Heather Fretty


Campus Advantage adds five properties to its student housing portfolio during the spring

Campus Advantage (CA) has recently added five properties to its portfolio of student housing communities. These communities add nearly 3,000 beds to CA’s portfolio. The properties include:


University Edge, Hattiesburg, Miss.

The property serves students attending the University of Southern Mississippi. Amenities include a clubhouse, fitness center, planned social activities and outdoor pool and volleyball court.



The Union, Corvallis, Ore.

The property serves students attending Oregon State University. Located just two blocks from the university, The Union’s amenities include a car share program, community and edible gardens, covered bike parking and a study room and fireplace lounge.



University House, New York City (Manhattan), N.Y.

This property will be the premier student accommodation located in Manhattan, serving multiple universities and colleges. The project is located in the East Village neighborhood and is surrounded by an active student zone.



The Suites on Paseo, San Diego, Calif

This new property will serve students attending San Diego State University when it welcomes its first residents in August. It is only the second of CA’s properties that offer full food service with meal plan options.



The Woodlands at Statesboro, Statesboro, Ga.

This property serves the students of Georgia Southern University and is the first property acquired under the $75 million second round commitment that the California State Teachers’ Retirement System has made with Campus Advantage.


This brings the total number of properties in CA’s portfolio to 51 communities in 19 states with a total bed count of more than 26,000.


Relay for Life


Campus Lodge

The Campus Lodge, in Tampa, Florida, Relay for Life team is showing off their spirit. The residents of Campus Lodge, students from nearby University of South Florida and Hillsborough Community College raised $3,100 for Relay for Life, which took place at the University of South Florida.



Highland Square

The Highland Square tent provided plenty of snacks for their team throughout the night. Relay for Life was held at Lyceum—The Circle Historic District in Oxford, MS and the Highland Square team raised $1,350.



Cabana Beach Gainesville

The staff at Cabana Beach Gainesville participated in a Relay for Life at the University of Florida. The team had a fun night of inflatables, snacks and photo booths. The staff at Cabana Beach Gainesville raised $2,158.53 for Relay for Life.



Dobie Center

Dobie Center in Austin, TX participated in Relay for Life at the University of Texas this year. They raised a whopping $6,912 for Relay for Life.



Automatic Lofts

Staff and students at Automatic Lofts in Chicago, Illinois, conducted a raffle to raise funds for Relay for Life. The staff of Automatic Lofts obtained more than $1,000 in donated merchandise from Chicago businesses as prizes for the raffle, which included merchandise from Reebok, CorePowerYoga and Solo Salon. The winning residents — students from the Illinois Institute of Art — are pictured with their prizes. Automatic Lofts raised over $700 for Relay for Life.