College is a student’s opportunity to live the free life, have everything taken care of, make connections with others and be involved, which Kelsi Nagle, University of Idaho housing recruitment coordinator, said are all important elements of succeeding at UI and having the college experience.
To help students better understand the benefits of living on campus and keep current on-campus residents from moving off-campus, UI housing created a loyalty incentive program for on-campus residents, which includes a $1,000 discount for room renewals made in Wallace, a free $250 Flex plan for renewals in the LLCs and a $100 VandalStore gift card for renewals in Targhee and McConnell.
As of Feb. 18, Nagle said students can renew the room they are currently living in for the 2013-2014 school year. Starting Feb. 27 until April 1, students will be able to look at the available rooms online and choose any room in any housing facility.
“This is the first year using actual incentives for living on-campus. We’re using this as an opportunity to show the current students how much we care,” Nagle said. “Most students don’t think on-campus housing is affordable, but we’re showing them that it is affordable and that living on-campus helps them succeed and get the whole college experience.”
Nagle said she hopes students will take advantage of this opportunity because in the past they haven’t seen a positive result or benefits and the process was complicated.
“It has been an interesting process, making students aware of why they should live on-campus. With this new program, students have choices, it’s all open,” Nagle said. “You are able to choose your room anytime, or get together with friends, see which rooms are available and which rooms everyone wants to live in and decide from there.”
University Housing Associate Director Dee Dee Kanikkeberg said she thinks part of the reason they have not seen more students staying on-campus is because in the past, they have focused on new students, not the students currently living on-campus.
“This loyalty incentive program really benefits our returners,” Kanikkeberg said. “We’ve built in some aggressive incentives because we believe in the value of living on campus.”
Kannikkeberg said during the last few years housing has been reinvesting in the facilities.
“In the Ballard wing of Wallace, all four floors are renovated rooms,” she said. “Not only that, but the entire Wallace facility has new, wooden bunk beds, as well as new chairs.”
Cara Lehman, university housing marketing coordinator said she thinks students do not understand all the benefits of living on-campus.
“It’s convenient, because its closer to your classes, it’s been proven that those who live on campus have better GPAs and with these price incentives we’re just upping those benefits,” Lehman said. “Not only can we keep the price low, but we can keep the convenience, along with all the other amenities.”
Nagle said this is a learning process and an opportunity for students to really get involved and connect with others.
“Sometimes housing is seen as a money-making organization — but students are not just a check to us,” Nagle said. “We want to show them that they don’t have to live here, they get to live here, and staying on campus is the total college experience.”
Michelle Gregg can be reached at email@example.com