Move In 2018: University Housing one-stop-shop for student living

Common area in Aggie Village

Aggie Village is the latest addition to CSU’s living and learning spaces.

The days of campus housing being referred to as “dorms” with the simplistic purpose of putting “heads in beds” has gone the way of the dinosaur. Colorado State  University has been a leader among campuses everywhere in creating an entire residential experience, and has now forged a new area under Housing & Dining Services to further the concept.

University Housing – which combines Residence Life and Apartment life – is a new version of on-campus housing that better meets the needs of students both today and in the future.  Ultimately, University Housing creates a more seamless experience between the residence halls and apartments on campus.

This new name and new area came about following a 12-month input-gathering process.

“The goal is simple, yet defines a recognizable name of what we do and who we are,” says HDS Executive Director Mari Strombom. “Our mission will continue to reflect the educational strategic goals of CSU and our values in HDS of promoting student learning, creating inclusive communities for all residents — domestic and international — and meeting the needs of our various populations in the halls and apartments.”

Assessment and planning for this restructuring has involved both internal campus processes and collaboration with external partners. The restructuring will roll out over time to improve business processes, co-locating staff, and streamlining campus apartment and residence hall applications and customer service interactions with students, parents and families.

Related Story: Record year for students living on campus at Colorado State University

Living and learning experience

Strombom feels that this reorganization is helping CSU not only keep up with needed changes in campus housing, but will ultimately move the department toward the vision of being the best living and learning experience in higher education.

“The organizational structures for Apartment Life and Residence Life were created during a time when we had apartments for married students and community-style halls for traditional undergraduate students,” she explains. “Since that time, we have evolved from ‘married student housing’ to ‘family housing,’ we have built apartments specifically for single graduate students, we have increased the number of international undergraduate students living in our residence halls, and Aggie Village now provides a large number of on-campus apartments for undergraduate students, which we did not previously provide. The worlds of our Residence Life and Apartment Life areas have collided, but our organizational structures didn’t keep pace with that change, which is what drove the need for a reorganization.”

The new University Housing area will provide one combined customer service area for all on-campus housing options, eliminating the need for students, their families or others on campus to toggle between two different areas to address questions or concerns about on-campus living options. The bottom line is to make the housing process as seamless as possible and to provide a wholistic living experience, which benefits the greater campus community as well, according to the new director of University Housing, Laura Giles.

“Our work is so much more than beds, cleaning, maintenance, staffing, and food,” she says. “Unless one has spent time in HDS, it is difficult to describe and share the impact of our work — we know the impact and can feel it daily. The reward for our work lies in knowing that residents spend 70 percent of their time in their home — their home is our home.”