Campus Advocate Summer 2021
Happy summer! I’ve taken a lot of time to reflect over the past few months as we transition into this post-pandemic world and all I can say is, “What a year and a half it’s been!” At times, it felt like a marathon with no finish line in sight, and now here we are. To say this was a challenging time is an understatement, but with each other’s support, encouragement, and inspiration, we faced those challenges head-on and became an even stronger company and industry than before. I couldn’t be prouder of the perseverance and collaboration the student housing industry, as well as our team, clients, and residents, showed over the past year. We wouldn’t be where we are today without each one of you, and I applaud everyone for your resilience and flexibility — all of which helped get us to where we are today.
As with every summer, our Operations team and on-site staff have been working hard to welcome our new and current residents this fall. These teams have been full steam ahead, working tirelessly these past few months to secure leases and create the best move-in and living experience for our residents. Our goal this year is to provide our residents with the normal living experience they’ve come to appreciate and look forward to every year while also keeping various safety protocols in place. I cannot thank our teams enough for the endless hours they’ve put into creating a home away from home for our residents, and I wish them all the best this academic year.
If you’ve been part of the Campus Advantage family and followed our journey, you know that our people are what I value the most. For the past 18 years, I’ve had the privilege to watch one of our leaders, Dan Oltersdorf, inspire everyone around him and become a dedicated asset to not only our company but to our partners and residents. Needless to say, I was beyond proud to announce his promotion this spring to Chief People Officer, where he will oversee our new People and Culture division. This new division is built on the strong foundation that Dan has created with our resident and employee experience, so this is a very natural fit for him. I know he, as well as myself, look forward to driving CA’s holistic people experience forward and continuing to inspire and support the lifelong learning, innovation, and growth of our team members and company. Congratulations, Dan!
I also want to give a big round of applause to our Consulting team which, as of this summer, has conducted more than 300 consulting projects. Consulting is such an important piece of this industry, especially for those who are new to student housing or are interested in expanding to new markets, and providing sound consultation plays an instrumental role in the planning and operation of a new facility. Despite all of the challenges of the pandemic, our team worked and continues to work tirelessly to assess the viability of planned, new student housing development projects by conducting a thorough and thoughtful study and assessment of each market. This allows them to turn around and provide a recommended approach for each specific market, resulting in better-performing assets for our clients. You can learn more about our consulting services and sign up for a consultation.
As we continue to move into the second half of this calendar year, I hope you are just as confident as I am about the bright future ahead. I wish everyone a very enjoyable rest of your summer and continued success for the remainder of the year.
Mike Peter, President and CEO
Consulting: We’re Here to Help!
Are you new to student housing or an experienced developer with a site identified for a proposed student housing development? Do you own an underperforming student housing property? Are you considering acquiring a student housing asset? As one of the top 10 student housing operators and consultants in the nation, Campus Advantage’s consulting team brings more than 40 years of combined consulting services experience and has conducted more than 300 successful consulting studies to date. While working in tandem with both the developer and architect, Campus Advantage’s experienced student housing consulting team provides new and experienced owners, developers, and lenders with design and development consulting services that include meticulous recommendations based on recent development trends and boots-on-the-ground involvement.
If you’re interested in hiring a student housing development consultant or just want to learn more about our offerings, contact us today.
Welcome, Aaron Wells
This spring, we welcomed Aaron Wells to our Campus Advantage team as Vice President of Finance.
With more than 13 years of experience in financial and operational development, Aaron brings a wealth of expertise to our company and leadership team, and is already demonstrating the impact of his results-driven approach. We’re excited to have Aaron on board and look forward to watching him continue to make an impact on our company’s initiatives and investments.
Property Spotlight: Forum Tallahassee
Located in Tallahassee, Florida, Forum Tallahassee is a 264-unit, 785-bedroom community offering modern one-, two-, and four-bedroom floor plans. Amenities include a resort-style pool, grilling stations, an outdoor volleyball court and fireplace, a game room, study areas, and a state-of-the-art fitness center. Residents are minutes from Florida State University, Tallahassee Community College, and Florida A&M, and steps away from coffee shops and dining options. The property is currently 100% pre-leased for fall 2021 and focused on providing residents the best experience during their time at the property.
Employee’s Take on Work-Life Balance
By Rebekah Aunko, Senior Regional Leasing Specialist
Because so many things impact us, my definition of work-life balance evolves! For me, it means trying to find the middle ground where I am working in a healthy mental and physical work environment while also ensuring my personal cup of life is filled. I love what I do, so some of my professional life flows into my personal life — and that’s OK! I have found that this work-life balance middle ground is ever-changing, and I also accept the fact that there might not be a perfect work-life balance, so I chose to give myself grace.
The balance is important to me because I need to remain mentally tough and healthy to support the Campus Advantage (CA) teams in any and all tasks at hand. To provide the teams with the level they deserve, it’s up to me to find the right balance so I can come each day charged and ready to tackle the day!
