ISU Department of Residence Announces Third Highest Occupancy in School’s History

AMES, Iowa – On the heels of the university’s announcement of a record-breaking enrollment of 28,682 students, Iowa State University’s Department of Residence has announced its third highest occupancy rate. This fall, 9,403 students made the choice to live on campus, including nearly 5,000 upperclassmen and graduate students.

“We’re in a continuous process of getting student feedback about living on campus, but ultimately, students vote with their feet,” said Director of Residence Pete Englin, “and what they told us this year, particularly the upperclassmen, is that they value living on campus.”

Each year, the Department of Residence offers a number of academic resources to their students. Incoming freshmen and transfer students are encouraged to take MAP-Works, an online assessment that connects students to campus resources that help them achieve their dream of graduating from ISU. During the 2009-2010 school year, students who utilized MAP-Works recorded final GPAs over three-tenths of a grade point higher than those who did not. Freshmen are also encouraged to take Psych 131, a one credit course that helps students transition to college. And, residence staff members, including community advisors, hall directors, apartment managers, and resident managers routinely seek opportunities to assist students in their academic pursuits. The Department of Residence’s focus on academic support has been shown to be effective as on-campus students record significantly higher GPAs for all undergraduate classifications than their off-campus peers.

Specialty housing also helps students with their academics while creating lasting friendships. Residential learning communities, theme houses, and honors housing all connect students with similar interests. Groups like Women in Science and Engineering (WISE), Design Exchange, Army ROTC, and Honors Cluster are designed to foster success in academics as well as to cultivate relationships among peers, creating a more enjoyable experience for students across campus.

“Students are not only aware of, but utilizing the resources offered to them,” said Director of Residence Life Ginny Arthur. “Equally important, they are establishing relationships with students inside and outside their major. Those friendships and campus connections lead to academic success as well as personal and professional growth.”

Understanding that the personal development of their students is as important as their academic growth, the Department of Residence offers a number of leadership opportunities in the residence halls and apartment communities. Each of the 145 houses on campus elects a group of officers to lead in developing house policies and planning house activities. Each residence hall and apartment community has a leadership council, each of which strive to bring improvements to their communities through the creation of community-wide activities and formation of policy measures. Additionally, the Inter Residence Hall Association consists of representatives for each hall, at-large representatives, and an executive council that acts as the voice for all residence hall students to university administrative personnel. Over 800 students are involved in formal leadership roles in their living communities and partner with the Department of Residence in providing a strong sense of community.

“Our goal is to give students whatever they need to succeed, inside the classroom and out,” said Englin. “We believe that students are not only understanding the advantages in the resources the Department of Residence has provided them, but that they are choosing to live on campus because of them.”