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THE AUSTRALASIAN

SRMJ

2014 CONFERENCE 8 - 11th April 2014

PP324494/0062

Crown Conference Centre, Melbourne, Victoria, Australia

Cash, Culture, Collaboration:

Tackling Today’s Challenges in University Housing  The Australasian Student Residences Management Journal  OCTOBER 2013 

Volume 8 No. 2


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THE AUSTRALASIAN

SRMJ

AACUHO FEATURED

The Australasian Student Residences Management Journal is published by Adbourne Publishing in conjunction with AACUHO, the Australasian Association of College and University Housing Officers Inc.

AACUHO

5

Welcome to 2013

6 Cash, Culture, Collaboration 10

Supporting Students

14 University Hall student accommodation development

19 Centenarian’s peace

dream brings smiles to students’ lives

22 International Residential Exchange

24 2013 International Student Affairs Study Tour: Arabian Gulf

Adbourne PUBLISHING

18/69 Acacia Road Ferntree Gully VIC 3156 PO Box 735, Belgrave,VIC 3160 www.adbourne.com

32 Long Road to Homestay Standards

38 Marketing the residential experience

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 ollege fees vs what you could C buy for $50k

29 ACUHO-I

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46 Product News

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PRODUCTION Emily Wallis T: (03) 9758 1436 E: production@adbourne.com

Know your standards

Marketing Tania Lamanna T: (03) 9500 0285 E: tlamanna@bigpond.net.au

Administration Robyn Fantin T: (03) 9758 1431 E: admin@adbourne.com

DISCLAIMER Adbourne Publishing cannot ensure that the advertisers appearing in The Australasian Student Residences Management Journal comply absolutely with the Trades Practices Act and other consumer legislation. The responsibility is therefore on the person, company or advertising agency submitting the advertisement(s) for publication. Adbourne Publishing and The Australasian Student Residences Management Journal reserve the right to refuse any advertisement without stating the reason. No responsibility is accepted for incorrect information contained in advertisements or editorial. The editor reserves the right to edit, abridge or otherwise alter articles for publication. All original material produced in this magazine remains the property of the publisher and cannot be reproduced without authority. The views of the contributors and all submitted editorial are the author’s views and are not necessarily those of the Australasian Association of College and University Housing Officers, or the publisher.

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AACUHO FEATURED

President’s Message W

elcome to this spring edition of the Student Residences Management Journal (SRMJ).

A key theme revolving around the higher education industry is the “student experience”. As housing professionals, AACUHO members make an extremely important contribution to the student’s experience while they are studying at University. This can be through practical considerations such as providing somewhere to live, through to providing communities in which students grow, learn and make lifelong friends. At the recent AIEC conference (Australasian International Education Conference) in Canberra, I sat in on a panel discussion with representatives from peak industry bodies, including a representative from CISA (Council of International Students Association). The conversation turned to the importance of students being able to access suitable accommodation that is available, secure and affordable and the challenges that students face. Our AACUHO members go to extraordinary lengths to provide accommodation that is all of the above and more. We offer the “value add” such as providing welcoming communities, opportunities for students to develop leadership skills, opportunities for students to mix in a diverse culture and meet others from all around the world.

Which takes me to the theme of the next AACUHO Conference, Cash, Culture, Collaboration: Tackling Today’s Challenges in University Housing to be held in Melbourne, 8 – 11 April 2014. The conference will be preceded by the popular International Study Tour. I encourage you to submit a paper, enter a submission to the 2nd Annual AACUHO Awards for Excellence and register for the conference now. And finally, a special AACUHO Networking event is being held in Brisbane on Friday 13 December. More details are on page 7. If you are a QLD member, or in the area at that time, we look forward to welcoming as many members as possible. Not an AACUHO member? Join up now and start connecting. Contact the AACUHO Executive Officer on execofficer@aacuho.edu.au. Enjoy the rest of 2013 and look out for the next edition of SRMJ early next year. Edwina Ellicott AACUHO President Marketing and Occupancy Manager University of Wollongong

This edition of SRMJ includes articles that cover all of these areas and a big thank you to this month’s contributors including AACUHO members Andrew Renfree, Melissa Suckley, Laura Burge, Colin Marshall and Chris Massey. ACUHO-I member, Mallory Sidarous, Illinois University Edwardsville has also generously made her article “Marketing the Residential Experience” available, which was first published in ACUHO-I’s Talking Stick. We also have a number of other special interest topics with a contribution from David Bycroft from Australian Homestay Network. All of these articles demonstrate how housing professionals contribute to the student experience through providing modern and safe accommodation, innovative development programs offered to students living in residences, and through global opportunities and collaborations.

AACUHO The Australasian Student Residences Management Journal

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AACUHO FEATURED

Cash, Culture, Collaboration:

Tackling Today’s Challenges in University Housing Crown Conference Centre | Melbourne, Victoria, Australia

Conference:

8 – 11 April 2014

Study Tour: 4 – 7 April 2014 (commencing in Tasmania and ending in Melbourne,Victoria)

T

he Australian student housing sector is operating in an exciting and challenging time with significant external changes impacting us. We have a new government, changing legislation, a fluctuating Australian dollar and we are attracting new international student markets. Never before have we operated in such a dynamic and competitive environment. Many of us are undergoing structural and administrative changes and a number of new operators are coming into the market. We are being asked to do more with less. As an industry we recognise the value and support that we can provide each other through collaboration, the importance of establishing a positive culture within our residences and workplaces and how our challenge is to do more with less cash. The conference theme is a result of feedback from industry professionals, what they are experiencing

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and where they need support. The program will seek to address these issues through keynote presentations, member papers and our popular concurrent sessions. Importantly, the conference will put delegates in touch with other industry professionals.

Come and Collaborate with your Colleagues We look forward to welcoming over 150 professionals from the university housing industry and expect our colleagues from all around Australia and the world to once again attend.

Conference Committee: This year’s conference committee represents existing AACUHO committee members and AACUHO members. Our international colleague, Esther Lee from City University in Hong Kong, also on the committee will bring an international perspective to the program and we look forward to her involvement. Our committee will be working hard to put in place a dynamic, fun and educational program that will address the theme, provide a mix of topics and sessions and highlight the best features of Melbourne.

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AACUHO FEATURED Our conference committee members include: Edwina Ellicott, University of Wollongong, NSW (AACUHO President) Melissa Suckley, Flinders University, South Australia (AACUHO Vice President) Ali Norton, La Trobe University, Victoria Kasia Quail, Deakin University, Victoria (AACUHO Committee member) Mark Gordon, Trinity College, Victoria Frank Hofhiens, International House, Victoria Esther Lee, City University, Hong Kong

The Program

Dinner which includes the 2nd Annual AACUHO Awards for Excellence and the Closing Conference Dinner.

The AACUHO Conference 2014 will feature engaging keynote presentations, concurrent workshop sessions, a round table session and a variety of social events including a Welcome Reception, Opening

From practical workshops through to large scale plenaries, this year’s conference is sure to provide the knowledge, tools and networks that

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AACUHO FEATURED

will support the professional development of all staff working in post-secondary education accommodation. Always a highlight of the program, we are now accepting members’ presentations along with concurrent sessions which will cover four “streams”: Hot Topics, Wellbeing, Business Operations and Administration. Go to the AACUHO Conference website listed below for details on how to submit your member paper or to participate in a concurrent session. The committee is also planning a number of sessions specifically designed for students living in residence to attend. More details on this to come soon.

2nd Annual AACUHO Awards for Excellence Based on the success of the Inaugural AACUHO Award for Excellence in 2013, these awards will be held again in 2014, during the AACUHO Conference. The Awards include: 1. Fran O’Brien Award 2. Joe Massingham Meritorious Service Award 3. Michael O’Leary Award for Innovation 4. AACUHO Scholarship 5. ACUHO-I New Professional Award 6. AACUHO Business Partner of the Year 7. College/University Housing Operation of the Year 8. ACUHO-I Best Paper Award (to be presented at the Closing Dinner) 9. Award of Life Membership

Receiving an award is a positive affirmation of the very important contribution student housing professionals make to a student’s experience at University. We encourage you to enter. For more details contact the AACUHO Executive Officer or go to the 2014 AACUHO Conference website, details listed below.

International Study Tour Once again being organised by our study tour leader extraordinaire, Kasia Quail, this very popular study tour will commence in Tasmania. Tasmania is renowned for its stunning landscape, divine food, excellent wine and of course the tour will visit the world class student accommodation at the University of Tasmania. From there the tour will make its way to Victoria and visit student accommodation in various locations ending in Melbourne. More details to follow soon...

The Location What’s not to love about Melbourne? The conference will be held at the Crown Conference Centre on South Bank. Centrally located in cosmopolitan Melbourne on the South Bank precinct of the Yarra River, the Crown Conference Centre is a stunning venue. Located right on the doorstep of an abundance of fine dining choices, shopping, stunning architecture, and amazing cultural and sporting sites. The City Circle free tram provides easy access to the heart of the city, while standard public transport will deliver you to iconic areas such as St Kilda, Carlton and Brunswick. A comfortable walk places you quickly at the Shrine of Remembrance, MCG, theatre district and the National Gallery.

But the important thing to do now is to: Diarise: 8-11 April 2014 – 2014 AACUHO Annual Conference: Cash, Culture, Collaboration: Tackling Today’s Challenges in University Housing

Register online at: www.aacuho2014.epicconferences.com.au Start planning your member presentation, concurrent session and/or 2nd Annual AACUHO Awards for Excellence submission. See you in Melbourne.

