Breaking Ground at Johns Hopkins University

RIL_1254Capstone On-Campus Management is pleased to join Johns Hopkins UniversityArmada Hoffler Properties, and the Beatty Development Group in the groundbreaking of a brand new student housing facility on the JHU campus.  3200 St. Paul (officially named in the coming months) will provide additional options for the upperclass students at JHU.


“Great student-oriented housing combined with new shopping and dining alternatives and added off-street parking: This building truly has something for everyone on our campus and in our neighborhood,” said Alan Fish, the university’s vice president for facilities and real estate.

The official press release can be found HERE.



Congratulations to TJ Logan!

tjloganThe team at Capstone OnCampus Management was thrilled to hear that Thomas “TJ” Logan was named the Director of Housing for Administrative Services at the University of Florida.

TJ has made an enormous impact not only at the University of Florida but on the entire Student Affairs profession. In five short years, he restructured the Administrative Services Department at UF, re-tooled their Conferences Services operations, and served in several key industry leadership positions.

TJ is recognized as an expert in the use of social media in campus housing making numerous conference presentations and keynote addresses. TJ has also authored articles and book chapters on occupancy management and social media.

As a Campus Partner, we have the honor to see TJ’s tireless dedication and unwavering support firsthand. No matter the obstacle, TJ brings a solutions minded spirit that causes everyone around him to work harder and achieve more.

Please join me in offering congratulations to TJ!

You can follow TJ on twitter at @TJLogan and you can see our original podcast with him here:


Eight Helpful Tips on How to Best Utilize the Conference Season

ConferenceAs conference season grows upon us, I think it is important for us to reflect on the best practices for making the most of your conference experience. Whether you are a seasoned professional or interviewing for your first job out of Graduate school; these helpful tips can be very helpful no matter what level you are in your field.

  1. Have a flexible game plan. Planning out your trip and schedule ahead of time is a great way to pressure yourself to make the most use of your time at the conference.  Using the conference schedule or brochure is a great way to plan ahead to which speakers, sessions, or receptions to attend.  It is important to remember that you must have some flexibility with the schedule allowing some opening to connect with old colleagues or creating time to connect with new ones.  You can also plan these ahead of time if you know of others attending the conference.
  2. Always dress to impress. You never know who you are going to meet or run into at a Conference.  Whether you are job hunting or secure in a position; networking contacts can help you at any point in your career and you want to make a good first impression.  Always dress to impress and be professional.  Even if you are out for the evening with some colleagues and in casual attire; make sure it is appropriate as you can run into anyone at any time!
  3. Always have your name tag visible.  Professionals use nametags at conferences to find out who you are and where you are from.  This can help create connections that you may not know you had. Although you may feel like a small fish in a big sea; your affiliation with your company, university or colleagues could lead to connections with others.  People will also be more likely to use your name (which will help them remember it) if you are wearing a nametag.
  4. Bring business cards and resumes. Having these on hand, even if you are not job hunting, can benefit anyone attending a conference.  Updating your contact information with old colleagues, connecting with vendors, having your information for new contacts or even to enter yourself into drawings and prizes are some of the examples of how business cards can benefit.  It may seem simple, but many people do forget!  Don’t have business cards? Create some for yourself!  Sites like vistaprint and 1800postcards often have deals for free business cards or you can create them yourself on the computer!
  5. Go to sessions. A few days away from work and a comfy hotel bed?; It is easy to get caught up in staying in bed and hanging out with other friends or colleagues who may be at the conference or in the area!  It is important to remember the purpose of this professional development opportunity and the investment you or your company have put into sending you to the conference.  Make the most of the experience and attend sessions.  Be sure to pick sessions that you can utilize now or in the future.  Be strategic.  Choose the best sessions for your site, company or you; not because everyone else is going to it or you know the presenter.  Attending sessions are a great way to get information and make connections through networking.
  6. Attend receptions, speakers, and vendor fairs. Gather resources!  These “extras” at conferences may not seem as important as sessions but they are! These are great opportunities for you to network and gain valuable resources for your site! Even if you don’t feel like you need it now, you can always have a “toolbox” and have resources readily available if something does come up.  
  7. Connect with old colleagues; meet new ones and network as much as possible.  Making sure you keep in contact and up to date with your old colleagues can be just as beneficial as making new connections.  Professionals in the field are always advancing and/or moving around to new job opportunities which may be able to benefit you.  Let them know what you are doing and what you are looking to do in the future.  Down the road if a position opens up, they may think of you because you connected with them!  Networking can be tiresome for some introverts but it is well worth the energy for the things you will gain!
  8. Apply what you’ve learned. Conferences are not beneficial or worth the investment if you do not apply the things you’ve learned!  After you return from a conference, reflect and review the things you gained.  Additionally, write down the things you wish to implement in your professional life or on your site and how you plan on implementing these new initiatives. This is also a good time to reach out to those you connected with at the conference.  Grab all those business cards and send a quick “thank you” to those you connected with.  This will make you stand out and hopefully spark a conversation!

