Dr. James Muyskens, President of Queens College, spoke with us about his upcoming retirement, reflected back on his career, and explained how a decision to bring a residence hall to the campus changed the school as a whole.Posted by Join The Conversation | 0 comments | post a comment
What to Say? Happy Holiday!
Merry Christmas? Happy Hanukkah? Merry Kwanza? Happy Festivus? It has been an interesting topic of discussion at every institution or company of which I have been employed. To “Merry Christmas” or not to “Merry Christmas,” that is the question.
A majority of people I have encountered at my various institutions celebrate Christmas, but not all. Many people do not observe this particular holiday for one reason or another; religion, choice, or a number of other possibilities. Their beliefs should not be disregarded based off the majority. When the discussion comes up with my staff of saying “Merry Christmas” I have long been on the side of openness and caution. Whether or not a majority of people around you celebrate the holiday, it is important to be cognizant of others during this time of year. However, your own beliefs should not be forcibly hindered either.
I still believe in this consideration of others’ holiday preferences but I have also tweaked my tactics recently. Now I ask; what do you celebrate this holiday season? When a response is given, I have the ability to say “Merry _____” with full knowledge that I would not offend the person I am talking to. It seems simple and it is, but it goes a long way in making sure the person feels accepted and appreciated for his or her beliefs.
It is a great opportunity to gain knowledge from those different than ourselves; our field offers a unique ability to do so without going out of our way. The students we serve are from every walk of life, every corner of the nation, and for many of us, every corner or the globe. Utilize the resources you have, gain perspective, and learn something new. Asking questions has the potential to grow our own understanding of the world around us.
However, if in depth discussion of a person’s beliefs is not what you desire; “happy holidays!” sounds good to me.
How do you handle holiday greetings? We would love to know and share with others!Posted by Jeff Kirkpatrick | 0 comments | post a comment
The driving motivation behind launching the Student Housing Matters blog in 2012 was a desire to “give back” to higher education. To provide a platform for those dedicated to strong on-campus housing programs to share ideas and encourage each other. We also wanted the blog to reflect an important value we possess – that well planned on-campus housing programs can be a strong factor in student success.
Recently, I watched a TED Talk by New York City’s Transportation Commissioner, Janette Sadik-Khan. Sadik-Khan discusses projects that transformed the streets in all five boroughs of NYC. Listening to Sadik-Khan describe the renovation of 26 acres of space (including Times Square), changing the aesthetic of public areas, improving the efficiency of the buses, and increasing bike access and safety, I wondered whether Sadik-Khan’s mantra, “Do bold experiments that are cheap to try out,” could be applied in student housing.
If streets are an asset to a city, aren’t our assets the lounges, lobbies, and green spaces in and around our residence halls and campuses? Are these areas not “hidden in plain sight” and vital to our community’s success just the same way Sadik-Khan describes New York City’s streets, bridges, and sidewalks?
Our communities may not need budget-squeezing, complete renovations; in Sadik-Khan’s words, “You just need to look at them a little differently.” With clear action plans and small, creative changes, couldn’t we start with one lounge or one lobby? We may not have a $2 billion budget or a staff of 5,000 employees, but what is stopping us from improving our product and increasing our efficiency, most likely increasing the quality of life for our students?Posted by Becky Sierp | 1 comments | post a comment
Today (11/13/13) at Noon EST, there will be a NACAS Virtual Roundtable on the subject of “Housing Success Through Partnered Outsourced Management,” hosted by officials of Coppin State University and Capstone On-Campus Management. It will be a short online presentation on how Coppin was able to enhance its services and still maintain fiscal control by outsourcing the campus housing management.
The powerpoint presentation being used can be found here: http://www.nacas.org/media/15360/Event-PowerPoint-11-13-13.pdf
UPDATE: If you missed this presentation, there will be a link to a recording of it up on the NACAS website soon. We will post it here, so stay tuned!Posted by Brian Collins | 0 comments | post a comment