Each fall University Housing prepares to open at full capacity, over 1800 students, and new applications in the spring. Part of the reason may be student satisfaction with campus housing.
Arnie Slaughter, director of university housing, said in 2003 when he was a hall director in Woodcrest Apartments that there were designated smoking rooms. As things progressed at NKU with smoking areas and now a tobacco free campus, Slaughter said the housekeeping and maintenance staff have seen progress in quicker turnarounds for cleaning rooms, and not having to invest in paint because of smoking concerns.
However, a concern for the fall is residents who smoke. Slaughter is aware that this is a concern for residents on campus who can’t go home and smoke.
“So we’ll definitely need to talk with students who may be smokers who live on campus and find ways that we can address whatever type of need they may have. Since we do value all of our students and we want to make sure they don’t feel ostracized or feel that they can’t live on campus.”
NKU is ranked 67 in the 2013 edition of Best Colleges and Regional Universities (South), according to US News. They have a total enrollment of about 15,724 students, with a 34 percent retention rate in the past four years.
However, off-campus living doesn’t always ensure students with a garage, or even a driveway. Sixty-nine percent of students on campus have vehicles and unlike other colleges, don’t have to parallel park near their dorms.
Off-campus housing also doesn’t ensure residents with green space or even a yard; NKU sits on 398 acres. Furthermore, students living on campus are more involved in the 216 registered clubs and organizations at NKU. Six percent of undergraduate men are in fraternities and seven percent of undergraduate women are in a sorority.
Opening to full capacity at upwards of 1,800 students in the fall, the university sees this number fluctuate throughout the semester, and through the spring semester is typically smaller, new applications are received.
As a result of the priority room selection process 772 students will be returning to live on campus. And following the national trend, there is a slight decrease in the numbers of students that return to campus as the classification goes up.
Slaughter estimates that roughly 50 percent of students who live on campus are first-year students.
And 635 first-year students submitted applications and in the two weeks before the housing application deadline of May 1, the housing office expects to see 25 to 40 housing applications daily.
Sheridan Allen, junior double major sociology and social work and RA for first year honors residents at Callahan Hall, said, “I think that the University Housing office does everything they can to make living on campus an enjoyable experience.”
From an RA standpoint, she said that the levels of satisfaction residents have stem from their views on the housing. She said for example that those who haven’t lived in Callahan Hall have a bad view of it, but everyone living there loves it, especially the first-year residents.
“They enjoy getting away from their parents, but still being close enough that they can do their laundry at home, or visit them on the weekends.”
Allen believes that if more commuter students gave on campus housing a try, then they would find that it improves their college experience. Living on campus lets these students “find a family” in the residents around them. “They become their best friends and their future bridesmaids.”
Each academic year the housing office does a Resident Satisfaction Survey, which will be sent out in the following weeks. This survey will ask questions like the relationship they have with their Resident Assistant (RA), the services the main housing office provides, facilities management, our food service.
“We try to get questions that hit multiple areas of our department. So that if there are areas that we’re doing well, we want to make sure that we refine and continue to evolve those particular areas,” Slaughter said.
In addition to the surveys residents can go to the housing office or their RA’s with concerns, feedback, issues or suggestions of programs they would like to see. RA’s can facilitate events themselves, like bringing in a speaker or guest.
They can also organize social events like going to the bowling alley, or large-scale residential programs like Paint Wars. Though these events are primarily for residential students, commuter students are gladly welcome he said. Commuter students can then get to know students who live on campus and maybe even want to live on campus themselves.
Students can also go to the Association of Campus Residents (ACR) that Slaughter said is “the voice of our residential students.” They meet Wednesdays at 8 p.m. in the university suites classroom during the academic year.
ACR provides programs for residents and address areas for improvement among other things. Slaughter meets with ACR and SGA to go over things that need improvement, or implement things that would be beneficial to residents.
Loren Papin, junior communication studies major and minor in organizational leadership said this is her second year as a RA in Norse Hall. Papin really enjoys living on campus because it’s convenient for her involvement in campus and she can return to her room on breaks, or hang out there if she has a later class.
RA’s do two programs a month, usually a social one, and then a learning outcome-based one.