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The Australasian Student Residences Management Journal Copyright © StarRez, Inc. & StarNet Systems, Pty Ltd. All rights reserved

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Supporting Students 9-5 pm and Beyond Laura Burge | Residential Education Manager | Jesse Volbeda | Project Manager

Introduction

G

oing to university has in many respects become a rite of passage for the youth of today. Indeed, more and more students, from a diverse variety of backgrounds and experiences have the opportunity and desire to attend university. However, for many, the experience once at University can be daunting, lonely, and at times, quite overwhelming. Not all successfully navigate the journey, and few working within higher education would disagree that recent years have seen increased incidences of mental health concerns, alcohol and substance abuse, threatening and violent behaviour, general transition issues and an overall rise in crises requiring support and at times, professional intervention. For accommodation providers, with students not only studying, but also calling the University their home, the issues faced are frequently compounded by an ‘office hours’ mentality, whereby essential support services, including University based Counselling and Risk Assessment Teams, are primarily only accessible between the hours of 9-5 pm. As a result, accommodation staff, and in some cases students appointed in leadership roles, are subsequently left to manage incidents occurring on-site as best as they can using their own skill set and the resources they have available. In light of ongoing concerns regarding the risks associated with responding to and

managing such incidents, in 2013, Residential Services at La Trobe University trialled the implementation of a new model for after-hours support. Six months on, this article reviews the effectiveness of the new system in meeting the needs of the residential student body and the University, and provides recommendations for future planning which may be of benefit to other university accommodation providers facing similar difficulties.

Background Residential Services, La Trobe University, is one of the largest university owned accommodation providers in Australia, housing approximately 2,400 students, the bulk of which are based on-site at its two main campuses in Melbourne and Bendigo. As with most residential accommodation sites, the majority of students choosing to live on campus are in their first or second year of study, are frequently first generation, and have relocated from rural or regional locations to attend university. As a result, many remain on campus over weekends and occasionally during longer semester or mid-year breaks. To support this large residential community, a team of dedicated staff, known as Residential Supervisors, live on site, facilitating and managing individual residential sites and a suite of specific portfolios canvassing academic, social engagement, community standards and health and wellbeing programs. Such staff, four at the Melbourne Campus and two at Bendigo, work flexible hours as required to meet the needs of the student body, and also undertake responsibility for responding to after-hours call outs as required. Members of the general residential student body are also selected in leadership roles for the duration of the academic year, and play a key role in fostering diverse, healthy and inclusive communities. In total, approximately two hundred students across the Melbourne and Bendigo campus undertake leadership roles which support residents’ health and wellbeing (Residential Assistants (RAs)), organise a diverse range of events and activities (Social Reps) and provide tailored mentoring and learning support (Academic Mentors). Up until the start of 2013, students in the RA role were also expected to undertake additional duties, responding to lock outs and incidents which occurred after hours and over weekends.

Adopting Fresh Approach In light of the increasing number, and at times, severity, of incidents occurring after hours, and ongoing concerns regarding the risks

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AACUHO FEATURED associated with student leaders and staff responding to call outs, in late 2012, the management team within Residential Services implemented a new after-hours model to be trialled at the Melbourne campus in 2013. Firstly, extended trading hours were introduced for the general administration office. Casual staff were appointed to work between the hours of 5-8 pm from Monday-Thursday, assisting with rent payments, mail collection and general student enquiries. Secondly, student leaders were removed from the responsibility of duty after hours, instead replaced by the establishment of a new Night Manager position, charged with the remit of acting as a first response in the event of a crisis, assisting with after-hours events, and providing welfare support and referral to emergency services when required. To provide coverage throughout the week, one primary individual was appointed to work shifts from 8-4 am during weekdays, with support from a rotating team undertaking a 7 pm-3 am shift over weekends. As part of the role, a nightly report by the Night Manager is submitted to the Residential Education team after each shift, detailing events, activities and incidents which have taken place, student details, actions taken and any follow up required.

3. Facilitation of a 24 hour staffed operation significantly reduced risks associated with the previous model in place, including concerns regarding Residential Supervisors (already working day shifts) and student leaders responding to call outs and managing critical incidents.

Finally, Residential Services consulted and negotiated with the wider University security team to ensure coverage was provided across all other hours. To avoid confusion as to whom residents should contact in the event of a crisis or incident, a centralised after-hours contact number was created and heavily promoted amongst the student population. From a management perspective, the implementation of such a system provided three key benefits: 1. Enhanced customer service to residents and the wider University: ensuring an immediate and appropriate response to residents in need, extending the availability of office services to students requiring support after 5 pm, an enhancement to the service particularly provided to International students who frequently arrived after hours, a more visible and active security presence around the residences, and a general improvement to student safety and welfare. 2. Improved efficiency for Residential Services operations: extending trading hours assisted in the completion of additional administrative tasks (responding to emails, phone calls, mail collection rental payment), subsequently reducing workload for day staff, and the addition of a Night Manager provided an improvement in the quality of incident reporting after hours.

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encouraging, perhaps as much a reflection of the individual appointed in the role, as the role itself. As early as April, unsolicited feedback from one student leader included: “I know several of us student leaders had concerns at the beginning of the year about how the system would work. Even though it is still early in the year I have had to call the Night Manager on several occasions, both for noise and intoxicated students, and every time he has managed to get here within five minutes. He has always been professional, but in such a way that he doesn’t make it seem like he is just doing a job. I have seen him calm down students that have been worried about intoxicated friends being put to bed and he always makes sure that everything is under control before leaving again. At this point I have nothing but praise for the Night Manager and the job that he has been doing.”

Evaluating Success With the after-hours model having now been in place for six months, Residential Services has utilised two key communication channels to seek valuable feedback regarding the Night Manager role and its impact and contribution to the student community.

As a second method of securing feedback on the new system, residents were requested to provide feedback via the Residential Services’ annual survey. Over 25% of students who completed the survey provided commentary and once again, the responses provided highlight the way in which students have embraced the new system:

Firstly, general feedback has all times been encouraged from the residential body and more so, from the student leadership group. Impressively, the feedback received has been, all times, positive and

• “We love the Night Manager. I feel as though the system works really well with such a highly trained person who can connect with all of the students.”

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AACUHO FEATURED • “Very prompt, diffuses situations quickly.” • “The Night Manager has been fantastic. He is really helpful but also not judgmental and you never feel bad when asking for help.” • “The Night Manager is a great addition to the team. It makes me feel safe knowing that he is available if something is to happen.” • “Although I haven’t had any issues that have meant I’ve needed to deal with the Night Manager directly, I think he does a fantastic job. It’s not an easy or cosy job by any means but from what I’ve seen, he does a great job of respecting everybody and looking after them. He’s friendly and approachable, and doesn’t give off a ‘’drinking is bad and I’ve got no tolerance’’ demeanour. I would feel absolutely comfortable coming to him if one of my friends was in trouble for any reason – and I think that’s what’s most important in a Night Manager.” • “I have dealt a few times with the Night Manager and each time I feel safe, comfortable and cared for. Each separate time, the Night Manager was both professional and yet made himself extremely approachable to young members of the residential community. I would have no issue calling the Night Manager as any problems arise in future.” Additionally, Residential Services has seen a significant improvement in the quality and content of reporting regarding incidents which have occurred after-hours. Whilst it is difficult to qualitatively measure this impact, follow up of incidents has greatly improved due the accessibility of reliable and detailed information being provided through daily Night Manager reports.

Reviewing and Revising Now nearing the conclusion of 2013, and as part of a wider organisational change process, Residential Services is once again reviewing its after-hours operations. A major change for 2014 will see the Residential Supervisor staff team no longer expected to provide an after-hours support role or subsequently live within on-site accommodation. As a result, and based on the successful introduction of the Night Manager role at the Bundoora campus, coverage after-hours will subsequently be provided via further extended office hours and the ongoing roll out of the Night Manager position to cover all remaining hours.

Key Considerations There are a number of key considerations and learnings which have emerged from the implementation of the new after-hours support model at La Trobe University.

stages of development and the model’s introduction, it is clear that many have now embraced the advantages of having a dedicated and trained staff member on site to assist with events, activities and responding to after-hours call outs. Residents now call the Night Manager number knowing that they will get the support and help they need. Finally, it is important to recognise and ensure that a Night Manager must work in conjunction and close cooperation with the Residential Services staffing team (particularly Residential Education in terms of following up on incidents or concerns which arise after hours), and wider university departments including Security, OH & S and Risk. This requires regular appraisal and review of responses to specific incidents and nightly reports, and consultation with all parties to determine where improvements or changes need to be made to better meet the needs of all stakeholders.

Conclusion Whilst the model now in place at La Trobe has been well received by the residential student population and staffing team, greater review and evaluation of the use of the service is still required. In 2014, Residential Services plans to seek further feedback from students as part of the annual survey, and provide additional avenues (for example, Open House forums) for residents to voice opinions. Above all, one of the most telling signs of the value of the new role has not only been the positive support from the student body, but from the Residential Education staff who are no longer required to respond to phone calls in the dead of night. As one Residential Supervisor commented, “… knowing that the Night Manager is awake and alert and can respond in an instant’s notice with clarity and good judgment, means that I can sleep much easier at night, and perform my role during the day to a much higher standard.”

