Annual report 2015-16

The Office of Campus Living at the University of Arkansas at Little Rock develops students who are actively engaged and immersed in the campus, University District, and Little Rock communities. Our students cultivate a sense of respect for and understanding of the differences present within these communities. Additionally, our students demonstrate an understanding of self-care and life skills, equipped with the ability to advocate for both themselves and others. Well-maintained facilities, with an emphasis on safety, provide the foundation for a richly diverse campus living experience.

The Office of Campus Living at the University of Arkansas at Little Rock keeps the following values at the core of its initiatives, processes, and services:

  • Community Engagement
  • Identity Development
  • Self-care

It is the vision of the Office of Campus Living that all students will have a desire to live on campus and are able to do so in a safe and supportive environment that fosters academic success and self-growth.

Residence Life

The Office of Campus Living utilized the Residential Curriculum developed by ACPA to develop meaningful relationships amongst residents, student leaders, and professional staff. This model focuses on one-on-one individual conversations and a unique living environment which highlights specific learning outcomes. Each month, staff members focus on a learning outcome that provides a holistic living and learning experience through guided conversations, community meetings, and both passive and active programming.

Residence Life saw many programs and events that benefited our residents this year.  This year Campus Living partnered with the Student Experience Center to help promote the change of Homecoming to the fall. The halls hosted a lobby decorating contest where students decorated for Homecoming campus tours. The winner of the contest was Commons Apartments.  Another large program that was hosted by Campus Living was the NCAA Tournament Watch Parties.

Through continued partnership with Health Services and HPPE, Campus Living co-hosted Trojan Wars during Welcome Week 2015. Over 250 students attended to learn about safe sex practices and consent. Trojan Talk, a student-led health and wellness program, was hosted in the West Hall lower lobby on weekly basis. Campus Living is also highly involved with Green Dot and the bystander training program by offering an exclusive training session in January for Resident Assistants and student athlete leaders. To help support Suicide Prevention Week hosted by Counseling Services, Campus Living provided a sponsorship.

In an effort to continuously improve the safety and security of our students, we partnered with University Police to create a substation in East Hall to increase their visibility and further decrease response time. University Police also provided self-defense training to residents in various buildings multiple times over the duration of the year.

Campus Living sent 8 student leaders to the SWACURH (Southwestern Association for College and University Residence Halls) conference in College Station, Texas.  We also sent 8 Resident Assistants to the 2015 SWACUHO (Southwest Association of College & University Housing Officers) RA Conference held in Arlington, Texas.

West Hall hosted many programs that students enjoyed such as an indoor movie night in the field house, a Thanksgiving Potluck, a Valentine’s Party, and root beer pong to promote alcohol awareness.  Commons Apartments hosted a painting night for residents as well as a potluck night.  East Hall hosted a Super Bowl  party and Way Back Wednesday where students dressed up and listened to music from other decades. University Village hosted a bounce house night, with a large inflated obstacle course for students.  They also had a messy paint night, where students were able to paint on canvases with paint filled balloons.

Business Management

Facilities

During the 2015-2016 academic year, our staff responded to 3,303 work orders within the Campus Living facilities, an increase of 18 percent compared to the 2014-2015 academic year. Additionally, Campus Living submitted 237 work orders to Facilities Management, a significant increase from the previous calendar year.

Campus Living facilities staff saw turnover over the course of the academic year. Sean Hogan has assumed the position of Maintenance Supervisor and Randy Henslee has moved from the Assistant Director for Facilities to the Associate Director for Facilities.

We are proud that we were able to install a new gate system at University Village that includes a guardhouse and trolley stop. We also added additional lighting and replaced existing lighting at University Village and East Hall based on student feedback.

Technology
During the 2015 - 2016 academic year, Campus Living IT instituted many advances and upgrades for the ResNet network. One major success was upgrading the wireless systems in three residence halls. East Hall, North Hall, and South Hall had very low quality of wireless service due to antiquated infrastructure. Campus Living IT embarked upon an upgrade project to modernize this equipment and increase the wireless services for the residents of those halls. We installed new, more powerful wireless access points and gigabit Ethernet switches. During the 2014 - 2015 academic year, Campus Living IT received 187 complaints of poor wireless signal. Since the upgrade, Campus Living IT have only received 28 complaints of poor wireless service. Of those 28, only 1 was not caused by a problem with the residents computer.

We also implemented the Blackboard Transact door access system at University Village. The goal was to increase onsite security and student safety. One card reader was placed on a pedestrian gate facing Asher Avenue. This gate was previously non-functional. With that card reader in place, residents can enter University Village without walking through lanes of traffic. We also placed card readers on the swimming pool gate and the clubhouse to allow residents to access these amenities at their leisure.

The Office of Campus Living utilized SkyFactor's national bench-marking tool for assessment for this year. Formerly EBI/Mapworks, this tool was used in 2007, 2010, and 2014.

The highlights this year were:

The students this year were most satisfied with their roommates. This is a stark contrast to years past when this was an area of concern. Students identified dining services as needing the most improvement.

Each year SkyFactor identifies areas to improve that would have the greatest impact on the students. This year they recommend improving the room assignment or change process. Due to an unforeseen increase in retention, many students were placed on a waiting list for accommodations and did not know if they could live on campus again until May or June.

Analysis of the data showed that the populations less likely to be satisfied living on campus are:

  • seniors / graduate students
  • students identifying as multiple races

The populations most likely to be satisfied living on campus are:

  • students who participated in events on site
  • students who identified as Hispanic/Latino
  • Develop the infrastructure, implementation, and assessment methods for Residential Curriculum.
  • Expand and implement additional methods of assessment for residence life staff, training, and programming.
  • Develop and prepare to implement additional sustainable Living Learning Communities through faculty buy-in and student interest.
  • Establish training opportunities and promote professional training for Campus Living office processes to better facilitate student experience and convenience.
  • Evaluate and streamline the reapplication process for returning students.
  • Promote and extend the longevity of the residential facilities.
  • Increase student satisfaction of residential facilities and facilities process.
  • Establish a dedicated IT department to serve the technology needs of Campus Living residents.
  • Implement and expand electronic lock systems in residence halls.

This year the Office of Campus Living had many accomplishments, the biggest being that we opened the Fall 2015 semester with 100% occupancy. We recently changed the title of the office as part of the Division of Student Affairs reorganization. Campus Living was the Office of Student Housing since 1992, and employees felt that this no longer embodied the mission and values of the office.  When students move in, we want this to be their home sweet home, not just a residence hall.  Campus Living is defined as a space where students live, grow, and connect with others, and this is why we rebranded to Campus Living.  

We have also had several position changes that were exciting for our department.  Genevieve Girard-Baird moved from Administrative Assistant III to Business Manager, Michelle Zengulis moved from West Hall Director to Assistant Director for Residence Life and Marc Glidden moved from University Village Director to Assistant Director for Residence Life and now the Director of Campus Living.

Campus Living has worked with individuals who identify as transgender to ensure that they receive appropriate and respectful accommodations while living on-campus. Additionally, we have transitioned many of our gender specific restrooms into non-gender specific restrooms.

Campus Living received a “Bright Spot” from Provost Zulma Toro on the retention of returning students wishing to live on campus.