A Note from Mike
This year is starting off with a bang for everyone at Campus Advantage. I’m sure you’ll enjoy reading about all of our exciting news in this latest issue of the Campus Advocate.
Our success stems from our strong operational focus and commitment to residence life and student development. Many of us on the leadership team started our careers as resident assistants and worked our way up in the industry. That success is reflected in the communities featured in the Property Spotlight section of this newsletter. You can see how several of our properties have overcome obstacles to become leaders in their markets.
That strong operational focus, combined with our commitment to student development and insiders’ knowledge of the industry, is behind the growth we are experiencing. So far in 2014, we have added five new properties to our student housing portfolio. As part of joint ventures, we currently own 17 properties totaling more than 10,000 beds and manage more than 26,000 beds at properties located in 21 states and over 30 campuses.
We plan to build on this growth in the coming year by acquiring new properties and breaking ground on two development projects in 2015. We will also continue to expand our international presence. This newsletter highlights some of our efforts in Russia, and our international group is also working on other projects in Asia and Europe.
It’s a great way to start our 11th year as a company.Thank you for being part of the CA family and for all that you do.
President and CEO
Property Spotlight: Three Properties that Have Met Market Challenges to Achieve Success
Campus Advantage manages 52 student housing properties in 21 states with a total bed count of more than 26,000. Each of these properties has its own set of challenges that must be met by its staff to achieve target occupancy rates. The properties highlighted below have overcome obstacles that include an aging property, distance from campus, and a property that has yet to open and fully establish itself in the market. Take a look at how Campus Advantage teams have led these properties to success in their markets.
It’s no surprise that Campus Pointe has been voted the #1 student housing property in Kent, Ohio. And even though they are one of the furthest properties from campus, they are currently sold out of apartments thanks to their awesome team of Community Assistants. The staff at Campus Pointe all truly love their jobs and it is evident by the great work they do and the positive word of mouth they get as a result. Rather than waiting until the spring to start pushing new leases, Campus Pointe pushed heavily in the fall and experienced great results. Campus Pointe is proof that a well-trained staff that enjoys going to work can move mountains.
Campus Advantage took over the management of 42North in February 2013. In March, Campus Advantage acquired 42North as an owned property. As of May 15, the property is 22 percent ahead of its prior year leasing numbers, sitting at 78.37 percent pre-leased, which is almost 15 percent above the average pre-lease occupancy for the Tampa market as a whole. General Manager Lori Hussein and her team also have successfully closed out their delinquency rates below 1 percent every month over the last 12 months. In addition to all these successes, the 42North team is successfully planning and executing on almost $900,000 in capital upgrades slated to be completed this year. In addition, the team implemented the Students FirstTM Program and increased their guerrilla marketing focusing on hot spots near USF and the beach.
Located approximately 10 minutes from the Penn State Behrend campus, Hudson Lofts is a brand-new community that will begin serving students in August. The 190-bed property features efficiencies, two- and four-bedroom units, and amenities that are unmatched by other properties in the area. In a competitive market, Hudson Lofts achieved 100 percent pre-leased occupancy for fall 2014 by the end of April. This was accomplished by the street team’s strong presence on campus, using campus athletic events and other activities to build awareness about the property.
What’s New in Residence Life
The 2014 Students First™ Conference will be held June 10-13 at the historic C.O.D. Ranch in Oracle, Arizona. This marks the first time in several years that it is not being held in Austin. The conference has traditionally been open only to resident directors, but this year Campus Advantage is encouraging some properties to also send their leasing managers or assistant general managers.
The conference is designed to prepare staff to be excellent property leaders and to give them the tools needed to fully train their teams in the new-and-improved Students First™ Program. The conference also provides opportunities to network and connect with other Campus Advantage staff and to stay connected with them through social media.
Residence Life Adds New Member to Its Team
Destiny Whitley has joined Campus Advantage’s residence life team as residence life coordinator. She brings with her almost four years of experience in on-campus housing and another four years working for one of the industry’s largest off-campus student housing companies. She attended the GM Conference in February, has already assisted in several on-site trainings, and is helping coordinate June’s Students First™ Conference. Whitley holds a master’s degree in educational leadership from Argosy University.
Residence Life Team Conducts More Than 2,500 Programs during 2013-14 School Year
Campus Advantage’s residence life team conducted 2,682 programs, attended by over 125,000 participants, from August 2013 through May 2014. These programs covered the following areas:
- • More than 160 programs focused on academic success.
- • More than 200 programs focused on civic engagement and volunteerism.
- • More than 220 programs focused on life skills and the LaunchU™ students success program.
- • 80 programs focused on valuing differences.