First, it was apparent very early that key to the success of the Night Manager role was an obvious need to appoint an individual, and team of back-up staff to fill weekend shifts, who possessed both the requisite security and welfare skills, qualifications and experience to be able to respond appropriately in the event of a serious incident or emergency, whilst being able to assist residents with confidence and compassion in their home environment. Secondly, student buy-in and support for the changes has also been paramount to its success. Whilst scepticism was apparent in the early

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University Hall student accommodation development Chris Massey | Director UWA Student Residences

University Hall (formerly Currie Hall) is The University of Western Australia’s (UWA) own residential hall, where over 750 students of all ages, interests and cultural backgrounds live, socialise and study together, enjoying all the benefits of a collegiate community.The addition of 514 new residences is the most significant event in the history of the Hall since its founding in 1946. 14

F

ollowing the successful NRAS (National Rental Affordability Scheme) application for 1000 dwellings, UWA, HASSELL and Probuild worked together to plan the development of the new buildings and facilities. Construction commenced in October 2011 and less than one and a half years’ later, in March 2013, University Hall welcomed its new residents.

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The new facilities include over 370 studio rooms (21 sqm), 138 one-bedroom apartments (38 sqm) including 21 universally accessible apartments. In addition, the development has several common spaces, amenity areas, function and conference facilities, a café and administration facilities.

“It can often be daunting moving out of home to a smaller place. However the rooms at University Hall are spacious allowing for a homey feel with a hint of independent living with their own kitchen and bathroom. It has definitely been amazing, forming great friendships with people from all corners of the globe.” 

A key component of the project throughout its development was working within the complexities of a fully operational student college and ensuring that the environment and amenities continued to remain at a suitable level of comfort for residents. Paramount to the design of the project was the student experience along with creating spaces that would promote student engagement and foster a sense of community. At the forefront of the vision for University Hall was to build a residence that respects and supports students by providing high quality, accessible and affordable accommodation close to campus. University Hall provides opportunities for students from a variety of backgrounds, particularly disadvantaged students, to access on-campus accommodation and experience the many benefits of collegiate living.

Aaron – postgraduate student, NSW The rooms provided at University Hall are first-class with a modern fit-out and quality finishes allowing students to relax and enjoy their own space. The new studio and one-bedroom apartments are all air conditioned and offer a self-contained kitchen, generous study space and private bathroom. The one-bedroom apartments also boast a separate living and bedroom area. Students are provided with the perfect environment to feel at

The design principles reinforced the existing collegiate atmosphere and created new spaces that are flexible, welcoming and engaging. The new entrance and landscaping provides a gateway to UWA’s Crawley campus and creates strong linkages to the adjacent student residential colleges. It also creates a new meeting place for students to get together and interact. The design also considered the student’s appreciation for the natural environment, with the retention of trees of significance and three major courtyards which offer students a variety of spaces for study or recreational activities.

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AACUHO FEATURED

home with plenty of personal space to relax and unwind. Additional features that contribute to residents’ comfort include extras like balconies, double-glazed windows for quiet study, and wireless access to the University’s IT system. While the rooms provide students with privacy and comfort, the common areas are a key component of the development designed to encourage student interaction. The design focuses on the creation of communities to foster a sense of belonging. Residents are able to enjoy multiple common rooms and lounge areas; a fully-equipped games room with pool tables, ping pong and foosball; multi-purpose function rooms; media rooms with Foxtel television; computer rooms; music and art rooms; landscaped courtyards and al fresco areas; and, a café providing quality food and coffee. These facilities supplement the existing accommodation and refurbished Dining Hall to provide residents with many options to connect with other students University Hall also supports the University’s strong endorsement and acceptance of students with a disability, and its commitment to meeting their needs by providing an environment of equal opportunity, appropriate access and support. University Hall offers accessible accommodation options for people with disabilities with 21 universally accessible

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apartments included within the new development. It also provides stateof-the-art universally accessible bathroom and changing place facilities. The landscaping of University Hall was a key objective in the design phase and expanded upon the ‘university in a park’ theme. Well-designed landscaping created great outdoor spaces for students including passive and active recreation areas, social gathering points and areas for students to enjoy quiet reflection. It includes more than 8,000 new trees and plants and features timber reclaimed from the site. Seating, banquet tables and informal meeting places were built into the landscape for students to get together. In the southern courtyard, a series of five metre long banquet tables create an ideal gathering area for picnics, meetings or study groups.

“I just want to say that so far my experience at UniHall has been really great. The facilities are lovely and I really appreciate them. I really love my room so much, as well as my house, L house. I would highly recommend any of my friends coming to UWA or my friends looking for accommodation to consider UniHall. Thank you so much.” 

K. Supramaniam – 4th year student

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The Australasian Student Residences Management Journal

*Illustration purposes only E&OE

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To provide a variety of transport options for students, the development includes 182 car bays and secure bicycle storage for up to 200 bicycles. Students are also afforded easy access to public transport services on Mounts Bay Road, directly in front of the new ground floor café. The popularity of University Hall speaks for itself, with the Hall currently fully occupied and a large waiting list for 2014. The feedback received from residents has been outstanding with many impressed with the quality of the rooms, fit-out and facilities. Students are supported by a dedicated and professional Residential Life team who live on-site; consisting of 28 Resident Advisors, three full time Resident Life Coordinators, a Deputy Principal, and a Principal. The ResLife team are there to support and assist students in everyday life at University Hall as well as organising a range of programs and activities which run throughout the year. All programs are based on five broad themes consisting of Academic; Health and Well-Being; Transition to First Year; Cultural; and, Community Outreach. In addition, the Resident Club Committee coordinates an active social calendar. The quotes throughout this article provide a snapshot of students and parents’ comments about the newly opened University Hall.

“As a parent, I appreciate the thought that has gone into the accommodation to enhance student life, from the double glazed windows to the landscaping outside. It is a credit to everyone involved. I think UniHall accommodation will be at the top of every student’s list from now on.” 

S. Crowe – parent


AACUHO FEATURED

Centenarian’s peace dream brings smiles to students’ lives 

at the University of Wollongong Edwina Ellicott | AACUHO President, Marketing and Occupancy Manager, Accommodation Services, University of Wollongong

U

nited States philanthropist Kathryn Wasserman Davis chose to celebrate her 100th birthday in February 2007 by committing US$1 million for 100 Projects for Peace and therefore starting the Davis Projects for Peace. An accomplished internationalist and philanthropist, Mrs Davis said “I want to use my 100th birthday to help young people launch some immediate initiatives – things that they can do during the summer of 2007 – that will bring new thinking to the prospects of peace in the world.” Typically accessed by colleges and universities in the US, International House at the University of Wollongong recognised this initiative as a perfect match to their own “Global Wellbeing Starts Here” mission. “We are about promoting global well being by enabling our residents to be intercultural leaders. Intercultural leaders understand cultural differences and help others to understand their differences and build international friendships,” said Alison Hemsley, Head, International House.

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“Back in 2008, our students put together an amazing submission, and they were successful! said Alison. “This was incredibly exciting, as our students were the first students in Australia to ever be awarded a grant. The $10,000 was put to good use by enlightening the Australian public of the situation in East Timor. They did this by bringing two East Timorese artists and a collection of art from the Arte Moris School to the Illawarra region from 18-31 July 2008. The result was fantastic. We had exhibitions in local schools and in the Illawarra community and the artists had a terrific time. It was a culturally enriching experience for everyone concerned.” Now fast forward to 2013... Each year since 2008, students from International House, University of Wollongong have applied and been successful on a regular basis in receiving the $10,000 grant. And 2013 is no different. This year the grant is being used to make people smile, in the SMILE GARDEN.

display, we have had booths on campus in a busy student area. We’ve had cameras on hand to take the photos and we charge each person wanting to participate $5. We have had students, staff, kids get involved, and have even had people wanting photos of their pets included.” Once all the photos were collected, The SMILE GARDEN was put together and the exhibition was held on the UOW Campus, during National Mental Health Week (7 October to 14 October 2013). Research shows that smiling is literally contagious and that via mimicry, people unconsciously manoeuvre their facial muscles into a smile, offering the smiler several therapeutic and health benefits such as boosting the immune system, increasing positivity, reducing stress and lowering blood pressure. Now that’s something to smile at!

The SMILE GARDEN will be created by tying printed copies of smiling faces to tree branches across campus, creating a world’s 1st hanging garden of smiling faces. The aim of this event is to obtain 1,000 smiling faces, with all money raised going towards National Youth Mental Health. “In this era of the “selfie” it’s not too difficult to get students to have their photos taken,” said James Walsh, student leader from International House and project coordinator. “Each week in the lead up to the

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international residential Exchange

ANDREW RENFREE | AACUHO Committee Member, Manager Residential Life, UB Living, Student Connect, University of Ballarat

It started from a conversation at the 2012 AACUHO conference in Adelaide and our “cross table” idea has developed in to a “cross Tasman” journey for a number of staff and RA’s.The benefits of the AACUHO conference are well regarded to all who attend as the preeminent Australasian opportunity to engage with likeminded colleagues from around Australia and the globe, but why should it end there? An outcome of this year’s AACUHO conference was the opportunity to strengthen ties “across the ditch” and so began the development of an international residential exchange programme between Victoria University in Wellington New Zealand, and the University of Ballarat in Victoria Australia.

