Last week, the Rent College Pads team hit the road to learn about issues and opportunities modern campuses are facing in 2018. We met a variety of students, companies and community members at the International Town and Gown Association City & University Relation Conference in Columbus, Ohio, who talked with us about current higher education trends. Read on to hear the big concepts being discussed this year.
University and Community Coordination
One of the biggest ideas at ITGA 2018 was the importance of strengthening relationships between universities and their surrounding communities. Conference attendants were excited about finding ways to encourage more collaboration between colleges, landlords and businesses in small towns where both groups economically thrived off of one another.
Setbacks in College Communities
College towns and large universities can strain their surrounding communities, too. People wanted to know how to repair relationships between university and community officials that had been damaged by common college town issues: noise pollution, parking problems, over-occupancy, excessive littering, unaffordable housing rates and alcohol abuse.
Attendants were excited to talk about addressing these issues in new ways. Many people thought the answer lied in creating a larger sense of community in places where campus problems were pervasive. Residents and university groups liked the idea of increased networking and transparency, and there was popular support for town reporting databases where residents and students could file notices and complaints about issues like crime. Some schools were already ahead of the game: Arizona State University attendants mentioned that they met with police every Monday to go over off-campus incidents. This idea of increased information and transparency between colleges and police was refreshing to see, and we hope to hear more about it from other universities in the future.
Sexual Assault On Campus
The rise of the #MeToo movement has been transformative for universities nationwide, which was also apparent at the ITGA 2018 Conference. Police chiefs and officers in attendance talked about how to address sexual assault, which is more common among college age students than most other demographics.
Thanks to the continued conversations on both traditional media and social media platforms, the number of reported incidents on campuses are beginning to accurately reflect the rate of sexual assault cases. Now universities are grappling with how to fight an issue that’s been deeply rooted in the higher education system for decades.
Renting and Leasing
It wouldn’t be a proper conference without discussions about improving off-campus renting and leasing! We talked with attendants about changes in the landlord and housing industry, and how we’re working to modernize the off-campus housing process. People brought up some interesting ideas, including shortening the pre-leasing cycle and improving landlord-student communication.
From all the vibrant discussions we took part in, we think it’s safe to say that the ITGA 2018 Conference was a smashing success. We can’t wait to incorporate what we’ve learned to keep helping students find the best pads possible. We’ll see you next year!
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