The remaining programs dealt with community building and sustainability topics.
Campus Advantage Adds New Team Members
In recent months, Campus Advantage has added several new staff members to its Austin corporate office. These include:
Carlos Gonzalez has joined Campus Advantage as director of asset management. Before joining the company, Gonzalez held the role of acquisition manager/portfolio manager at Virtus Real Estate Capital, where he helped lead the efforts to acquire and manage its student-housing portfolio. He has been active in real estate for 12 years, has experience in acquisitions and asset management, and he has participated in the closing of more than $950 million of real estate investments.
Allan Crimer serves as an investment analyst, in which he handles the sourcing, underwriting, market analysis, due diligence, and closing of student-housing assets on behalf of two joint ventures with institutional partners starting with $225 million in equity.
Newest Members of the Family:
Campus Advantage Starts 2014 by Adding Five New Properties to the Family.
In the past five months, Campus Advantage has grown its presence in the student-housing industry by acquiring properties in Tampa, Milwaukee, Indianapolis, and Corpus Christi. The acquisitions were made through partnerships with pension funds serving teachers and employees of city, county, and state governments.
Several of the newly acquired properties are already seeing high occupancy rates as demand for student housing increases. They add 2,168 total new beds to the company’s student- housing portfolio and are just part of the growth the company has seen in the past 12 months. CA’s latest additions bring its number of managed properties up to 52 in 21 states with a total bed count of more than 26,000. The five properties acquired so far in 2014 include:
- • 42North in Tampa, Florida, which serves students attending the University of South Florida.
- • ON50 in Tampa, Florida, which also serves students at the University of South Florida.
- • 2040 Lofts in Milwaukee, Wisconsin, which is located within five blocks of the core of the Marquette University campus.
- • The Avenue in Indianapolis, Indiana, which serves students at Indiana University-Purdue University Indianapolis.
- • Campus Quarters in Corpus Christi, Texas, which is located just a mile and a half from the Texas A&M University-Corpus Christi campus.
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-water mark for new and returning resident leases. Congratulations to everyone, and keep up the good work!
Residence Life Teams Walk to Raise Money for Relay for Life Campaign
Campus Advantage is well on its way of reaching its goal of raising $50,000 for Relay for Life this year. The company’s Residence Life staff has raised $18,538.76 as of April 15, and teams at many CA properties are heading out to their local university’s track and field to walk for 12 hours straight to raise money to fight cancer.
Campus Advantage is a national corporate team partner—and the only student-housing company represented at that level—for the American Cancer Society’s Relay for Life campaign. Each year, CA Vice President of Residence Life Dan Oltersdorf challenges employees to exceed the previous year’s fund-raising goals for the annual campaign. Occasionally, he loses his full head of hair when employees meet his challenge, as he has been known to agree to shave his head bald if the company meets its fund-raising goals.
Relay for Life events are held across the country as teams take turns walking around a local track to raise money for the effort. These events are not only fun for staff but also provide a way for them to market their community by getting into the spirit, decorating the team’s booth, and giving away property-branded swag.
Currently, the three highest fund-raising teams include (as of April 15):
- • Cabana Beach ($3,254)
- • University Crossing ($1,340)
- • Hudson Lofts ($1,331)
Campus Advantage Russia Takes Its Residence Life Program Overseas
Work is well under way at the offices of Campus Advantage Russia (CAR) in Vladivostok as the CAR team provides strategic guidance to help Far Eastern Federal University (FEFU) establish and exemplify a student-life experience that rivals other world-class institutions, while also attracting more international students to the university.
One of the team’s first tasks has been to assist in launching Russia’s first resident assistant program that will start this fall. While this type of program is common at American universities, it is new in Russia. The CAR team has laid the foundation for a full Residence Life program at FEFU, provided training about resident assistant recruitment and selection, helped plan student events, and conducted leadership development sessions for FEFU Student Government. The team also worked with Catalyst in branding the university and creating a new campus identity, which included a mascot, logo, and merchandising and apparel plans.
The CAR team is made up of company veterans as well as several new additions from the Russian Federation. The team has spent the past few months working closely with university officials and OMC Campus Management, which is leading the effort to help FEFU become a great international university.
For many students, CAR team members are the first Americans the students have ever met. That occasion is often worthy of a “selfie”, as CAR team members are frequently asked to pose for pictures with FEFU students.
Congratulations to Our Employees
The following people have or will soon celebrate anniversaries with the company. We’re proud to have them as part of the Campus Advantage family and thank them for their service.
Jerry Schell II
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Jaime Lizarraga Jr.
Shauna Nichole Tisdall
Carlton Edwards Jr.