J

ohn Dance is the Manager of Accommodation Service at Victoria University and as the Manger Residential Life at University of Ballarat, we discussed the potential of co-hosting residential assistants (RA’s) at our respective institutions during the AACUHO conference closing dinner. Aiming for the summer semester break, we thought an exchange program that borrows ideas from the AACUHO study tour could be expanded upon to incorporate the RA’s, and from there, the idea has taken off. From these early conversations, we now have the dates locked in for a group from Victoria University to visit Ballarat first, and then return with a group of UB’s RA’s to visit Wellington in return. The aim is to provide personal and professional development for Residential Student Leaders by delivering a low cost Australia-New Zealand residential experience in the summer trimester. We hope to provide a development opportunity for new and returning members of the residential support team that fosters relationships through the exchange of ideas, experiences and our shared industry perspectives. The cultural and social benefits will reward those RA’s who attend and we obviously hope their adventure is an enjoyable one.

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The program itself will involve a number of phases including a study tour similar to those attached to the conference, a cultural experience, a recreational opportunity and a city experience. By utilising the local university’s resources we hope to provide a direct benefit to our institution and residential support staff ’s skill set through an experience that shapes a deeper understanding of their role as well as their place within the larger residential industry. The study tour will incorporate some local residences including the hosting University’s accommodation (where the group will be living during their stay). Cultural experiences will include local museums and attractions that highlight the regions’ charms as well as cultural perspectives from the host organisation’s staff. Recreational opportunities might include activities ranging from ‘tramping’ (that’s a bushwalk in Australia) to some rock climbing in the Grampians or surfing along the great ocean road. Numbers are limited for the initial trial but these could easily be expanded in the future. The cost for participants is limited to flights, insurances, some meals and personal expenses but the programme costs and accommodation are covered predominantly by the host institution. The RA’s have been chosen for their active engagement as a returning RA, or as a new RA coming in to the role for the first time. We hope the program can add to their university experience but importantly to add to the overarching value in engaging within the residential community and taking on a leadership role. From here it’s all systems go in preparation for our respective guests alongside our usual residential roles, but we are certainly looking forward to the culmination of our efforts so far coming to fruition in December. We plan to provide an update on how the program transpires in the next SRMJ and no doubt we’ll be keen to discuss our adventures at the Melbourne Conference in 2014.

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2013

International Student Affairs Study Tour:

Arabian Gulf Doha (Qatar) | Abu Dhabi, Al Ain, Dubai (United Arab Emirates) Melissa Suckley | AACUHO Vice President, Associate Dean, Flinders Living, Flinders University

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AACUHO FEATURED

In June, I was fortunate to be able to visit Qatar and the United Arab Emirates (UAE) as a participant in the 2013 International Student Affairs Study Tour. Co-hosted by ACUHO-I, ACUI (Association of College Unions International) and NASPA (Student Affairs Administrators in Higher Education) the tour gathered 26 participants from within the student affairs and higher education sector, with representation from USA, UK, Canada, Barbados, South Africa, Australia and Brazil. Over a 12-day visit we were immersed in culture, learning and progress, and were able to see higher education thriving in this context.

O

verwhelmingly, what I came away with was that students are the same the world over, they just have different influences. Walking through campuses, passing groups of students, we saw boys or girls sitting together, talking, sharing information on their phones, whispering, laughing – the same as happens in Australia.The only difference in many campuses being that higher education in Qatar and UAE is, for the most part, segregated – so we rarely saw boys and girls sitting together while at University.This demographic still has its fair share of rule followers, rule breakers and risk takers – it simply manifests itself differently in what is a segregated, traditional educational context.

such as these. Even in the state-run universities, where facilities were perhaps more meagre, levels of financial support, scholarships and amenities are on the increase. Nationals in both countries can access state-run University courses without the burden of tuition fees and are exposed to a global classroom as they learn with their expatriate colleagues who come from throughout the Gulf Region and as far afield as Africa and Eastern Europe. There were presentations and discussions which covered every element of student services; understanding Higher Education in the context of Islam, dealing with Millennial Generation students, disability support, counselling services, residence life and housing services, financial assistance, academic progress & attendance, dealing with parents... the list goes on. There was always a similar conundrum that we could discuss, always an issue that we could relate to. And what I learnt was to ask more questions of my students, especially when they come from a culture I am unfamiliar with. The ease with which cultural/religious needs are seamlessly integrated into the Higher Education systems of Qatar and UAE illustrated how much more I can do for international students at my

Higher Education in the region is growing rapidly. I was amazed at the amount of money being funnelled into the system by Governments; at a time when Australia, USA, UK and similar developed countries are having funding streams reduced or removed, and when it could be said that Higher Education is being undervalued in those countries, it was refreshing to be in a place where the opposite was occurring. In both Qatar and UAE we heard about the focus on Higher Education being core to the Governments’ work to transform from “resource economies” to “knowledge economies”. In Doha we visited “Education City”, a collection of US “branch campuses” that have set up in the Gulf Region (among them Carnegie Mellon, Northwestern, Texas A&M, Georgetown, to name just a few!). The scale of their buildings and the facilities available to their students was overwhelming – marble floors, cavernous student spaces, integration of technology, sustainable energy practices. Many of us came away wishing for spaces

The Australasian Student Residences Management Journal

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AACUHO FEATURED

residence. This does not mean neglecting Australian culture, as so many international students want that experience. It means enquiring about what I can do to make this foreign land not so foreign. For my Islamic students, this means offering a room for a group Iftar supper during Ramadan and displaying prayer times in our Community Centre. Simply by making these small efforts it invites students to share their home culture with us, making our residences all the richer for it. Scattered amongst our campus visits were a number of cultural opportunities, this included the Islamic Museum of Art in Doha and the Palace Museum in Al Ain, mosque visits in Doha and Abu Dhabi, concert attendance at the Qatar Philharmonic Orchestra, shopping and haggling in the Souqs (markets) of Doha and Dubai, dune bashing, ascending the Burj al Khalifa (tallest building in the world), and so many delicious and interesting dinners that I was wishing for stretchy pants! Combined with the generous hospitality of our hosts, I came away with a better understanding of, interest in, and affection for both countries. I hope to return to Qatar and UAE so that I may continue my cultural education, and I look forward to seeing what is in store for Higher Education in the region in years to come.

“The theme of higher education in the Arabian Gulf is blending old and new worlds. At each new location during our 12-day tour, Qatari and Emirati hosts practiced the ancient Bedouin tradition of serving dates and Arabic coffee to revive us from the desert heat and then traded Twitter handles with us. Men dressed in crisp white thobes and women in flowing black abayas gave us tours of new resident halls that boast marble flooring and digital whiteboards outside every single-occupant room. The juxtaposition of the old and new worlds can be seen everywhere. Although the buildings and the technological innovation for academic programs are sparkling new, national universities still practice customs like separate gendered education, which has been a cultural priority in the Arabian Gulf for centuries. These countries have discovered incredible modern wealth from natural resources in the last 50 years. The citizens are trying to reconcile having the highest income per capita in the world while also preserving cultural values. One of my colleagues on the trip said that Doha, Abu Dhabi, and Dubai are, “Trying to become London in a minute.” The progress that took London, Rome, and other western metropolises centuries to accomplish, Qatar and the UAE are trying to do in less than 30 years. The newfound prosperity

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“During the study tour, we spent a lot of time doing things to contextualise higher education. Context means understanding a bit more about Islam and local customs to make sense of why several universities have separate male and female campuses. Context is seeing the skyline of Dubai from the tallest building in the world and gaining a better appreciation of the larger national strategic plans of which higher education is part. Context is interacting with older Emirati, and recognising that they want the best for their children and grandchildren, while living in a country that is quickly becoming foreign (much more global) to their parents. Context is visiting a segregated (by gender) university campus in the morning only to see total mixing and typical teenage interactions at a mega-mall in the evening. The growth and change in Qatar and the U.A.E. comes with a host of internal contradictions. Context is being confused about why women wear the abaya, hearing from some women that they are proud of it and from others that they would rather not have to wear it. And finally, context is recognising that under all the differences that lay on the surface, students and student affairs are pretty much the same everywhere: we all face similar issues, have similar responses, and care a great deal about student success. We saw some amazing campuses and at each one the story seems to be similar: higher education in the Gulf region is growing rapidly and improving quality aggressively. Institutions are seeking accreditation of both academic and student affairs programs and are looking to catapult up world rankings. Governments here have made education, and especially higher education, a top priority and are literally throwing money at it. They are also designing universities from scratch, which gives them the freedom to create amazing learning environments. All of this is happening at a time when many governments in the West are defunding higher education and treating it as more of a private rather than public good. If these trends continue, we are rapidly approaching a time when international students from the Middle East will have no reason to attend a school in the West, and when many students from the West seeking top-notch education will be best served by looking beyond their own borders. Higher education in the Gulf cannot be ignored, and we should all pay a little more attention to it.”   

Brock Richardson – Student Success Specialist, University of Alberta, Canada (first published in The Bulletin, Vol 81, Issue 5, ACUI, September 2013)

has inspired the federal governments to build colleges and universities that focus on globalised education for national and international students. Our delegation visited 6 national universities and 7 American branch campuses. Student affairs professionals at these institutions are taking best practices from western higher ed to make the Arabian Gulf a global academic hub. The federal governments recognise that their natural resources will not last forever and are investing the current wealth in the educational advancements of future generations. STEM fields are particularly emphasised with hope that the Arabian Gulf will become leaders in technology and energy sustainability. One university had a mural that displayed visual stories about desert life in 130 degrees Fahrenheit summers before air-conditioning, surviving on nothing but dates and goat milk, and the preciousness of fresh water. These stories are only a generation old in these countries and the mural is a reminder that the old world is not far removed from daily life. Resources and energy are precious commodities and STEM field graduates are new natural resources. Millennial generation students in these institutions are well aware of the importance of being connected as global

citizens. Since the oil boom, about 20% of the populations in Qatar and UAE are nationals, 80% of the populations are expatriates. The high percentage of expatriates creates incredibly diverse learning environments of students who may have grown up in Qatar or UAE, but claim nationality elsewhere. Global politics and international issues are regular conversations because a classroom may have 20 or more nationalities represented. I look forward to continuing relationships with the new colleagues I met during this trip. I am already in communication with the only Qatari that has a degree in student affairs. He and I are discussing the differences of religious and spiritual life on campuses in the Arabian Gulf and the United States and I hope that we can work on a project together. The Arabian Gulf higher education system is taking adventurous strides to integrate the old and new worlds in academic fields and student affairs programming. I hope that my career leads me back to this beautiful experiment of globalised education.” 