One thing I do to manage a healthy professional-personal relationship is I just take the time to reach out. It’s as simple as it sounds. A lot of us are in the same headspace, so if I can take 5-10 minutes each day to check in on someone or just send support, maybe that will hit home with them and they will do the same. There is nothing I could accomplish, no email or call I could complete in such a short time, so why not take that moment for something that matters — the teams and people around me.
I love that CA has a policy regarding no emails before 7 a.m. or after 7 p.m. to ensure that we unplug, unwind, and do what matters most: putting our needs first. The leasing team also encourages us to take time for ourselves, and I can always count on a message or text from Lindsay Brown encouraging our entire team to shut our computers down and go relax. We hold each other accountable for maintaining a healthy lifestyle and always have each other’s backs to help spread the work/effort!
When I’m not working, I love spending time with my husband and our bulldogs! I unwind in the summer by going to the lake. When not at the lake, you can always find me with my family, being a semi-pro fairy garden builder, trying to find a wall I haven’t decorated in my house, or just cuddling up with my Frenchie, Blanche, on the couch.
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. Learn more about our investment fund opportunity here.
Our Latest Content
Should Student Housing Developers Move Forward with Projects Paused or Delayed in 2020?
Student housing managers, owners, and operators in the middle of a new development project, or planning to start a project in 2020, were faced with challenges no one could have predicted at the onset of the pandemic. Suddenly faced with a mountain of uncertainty, lenders wondered: Would investing in a development prove profitable in a year where it was questionable if students would even return to school in the fall? What developmental modifications will need to be made to account for social distancing and sanitization best practices? How much would rising construction material prices affect a development’s progress?
The Importance of Design Consulting for Your Student Housing Development
During the design phase of a new student housing development, there are several decisions that are imperative to creating a timeless asset that will appeal to both residents and future stakeholders. Among those important decisions are two critical determinations: ensuring that there is adequate space and storage, and that the layout is functional for future use. While many architects in the student housing space are equipped to provide basic suggestions, a seasoned student housing operator bears an essential perspective based on experience and on-site trials and tribulations.
The Importance of Integrated Technology, from Leasing to Move Out
Those who have been in student housing for any period of time know that one of the most exciting things about it is that it’s always changing. New means of communication and technology plus ever-evolving resident needs, desires, and expectations create an industry that requires being at the forefront of innovation.
The Benefit of Managing Multiple Assets Within the Same Market
Campus Advantage currently operates more than 49 properties, within 34 different student housing markets throughout the country. Of those 34 markets, the company operates more than one asset in 9 markets, and they are some of the most successful properties within the portfolio. 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 that is already successful within that market, or to hire a firm that will only be focused on one asset per market?
Dan Oltersdorf — Chief People Officer
Eliza Cuny-Valdetaro — Sr Property Accountant
Kaitlyn Vicars — Human Resources Manager
Edwin Perez — National Assistant Director of Facilities
Kyle Way — Business Intelligence Analyst
Sarah Slife — Operations Specialist
At Campus Advantage, we truly believe our team is the core of our success. And when it comes to seeking out new team members, we look for people who will contribute to that success and who love to learn, enjoy innovating and testing the latest technologies and trends, and are passionate about making raving fans of our residents and clients.
Over the past year, despite the challenges the pandemic presented us and the industry, we continued to hire employees who embody and embrace the Campus Advantage dynamic personality, core values, and vibrant culture, and have helped drive our overall success. In just a short time, they’ve contributed to thriving student communities that drive value for our partners — and have fun while doing so!
Do you know a motivated, energetic individual who wants to be part of a company dedicated to developing and inspiring employees to achieve their full potential? Or who would be a great fit for the student housing industry? Check out our open positions and send them our way!
How Kyle Way Embodies our Company Value of Success
Kyle Way is a Business Intelligence Analyst at Campus Advantage, and he perfectly embodies the role, citing the company value of Intelligence as the one that most accurately represents him. His job entails providing IT support for the entire company as well as creating databases, reports, and dashboards that each team relies on to measure success, making his role critical in ensuring that the company stays at the forefront of the industry. He shares more of his personality with us and what he likes most about working at Campus Advantage.
Brenda Wall is Committed to Success
Brenda Wall has been with Campus Advantage for only three short months, but during that time, she has greatly impressed with her commitment to her team’s and site’s success, her positive attitude, and her dedication. As the Leasing Manager for 101 Center in Arlington, Texas, she is responsible for filling occupancies. Through managing her team and spearheading fresh ideas to engage and attract current and future residents, she helps drive financial success for the property while ensuring a great living experience. Brenda discusses with us what first attracted her to work for Campus Advantage, what motivates her each day, and what she admires most about her team members.
The Third-Party Management Industry Grows and Evolves
Making the Grade in Today’s Student Housing Environment
CHROs Optimistic About Economy, More Hiring
COVID-19’s impact on multifamily amenities
Campus Advantage Hires Aaron Wells as Vice President of Finance
Campus Advantage Promotes Dan Oltersdorf to Chief People Officer
Student Housing Business’ Question of the Month