These eight tips are a glimpse into the ways that you can make the most of your conference experience.  Use them to your advantage.  Enjoy the experience and all the benefits you can gain from it.  Be intentional and strategic! Hopefully, using these tips, you will make the best of this season! Happy Conferencing!


The Current Financial State of the US Higher Education System

Lee WhiteOur first podcast guest of 2015 is Lee White, Executive Vice President and Manager of the Education and Non-Profit Finance Group, George K. Baum & Company.  Lee is active in all areas of public finance, with a special emphasis on higher education.  He is regarded as the industry’s leading expert in the area of privatized student housing finance, and has made numerous presentations over the years for the NACUBO organization.

This is Lee’s second time on our podcast, as he joined us in October of 2012 to talk about the financing aspect of building student housing.  Today he joins us to talk about the current financial state of the US higher education system and talked about the topics, “is higher education overbuilt?” and “where are the bright spots?”.

Also, if you missed our “best of” podcast from 2014, go check it out.  It’s some bits and pieces from our favorite moments of last year. Lastly, we’d love to hear from you!  If you’ve got any ideas or topics you’d want to hear about, or even guests you might like to hear from, please email us at  And don’t forget to check us out on Twitter at @OnCampusHousing and on Facebook.

Mitigating The Risks Associated With An Un-User-Friendly Crisis Plan

crisis-preparedness-signIn the first blog I wrote here, we talked about being proactive with our crisis response protocols.  In this post, we’re addressing why its important to make that plan very user-friendly.

Many large universities and organizations have a crisis management plan, and some have taken the time to distribute them to their administrators and department heads. More often than not, however, they resemble the large university textbooks of old, are referenced rarely and carry a substantial amount of dust.

One of the measures of a great crisis protocol is its ease of use. Even the smartest of plans will not receive a lot of attention after they are introduced initially and when not in use. The best favor you can do for your university is to develop a thoughtfully-customized plan for your school that is communicated broadly, understood fully and referenced (particularly in the event of a crisis) easily.

If your university’s crisis plan is of the textbook variety, take solace knowing you have the ability to remedy that problem. Invest the time necessary to identify the titles and names of those individuals who should compose your school’s crisis communications team. Then develop an easy-to-follow plan that can live in many places across your campus, clearly identifying who is responsible for what. Those without specific responsibilities play roles too – they are responsible for saying nothing at all to (or to share a specific statement with) their families, friends, grocery-store acquaintances, neighbors and, obviously, members of the media.

Your crisis plan simply should describe who and how you respond to an event. The following steps may be useful as you think about how to structure your protocol should an issue arise:

  • Engage the crisis team and discuss the situation (wouldn’t it be nice if all team members have each other’s contact information and easy ways to communicate in advance?)
  • Communicate with your legal team (whenever necessary) to develop a partnership to balance response strategies
  • Gather the facts by deciding which members of the crisis team are responsible for fact-gathering; compare and confirm known facts about the crisis and carefully choose facts you can and should release in any written or verbal communications
  • Respond swiftly and in one voice by creating a list of questions that members of your target audiences (e.g., faculty, employees, students, parents, the community and the media) may use by developing one clear statement for all audiences; during a crisis, you should assume that any statements shared with your faculty and employees also will be shared externally, so consider all of your university’s various channels that could be used to communicate your response (e.g., news conferences, in-person meetings, social media channels, e-communications, website, direct mail, etc.)
  • Stay connected to the crisis by providing the university’s spokesperson’s contact information to key reporters and your stakeholders; the spokesperson should commit to being reachable and approachable while you continue engaging the crisis team, discussing progress and any new facts that have developed, and developing additional talking points, as needed.
  • Monitor coverage and gauge reaction by gathering all print clippings, video files and feedback from crisis team members and university advocates and partners; monitor students’, parents’ and community members’ comments, as well as the reactions of your faculty and staff (remain flexible to adjust your plans for next steps and post-crisis responses)

Remember, a simpler crisis plan is not easier to develop – it’s just much more effective and useful in advance of, during and after a crisis – when you actually need it. And once you have created your plan, share it with your administration, faculty and staff, and ask that they review it regularly. Make it accessible at a moment’s notice. And draft it in such a way that it easily can be read, understood and used by a college senior who made it to her 8am class after too little sleep and too much fun the night before.

Danny Markstein is the Managing Director of MarkStein, a PR company located in Birmingham, AL. 


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