Hannah Pynn – Resident Director, Kappa Delta, Oregon State University, USA

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Special Interest

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27


Association of College & University Housing OfficersInternational

If campus housing is your profession, ACUHO-I is your association. More than 950 institutions and 250 companies from around the world count on ACUHO-I to deliver valuable member resources, all designed to strengthen the campus housing profession. ACUHO-I delivers: Face-to-face conferences and institutes, including the ACUHO-I Annual Conference & Exposition in Washington, D.C. June 28-July 1, 2014. Online courses and certificate programs including the Certificate in Housing Assessment, Certificate in Occupancy Management, and the online Architecture Course Series. Informative publications such as the Talking Stick magazine, the Journal of College & University Student Housing, and a new, six-volume book set, Campus Housing Management. A vibrant online library featuring hundreds of documents and resources. More than 30 volunteer workgroups and a worldwide network of thousands of campus housing professionals. And much more. 28

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INTERNATIONAL FOCUS

ACUHO-I Colin Marshall | Globalisation Director for ACUHO-I and Director Campus Life University of Ballarat, Australia

The Association of College and University Housing Officers – International supports the development of exceptional residential experiences at Universities, Colleges and other post – secondary institutions around the world.

A

CUHO-I’s history dates back to 1951 when the association was founded.Today thousands of University and College housing professionals from more than 950 institutions worldwide housing approximately 1.8 million students are supported by ACUHO-I. ACUHO-I provides members with innovative, value-driven events, publications, research, career services, and online professional development as well as valuable networking opportunities. ACUHO-I helps its members evolve themselves and their institutions in their efforts to provide residents dynamic living environments. An elected Executive Board (of which I am a member) determines the association’s vision, develops our strategic plan, and monitors its progress. Support in this mission comes from hundreds of volunteers as well as a professional staff. To ensure the “I” in ACUHO-I is well represented my role as Globalisation Director on the Executive Board positions me as the conduit between all non US members and the association. ACUHO-I also works closely with a number of affiliated associations around the world in countries including Australia & New Zealand (via AACUHO), China, United Kingdom, South Africa, and Canada to name just a few.

Learn > Network > Grow > Discover > Succeed Member engagement is at the core of ACUHO-I and we do this in a number of ways every day. ACUHO-I is well known for the amazing suite of conferences and events created across a number of sub disciplines of the student housing profession. ACUHO-I Conferences feature key note speakers, group and career level-specific sessions, workshops, interactive forums, and the best networking opportunities. ACUHO-I Study Tours have seen members visit campuses across the globe including the US, China and the United Arab Emirates to name just a few. ACUHO-I STARS College is a three-day intensive development experience for undergraduate students interested in Student Services and the Housing profession and is open to students worldwide. The ACUHO-I Internship program links student candidates and host sites to provide one of the most prestigious and competitive higher The Australasian Student Residences Management Journal

education internship opportunities available. The National Housing Training Institute is a five day intensive learning institute for selected professionals with 3-5 years of experience. A similar Institute exists for Chief Housing Officers with two streams for early and later career professionals. The Placement Exchange is a year-round professional student affairs career placement service and includes an annual face-to-face event and web service which has really revolutionised the way student housing professionals are recruited. The ACUHO-I Certificate in Housing Assessment program features flexible, self-paced modules and learning activities drawn from real – world experiences that educate on how to successfully assess the programs, practices, and services your business or residence life department delivers. Like the Certificate in Housing Assessment, the Certificate in Occupancy Management assists in understanding the occupancy management process at a strategic level and also how to implement critical operations and practices. ACUHO-I ‘s Developing and Refining a Resident Assistant (or Advisor) Training program uses an instructional and curriculum design methodology that will enhance the training for your student staff. This course is designed for the individual that leads an RA training team, but is also good for an entire training team to complete collectively. ACUHO-I recently launched the Architecture Online Course Series which is a planning, design, and construction course program focussed from a university housing perspective with material created by expert architects in conjunction with experienced student housing professionals. ACUHO-I also provides a variety of Toolkits, Online Webinars and Virtual Roundtables that cover every spectrum of student housing from operations, assessment and admissions, residential life, academic programming and more. These resources deliver important knowledge for members to utilise and are a great way for professionals from around the world to come together and discuss topics of interest and to learn from one another. ACUHO-I ‘s Library houses a vast and rich collection of insightful information about the profession and the issues that impact it. Conference presentations, dissertations, articles, whitepapers, sample documents, and more are available to members anytime they need them. The Talking Stick Magazine is published six times a year and focuses on practical and actionable topics designed to answer the

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INTERNATIONAL FOCUS

myriad of challenges of student housing operations. Written by the profession – for the profession – ACUHO-I currently send over 4,500 copies of the Talking Stick around the world to members. The ACUHO-I Newsblog and social media platforms are also a ‘quick & snappy’ way to keep up with the latest association news. ACUHO-I’s Bookstore is filled with titles that delve deep into a variety of topics. A huge range of materials that focus specifically on housing-related subjects and answer the questions members are seeking the answers to. The Journal of College and University Student Housing is ACUHO-I’s academic journal providing readers scholarly insight into housing and student services topics. The Journal is more research-based than other publications and the articles provide an analytical approach to the profession’s hot topics. As student housing professionals working in Universities and Colleges across the globe, we receive guidance from a number of different resources in order to perform the jobs we do. Therefore best practices and standards are invaluable way to assess our practice and operations, identify gaps, and plan accordingly for the future. ACUHO-I’ s Standards and Core Competencies are trusted measurements that member institutions can apply to their particular situation and use to shape their strategies. The ACUHO-I Standards and Ethical Principles for College and University Housing Professionals are a compendium of best practices that University and College campus housing operations are encouraged to use. Written and revised by the Professional Standards Committee, these standards can be used for program evaluations, staff training, graduate preparation programs, communicating the division’s mission, to assist outside agencies, assessment, and self-studies. The standards have been written in broad terms in order to meet the needs of ACUHO-I’s diverse membership and their use is voluntary. Campus housing has become increasingly professionalised and we have seen this with changing student residences design, adoption of formalised standards and ethical practices along with the emergence empirical research pertaining to student development and engagement theory and student residential communities.

provides concrete, real-world examples of how they can and should be achieved. The six volume set covers the professions past, present and future incorporating Residence Life and Education; Facilities Construction and Management; Business and Information Technology Services; Auxiliary and Partnerships and; Staffing and Management. Many of the events, programs, services and support provided to the membership is made possible by the ACUHO-I Foundation which enables the association to create and maintain the projects, research, and awards that benefit association members and the entire profession. ACUHO-I draws on the enthusiasm, knowledge and service of its volunteers to thrive. Through the various Committees, Networks, and Workgroups our volunteer members engage in efforts to improve their association, the profession, and themselves. These committees, networks and taskforces, provide the opportunity for our international membership to influence and shape the issues, events and conversations that are important to the profession.

ACUHO-I is where you belong! To find out more please visit www.acuho-i.org

To help the profession better understand and meet these increasing demands, ACUHO-I have created a body of knowledge to address what University and College campus housing professionals need to know and what they need to be able to do. ACUHO-I’s Core Competencies assist student residences professionals to shape their own organisations development and professional education plans. The competencies cover a broad range of functional areas including direct service, management and strategy and policy. ACUHO-I has also recently released the Campus Housing Management book series which takes both the standards and competencies and

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Long Road to Homestay Standards David Bycroft | Executive Chairman, Australian Homestay Network

Australian Homestay Network (AHN) makes it Home!

host selection processes as well as appropriate standards, support services and insurance for both guest and host.”

hen AHN Executive Chairman David Bycroft and Chris Evason (International Education Services) first sat down for dinner at the ACPET (Australian Council of Private Education and Training) Conference in Cairns in August 2006, they didn’t expect by night’s end the butcher’s paper table cloth would be filled with a myriad of sketches, diagrams, boxes and arrows.

AHN has quickly become Australia’s largest and leading Homestay provider and is the only true National Homestay organisation with branches in Brisbane, Sunshine Coast, Gold Coast, Sydney, ACT, Melbourne, Adelaide and Perth.

W

In just a few hours (and after a couple of drinks) a map was completed showing how Homestay in Australia could be organised and re-established adding much needed value to International Education marketing opportunities for the Australian Education Industry. The focus was on re-building what was very much an unregulated and ‘out of control’ boutique industry and developing appropriate national standards for Homestay to initiate a new Homestay approach based on accountability, system integrity, transparency, insurance, personal services, organisational methodology and 24/7 professional support. By 2008 the Australian Homestay Network (AHN) was formed and in September 2008 AHN placed their first student in Homestay utilising the now much acclaimed AHN system. Fast forward to 2013 and AHN has now managed over 25,000 student applications into Homestay and in the next 12 months they are on target for over 10,000 more homestay placements into Australian homes. Because of AHN’s stringent standards and quality of services, they were selected by the Department of Immigration in 2012 to manage the Homestay placements for detention released Asylum Seekers. AHN successfully placed over 550 Asylum Seekers into the community with approved AHN Hosts achieving outstanding results and strong positive media and industry acknowledgement for their efforts in humanising the plight of the Asylum Seeker in Australia. Executive Chairman David Bycroft is still at the forefront of AHN and is clear about why it has been so successful: “Success in Homestay is very dependent on a commitment to thorough

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“We have placed in all parts of Australia where International education exists and expect over the next few years for our placement numbers to at least double.” Mr. Bycroft said.

There is Something about Homestay! Properly managed Homestay is the ideal way for International Students to be introduced to a new country. International Students who have participated in a well-run Homestay are reported to be better oriented, more settled, safer and happier during their studies in Australia. When done well it is the ideal entry point prior to an international student making a long term accommodation decision or moving into on campus housing. Homestay is a cultural exchange between a local individual or family (called a “Homestay Host”) and a visiting International Student who comes to live as a guest in their home while they are studying in Australia. The AHN Homestay experience is a standards based homestay program that helps the student understand the culture and customs of the region in which they are studying. Many of AHN’s students make lifelong friends with their host, inviting hosts to visit their home countries, staying in touch online, or planning reunions after their studies are complete at home. The Host provides the Student with all their basic needs, including their own room, food (if applicable) and space to study as well as the opportunity to safely enjoy their initial weeks in Australia. In return, the Student pays a weekly fee. Over the period of their time together the Host assists the Student to become familiar with the local area and customs while staying in

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SPECIAL INTEREST a relaxed and friendly household setting. The Student is also encouraged to share with the Host, information about their home country and culture. This interaction is what makes Homestay ideal for someone looking for a unique cultural experience. In a recent International Student report conducted by AEI (Student satisfaction with accommodation in Australia, June 2013), Homestay received the highest level of satisfaction against all other types of accommodation. The International Student level of satisfaction was at an amazing 89% against 88% for living with friends and 83% for both on-campus accommodation and other off-campus accommodation. This augers well for the future expansion of Homestay as the first choice for entry, providing a welcoming accommodation for International Students as they get settled in Australia. Please refer to the graph below:

Attracting New Students via Homestay Given the positive impact Homestay has shown in helping students adapt to Australian culture, AHN has begun collecting Nationality data of all Homestay users in order to identify trends and opportunities for the entire Australian Education Industry. The following table compares Homestay to student visa statistics, showing that many of the top visa countries are not yet proportionally represented yet in Homestay. The table below shows the top 10 in each category.

Top 10 – 2013 by Nationality Student Visa

AHN Homestay

China

China

India

Korea

Korea

Hong Kong

Vietnam

Brazil

Malaysia

Vietnam

Thailand

Indonesia

Surprisingly, whilst Homestay received the highest level of satisfaction from International Students the below graph shows that Homestay is still relatively low in usage by International Students.

Brazil

Thailand

United States of America

Colombia

Indonesia

Taiwan

Given the successful foundation Homestay has proven to give international students, it is clear that those advising students, such as Education providers and Agents, need to help broaden awareness of Homestay to address this.

Colombia

Saudi Arabia

These statistics highlight the need for the Australian Education Industry to target specific source countries and further promote Homestay as a leading entry/welcoming accommodation option f or International Students. As students, and their parents, see the foundation that Homestay provides, more and more international students will choose Australia as their destination.

The New Homestay Standards Despite all the proof that Homestay is growing in importance within Australia’s International Education community, not all Homestays are created equal. A critical element in the success of the Australian Homestay Network has been the insistence of adopting the well published Homestay Standards in International Education which were first deemed appropriate by the Senate Inquiry into the Welfare of International Students in 2009.

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special interest Since then, The University of Sydney through its Centre for English Teaching (CET) has been instrumental in reviewing the Australian Homestay Standards and for ensuring that standards for this very important part of the International Education industry were validated. The new standards were decided upon after input from DEEWR, ISANA International Education Association Inc. and a selection of experienced Homestay Managers. The following standards were determined for Homestay Providers for University of Sydney and CET to ensure a safe and enjoyable experience for both student and host:

1. Objectives This objective of the Homestay Service and of CET is to develop and enhance a ‘cultural experience’ through the Homestay opportunity for International students.

2. Homestay Fundamentals a. Ensure appropriate support and accommodation in an approved Homestay environment b. Enable the Student to experience the culture of the region in which they are studying c. Encourage the sharing of the Students’ own culture with their Homestay host d. Provide a structure for orientation, community interaction and network establishment for the student.

3. Minimum Standards

i. Policies of insurance as required in the University standard Agreement for Goods and Services. ii. Host liability insurance of not less than $20,000,000 for any one occurrence and/or any one period of insurance that indemnifies Supplier for Supplier’s legal liability to pay all sums by way of compensation, and all costs awarded against Supplier in respect of personal injury, property damage, and advertising liability happening during the period of insurance and caused by an occurrence within the territorial limits in connection with Supplier’s business or activity as a host family for Supplier; and iii. Students householder’s insurance covering students personal effects while residing at the premises of an accredited Supplier’s Homestay host and personal liability Australia-wide of not less than $20,000,000. This should include a special component for accidental damage within the host’s home and a contents and personal effects maximum of not less than $10,000.

The University and CET are committed to helping raise the standards of Australian Homestay services. As such, they have made the decision to refer students and agents only to Homestay supervising organisations that meet minimum criteria as set out below.

d. Documented and guaranteed training for host families and supporting data to demonstrate the training has taken place.

These Minimum Standards must be met by the approved Homestay providers as of 1 July 2013:

e. A documented agreement to be signed by all host families outlining appropriate policies and the host obligations.

a. An online portal which supplies individual logins for agents, hosts, students and institutions where appropriate ‘real time’ data and reports relating to current placements, arrivals and history can be accessed and monitored.

f. A documented and comprehensive approach to student orientation.

b. A professional approach to ensuring that, independent of both The University of Sydney and the Supplier, there is appropriate and compulsory (guaranteed) provision of guardianship services for Younger Overseas Students as determined by The Education Services for Overseas Students (ESOS) Act 2000 (Cth) and associated Regulations as amended from time to time.

h. A 24/7 Emergency and Critical incident phone support strategy which meets an acceptable and professional standard.

c. A professional approach to ensuring that the Supplier maintains an appropriate and compulsory (guaranteed) insurance cover for the Supplier and Homestay hosts and students as determined by CET from time to time and in line with industry expectations, including but not limited to:

The Australasian Student Residences Management Journal

g. A student policy which guides student expectations and outlines responsibilities of the host family and Homestay Supplier.

i. An ongoing strategy for the management and accountability of all payments made on behalf of the student to the Homestay host.

4. Functional Requirements a. Fixed Placement Fee and Boarding Fee for ILP and CET Students for at least 12 months. b. Placement Confirmation must be sent to CET Student no later than 2 weeks prior to Placement commencement.

35


c. Provision of personalised host information showing background, interest, and contact details of the families prior to confirmation, in sufficient time to make alternative arrangements where families are deemed unsuitable. d. All Placements for CET Students should be made within MyMulti 1 zone (with no longer than 1 hour travel time to the University’s Camperdown/Darlington Campus). e. H  ost family pick up and drop off service on campus on arrival and departure days. f. Visit by agency representative for Homestay welfare check during week 1, preferably Day 4 (Thursday) for possible replacement or issue resolution, where required. g. Placement Fee will be paid upon Placement Confirmation, Boarding Fee will be paid 2 weeks prior to arrival of the Student (subject to confirmation of the hosts) and Host Travel Payment will be paid within two weeks of completion of the program. h. A single point of contact for all CET Student Placements. i. F ull refund for any cancellation made 2 weeks or more prior to arrival of the Student, less the initial Placement Fee paid to the agency.

Industry Support for Standards The NSW Parliamentary Inquiry into international student accommodation (2011) commended the University of Sydney standards for Homestay and recommended them for legislation. The Department of Immigration and Citizenship (DIAC) also officially advised their contracted ‘Settlement Services’ providers in 2012 (who were assisting with Asylum seeker community placements) that all Homestay services must now meet the University of Sydney Homestay standards. The Council of International Students Australia (CISA) have recently joined the campaign for adherence to Homestay standards through their ‘Australian Good Practice Program for Education Providers’. CISA have identified numerous issues in an unregulated Homestay Industry in Australia and have called for legislation of Homestay in line with the University of Sydney findings.

A Message for Education Providers and Agents Marketing Advantage Strong Homestay is seen internationally as a good marketing advantage in the quest for International Students. Homestay for International Students should be used as the initial entry point accommodation to give peace of mind to parents and agents about those critical first few weeks for the student in Australia. A partnership approach should be developed to ensure that Education Providers are working with this key service provider to maximise international student opportunities.

Risk Management As a result of the overwhelming evidence of support for National Homestay Standards, it would be unwise for Education Providers to ignore their obligation to these standards and Institution duty of care risk exposure.

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Special Interest

The Australasian Student Residences Management Journal

37


MARKETING

THE RESIDENTIAL

EXPERIENCE Mallory Sidarous I Housing Marketing Specialist, Southern Illinois University Edwardsville

Branding can go a long way to bring students into the halls

W

hen most people think of a brand, they think of the image connected with a specific company: a logo or a slogan, something that marketers have created to help consumers not only recognize and identify the company but also to select it as being the best among many. Although we may hesitate to perceive students as consumers, there is no avoiding the fact that colleges and universities compete to position themselves in the higher education market.The attraction of a brand and the power of brand loyalty are just as important here as they are in the business world. Brands are more than just logos or advertising ploys; they reflect an institution’s identity, reputation, and core values. For this reason, they are specific to each institution and are informed by each one’s unique characteristics, whether that is size, location, traditions, or programs. In addition, branding is reflected in all aspects of the institution, from academic programs to athletic teams to residential housing. At Louisiana State University in Baton Rouge, brand awareness is tied to the size of their campus and the success of their athletic teams, as well as being part of the marketing strategy for their residential programs. At Iowa State in Ames,

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the comparison between on-and off-campus housing is used to brand residential housing as the only housing choice that offers students a real community. No matter what the approach, the goal is the same: leveraging the institutional brand to market the on-campus living experience and meet occupancy goals. At some institutions, such as Louisiana State, branding is a very centralized effort, and the power of their brand is used across all platforms and in all units. At other institutions, like the University of California, Berkeley, marketing professionals are just beginning to centralize communication and branding efforts. Though UC Berkeley units are not required to convert to the new guidelines, they are strongly encouraged to do so and are provided with exceptional resources and tools to make it happen. Southern Illinois University Edwardsville (SIUE) uses a decentralized approach; individual units are directed by specific branding requirements, but university brand managers can also endorse sub-brands specific to particular areas such as housing. This approach allows departmental brands to shine through while still protecting the integrity of the university brand. Though this decentralized approach to branding requires a high level of communication and sharing among communications and marketing staff across campus, the result is a high level of cohesiveness and support for the university brand.

Paper Monkey, an international visual strategy and graphic design firm based in Fyshwick, Australia, specializes in helping higher education institutions to identify their brand and create visual strategies to meet their enrolment and fundraising goals. Integrating a university brand at the department level can be complex, since much depends on the institutional climate, and staff may be resistant to the ideas. Staff engagement and input is a critical part of successful brand integration. As Jonathan (Jono) Willis, the visual strategist and development manager at Paper Monkey and a branding expert, explains, “Generally speaking, we seek to engage as many staff as possible in the brand process to negate pockets of resistance. By engaging staff early on and using feedback it is more likely that the solution provided will have the staff buy-in. Our contact is typically with the university marketing team. However, those groups typically have the responsibility of educating the various departments on the brand and the management of the brand going forward, so it is important to have various campus stakeholders invested in the process.” Engaging and training staff in brand management requires providing them with the appropriate tools: education, resources, and communication. Housing departments that base their branding on this foundation and successfully manage their brand at the department level will be able to leverage the university brand while identifying and promoting the benefits of on-campus living as part of the overall collegiate experience.

Education as a Base One of the first steps in educating staff is to make sure they understand what branding means. A brand is much more than a logo

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SPECIAL Special Interest INTEREST or a combination of colors or a distinctive typeface; it is something that is incorporated into all points of public contact within an institution, especially the staff who are living out the brand every day. Since staff outside of the marketing and communications departments are often responsible for creating marketing pieces or using the brand logo, they need to understand the basics of branding strategies and management. Staff training and education was an important component of Louisiana State’s attempt to institutionalize their brand. After an extensive market research study, they decided that the best way to project the value of their academic programs and student services was to capitalize on existing brand awareness.The fact that LSU was already identified by its size, school spirit, and athletic programs provided a base for a campuswide campaign to provide communications staff with training on how to incorporate new brand standards into their marketing pieces, communication, web design, social media efforts, and more. “At first the brand standards can feel limiting,” says Catherine David, assistant director of communications for residential life. “But ultimately they drive creativity in our area. We are challenged with finding new ways to fit the experience of living on campus into the bigger picture of LSU.”Training in how to promote the LSU brand was extensive. In addition to receiving information from standard branding materials like a style guide and branding book, campus communications staff are invited to take part in monthly meetings. Some staff go on to become brand ambassadors, after participating in an invitationonly course which is offered once a year and prepares participants to serve as LSU brand ambassadors – experts in the vision of LSU with a thorough understanding of the university’s brand priorities. External agencies like Paper Monkey can also play an active role in education when they become involved in the creation and integration of a new brand strategy. “It is our job to educate each person and faculty on what is and isn’t allowed,” says Willis. Compromising the brand at any level has the potential to dilute the effectiveness of what an institution is working to accomplish. “Having the design agency assist in the implementation is often a move in the right direction. It can be easier (and more effective) for an outside team

to work with the naysayers or those not supportive of the project.”

Resources for Promotion At the institutional level, brand managers are responsible for providing resources that communications staff need to be effective in promoting the university brand. “If the marketing team fails to deliver the tools, then people will start improvising – that’s humans for you!” says Willis. “The marketing team needs to deliver a strong brand package at the launch of new standards. The team needs to ensure they empower staff to easily transition and reach for the tools.” Housing departments, like other college and university units, are often responsible for promoting the institutional brand in unit-specific marketing materials and promotional efforts. The message they convey must be in line with that of the institution, and this consistency among all layers of the university community can work to strengthen the value of the brand. Marty Takimoto, director of communications and marketing for residential and student service programs at UC Berkeley, is currently leading efforts to integrate the new Berkeley branding guidelines into their department’s work. “The Berkeley campus recently embarked on a campus-wide rebranding effort. We [housing] eagerly jumped on this train and are using this campus initiative to coordinate our internal branding efforts within student affairs and student housing,” Takimoto says.

guidelines make the process easier and improve turnaround time. Marketing staff within departments know the parameters they have to work with and can do the graphic work in-house or in partnership with university marketing. University websites, one of the more visible opportunities for presenting a unified brand, can either be a cohesive representation of a centralized brand or a collection of various micro-sites. A collection of approved templates and a content management system make it easier for various departments to manage their own content, in a timely manner, without compromising the brand.

Berkeley supported the campus rebranding effort by creating a website, which includes a brand guidelines book; logos, seals, and marks; fonts; color palettes; and directions about how and when to use each piece. “[The housing] design team is converting existing documents to the brand guidelines during our regular updates, and it has been with great success,” says Takimoto. “We keep our internal clients informed about the changes by showing ‘before’ and ‘after’ mock-ups to show the impact of the new guidelines. Fortunately, this has been very well received, and most agree the university is benefiting from this new direction.” SIUE also has a website to inform communications staff across the campus about brand guidelines. Though products and publications still have to be approved by university marketing staff, the published

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39


Communication to Maximise Connections

Brand Honors Campus History and Heart The priority to preserve history and honor alumni in the design of a new residence hall directly correlates with the brand at Texas A & M (TAMU) in College Station, an institution with a long history and strong traditions. The “Aggie Spirit” is ingrained in campus traditions like the Aggie ring, which symbolizes the values of excellence, integrity, leadership, loyalty, respect, and selfless service; and the 12th man, the extra player who waits, selflessly ready for duty if and when the team needs him. When three residence halls were demolished for construction of the new Northside Residence Hall, honoring their history was a priority. Treanor Architects and SHW Group, the design firm and architect for the Northside project, used the project mission statement as a guide for the design. The new Northside Residence Hall will be a world class livinglearning community and destination – a place to live at the Heart of the Aggie Experience that celebrates diversity and draws students together through academic success, history, tradition, and spirit. This sustainable and environmentally friendly facility will seamlessly blend indoor and outdoor experiences. Serving as the “living room” for the Northside community, this innovative, creative, and fun residence hall will feel like home. With this mission in mind, the design team made a strategic decision to incorporate the long history of the previous residence hall buildings into the fireplace. “In any building, after a fire or demolition, the fireplace is always the last thing standing. Northside’s fireplace is the heart of the building and a focal point, acting as a symbol of permanence,” says Nadia Zhiri, vice president and principal at Treanor. Bricks from the original halls were used to build Northside’s lobby fireplace, and trees from the original site were used for the wooden mantel. “TAMU is the best at leveraging their brand through rich traditions. Their well-represented history instills a sense of community, respect, and civility in their students and alumni,” says Don Hensley, higher education practice director for the SHW Group. “This fireplace is a tribute to the alumni who lived in the residence halls and created their own memories and traditions.” In addition to preserving parts of the original buildings in the fireplace, they have also displayed artifacts recovered during the demolition process in the lobby and throughout Northside.

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A successful brand sets one institution apart from others; in the case of student housing, what is being promoted is the value of the on-campus residential experience. Brittney Rutherford, marketing coordinator for the department of residence at Iowa State, found that leveraging their connection to the Iowa State community was the most successful strategy in differentiating the on-campus housing experience from that of off-campus competitors. “We are Iowa State,” says Rutherford. “We should own that we are the only [housing community] that can offer that experience. We maximize that connection when [prospective and current] students see marketing materials and content that complements the Iowa State brand.” Brand management requires staff from all parts of the campus to work together. In Iowa State’s decentralised approach to branding, university marketing provides branding standards and preferences for departments to use, but a lot of the decisions are made at the department level. Marketing staff within the division of student affairs, which includes housing, have found that sharing resources and expertise within their division has led to a higher quality of publications. “We work to have intentional interactions with one another. We break [ourselves] out of our silos to support one another’s efforts and present a cohesive vision for life at Iowa State,” says Rutherford. This approach is successful because marketing staff are motivated and driven to make those connections with one another and with university marketing staff. “Marketing staff are often a unit of one or two people. Those who take the steps to make connections with other marketing staff on their campus and at the university marketing level are not only going to appreciate the support but likely find opportunities to cross-promote and uniquely market the on-campus living experience to entirely new groups of students.” The connections among all the marketing and communications professionals on campus are reinforced at a summit which is hosted two times a year. Here the participants can receive training on video and photography management or information about new market research. Activities and programs like these are a great opportunity not only for the university and departmental marketing staff to work together, but also for them to work with outside marketing agencies. This level of engagement can empower marketing staff to become strong brand ambassadors for both the institution and the housing department and can lay the foundation for successful implementation of future brand designs or visions. “The marketing team is often the brand guardian of the university,” says Willis. “It is important [that] they communicate and train appropriate staff. The last thing you want is people that have no understanding of brands making brand decisions.” Branding serves as a projection of the institution’s key values and a testament to its unique characteristics. It is also a promise that the institution is what it says it is. Unless the expectations of students, parents, alumni, and others can be met, the promise is an empty one. In offering the opportunity for an enriched collegiate experience, housing plays an important role in fulfilling that promise and becoming part of an institutional effort to not only live up but also to exceed expectations.

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Special Interest

The Australasian Student Residences Management Journal

41


College fees vs what you could buy for $50k Does your experience truly reflect the investment made by your students? Jono Willis | Visual Strategist, Paper Monkey

$

50k can buy a lot of luxury items, cars, boats and extension to your house. For that kind of money you expect a solid, quality purchase or experience.

Truth be told, that’s the price (most probably more) that your students are paying to stay at your residential college.

INTERNATIONALLY AWARDED SPECIALISTS IN VISUAL STRATEGY AND GRAPHIC DESIGN FOR HIGHER EDUCATION

If you spent $50k you would expect the purchase to reflect the kind of investment you’d made in it. In spending it on a car you would expect to hear a purring engine, immaculate bodywork and plush interior. Well-designed and informative brochures, functional welldesigned website. All these things working together constantly prove the quality of the product. It wouldn’t be difficult to spot where your well-earned cash had been spent – air bags everywhere, reversing sensors and camera, DVD players in the head rests, and numerous other extras. But just as impor tant as the materialistic elements, you would be buying a car that promised something others wouldn’t and be counting on the unique experience to be spread via word-of-mouth to friends and family. If you were selling a car for $50k, you would want a potential buyer to quickly understand why it was priced accordingly, to avoid it being judged purely on valuation. A conversation would be the quickest and most adaptable way of engaging the potential buyer. If that weren’t possible, quality printed material would be close at hand to mirror the sales conversation. It would be high on persuasion and backed by impressive stats and would ultimately offer the buyer all the information they need to make a decision.

42

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SPECIAL INTEREST Most impor tantly, this material would be delivering a promise – offering a quality user-experience like no other. That’s the reality of investing a significant amount of money. Nothing is too much trouble for the salesperson to secure the deal. And then there’s the next time you need to buy a car, do you bother looking anywhere else if the last experience was so good? Car models become more impor tant than what sports team you go for. Some families commit to cer tain models for generations to come – such is their experience. When a college offers a place to a student, the parents can expect to pay about the same amount (sometimes more) over 3-4 years. But the approach to attracting potential students seems to be much less refined and more about doing it as cheaply as possible and then trying to convince people otherwise.

Why is that? As a college, would you let your office staff design promotional material, print it on the office copier and send to prospective students? On your website, would you rely on a description of the accommodation instead of showing images? Would you use images shot by the college office staff? And would it be populated with the phrase ‘Area under construction’? Would you openly admit you’d lost touch with many of your alumni? This isn’t what you’d expect. You wouldn’t buy a ‘new’ car if it had scratch down one side and a leaking radiator. Especially if the owner didn’t see those problems as an issue and insisted that was the standard in the industry. You wouldn’t buy a secondhand car with those problems either.

The education arena is heating up. Competition is increasing and funds are becoming harder to procure.
Snooze and lose. The printing industry is quite an apt comparison. Many print companies go out of business because they can’t keep up with the ever-changing face of technology and customer services. Worse still, they aren’t willing to invest in their future competitiveness. We’ve witnessed many printers go out of business because they were blasé about their customer experience. When you’re in a competitive environment keeping a sharp distinctive edge is of utmost impor tance. Shouldn’t college brands be reflecting the level of investment a student is making in the college?
The answer is simple – of course they should. The question is why are so many so blasé?

Equally, you wouldn’t buy a $50k car if the receptionist had slapped the brochures together in Word. Why is it that in the residential college arena that’s acceptable? And before you ask, yes, this does reflect on the brand – if it’s connected to the college, it is intrinsically linked to the brand. The slightest blemish does make all the difference – it taints the whole experience and brings the next best choice back into play. When you’re trying to convince somebody that your 1970s interior and scratched exterior is the quality experience they’re buying in to you will inadver tently cause hesitation and doubt to creep in. This will push the potential client to research more. That well-polished college next door that’s offering a better experience for about the same price suddenly seems more appealing. Don’t be fooled into a false sense of security. This is a thinking college’s game.
In Australia we’ve been lucky for quite some time. So much so that the standard here has slipped to a level that other international colleges look at and gasp.

The Australasian Student Residences Management Journal

43


Know Your Standards Increasing resident’s knowledge, regarding standard drinks, significantly reduces the effects of alcohol on college campuses Ashley Gurney | Managing Director and Founder, AlcoCups

A

lcoCups, alcohol and drug

training/information sessions

standard drink. Furthermore less than

education specialists,

regarding existing knowledge of

13% were able to accurately pour and

recently surveyed 2,973

standard drinks. Results of the survey

identify the required liquid amount

residents, students and health

outlined that less than 21% knew how

for a standard drink of a specific type

professionals prior to specialised

many grams of alcohol there are in a

of alcohol.

44

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Special Interest Through the implementation of AlcoCups brand new Standard Drink Pouring Kit a significant increase in standard drinks knowledge was observed. All par ticipants in AlcoCups training are surveyed after the specific training. Results outlined that 96% were able to accurately answer how many grams of alcohol is in a standard drink. More importantly 91% of individuals were able to accurately pour and identify the required liquid amount for a standard drink of a specific type of alcohol. Therefore reducing alcohol related incidents on college campuses whilst promoting a healthier and safer environment for residents. The Standard Drink Pouring Kit contains 6 different resin cups for 6 different types of alcohol. Each resin cup outlines and provides information on the amount of liquid required for a standard drink. The kit also contains empty cups and a ‘How to deliver a standard drink pouring activity’ guide. The Standard Drink Pouring Kit has been developed to allow anyone to deliver information regarding standard drinks. The kit is an ideal resource for Student Leader’s/RA’s to deliver standard drinks information to fellow residents. For further information of AlcoCups resources or training programs visit the website www.alcocups.com

The Australasian Student Residences Management Journal

45


PRODUCT NEWS

Direct Products: NEW RELEASE – Balmoral Elite and Balmoral Accent Steel Beds Two great additions to the highly successful Balmoral Commercial Steel Bed range, offering new innovative sleeping designs for Student Residential Colleges. The Balmoral ELITE features the unique contemporary resin headboard styling and is available in Single and Long-Single size. Optional headboard colours available and power coated frame colours. The Balmoral ACCENT features solid timber centre panel design, in a choice of finishes and is available in Single, Long-Single and King-Single sizes. The above new designs are to special order and Direct Products exclusive Roll Out/Lift up lid Underbed Storage Locker can be used with these new models. Complimentary Balmoral Bed Side table has also been added to the range.

Balmoral Elite Steel Bed

Enquires on these new products are welcome to Phil Ellis on 0412 357 499 OR email phil@directproducts.net.au Balmoral Accent Steel Bed

Unique to the Australian Market, TECO Australia introduces 2 Door Bar Fridges with Separate Freezer

the TBF84WMTA, which comes in brilliant White,TECO have also introduced the 2 Door bar Fridge in Jet Black (TBF84BMTA) and Cherry Red (TBF84RMTA).

Following its successes in supplying Split System and Window Wall Air Conditioners, LED/LCD TV’s, Bar Fridges & Small Vertical Freezers to Mining Camp Accommodation and Common Area Portable Building Units, Student Accommodation areas and Hotel/Motel Rooms,TECO have introduced a unique product to the Australian Market, a range of 2 Door Bar Fridges.

To complement this range,TECO Australia also has Frost Free Refrigerators, (215Ltr, 258Ltr, 292Ltr & 410Ltr), Chest Freezers (145Ltr, 200Ltr & 300Ltr) and a range of 12 & 14 Place Setting, Freestanding Dishwashers, all with Aqua Stop, which protects from accidental flooding due to split or disconnected inlet hose.

Engineered to Perform with Super Quiet operation and Stylish Design, the TBF84WMTA – 84Ltr Freestanding or Under Bench 2 Door Bar Fridge is suitable for medium to large rooms. It comes with an Internal Light in the refrigerator compartment, Glass Shelving, and handy Vegetable crisper.The Door Shelf holds up to 2 litre bottles and with the handy Drink Can Dispenser, easily holds standard sized cans of your favorite beverage.The separate freezer is unique to this type of product. Designed to freeze and store foods, it is ideal for Student Accommodation or single room dwellings such as “Granny Flats”.To compliment

For easy installation this model comes with front adjustable feet, Flat Back Design, which eliminates the old style bar fridge dust collecting exposed rear coil, and reversible door to cater for varying installations. (850Hx485Wx510Dmm)

To view TECO Product Range or download product brochures, please visit TECO Australia website, www.teco.com.au

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Student 8 2 issuu  

Student Residences Management Journal Volume 8 Number 2 October 2013

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