The student media organization of California State University Northridge

Daily Sundial

The student media organization of California State University Northridge

Daily Sundial

The student media organization of California State University Northridge

Daily Sundial

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Summer conferences fill unused residence halls

CSUN Student Housing offers vacant residence halls to several university programs and off-campus organizations during the summer as a way to generate extra revenue and keep student housing costs low during regular semesters.

This summer, on-campus students occupy three of the 15 residence halls in the University Park Apartments.

“The reason we have three buildings filled with students is because that’s what the demand is,” said Tim Trevan, director of Residential Life and University Conference Services. “Students generally don’t want to take summer housing.”

Trevan said many students prefer to live at home and work summer jobs. Others just like to stay at home with family or take vacations, he said.

“It’s just more viable to go home,” Trevan said.

According to Claire Davis, manager of Conference and Hospitality Services for Student Housing, there are academic programs at CSUN that need housing, as well as various off-campus groups that use the empty residence halls for conferences.

“There is no empty space available (in the residence halls) during the academic year,” Davis said. “So, just through the summer months we bring conferences in.”

Davis said the unused summer residence halls are not at full capacity for Summer 2005, and that there is room for more conferences.

“Right now we have conferences in six different buildings,” Davis said.

“The conference program helps supplement some of the expenses and brings in extra revenue to help keep resident costs down during the academic year,” said Phillip Gin, associate director for Business and Hospitality Services for Student Housing.

“We are a self-sustaining operation in that we have to maintain our own revenue stream to cover all of our own expenses,” Gin said.

Student Housing does not receive funding from the state in the same way that Physical Plant Management does, for example.

Gin said that if the conference program does not run smoothly, student rates would increase due to the lack of supplemental income.

“We budget it so that we plan on certain amounts of conference revenue,” Gin said.

Due to the large number of vacant buildings during the summer, Student Housing hosts a variety of different programs and conferences.

The Getting Residents Excited About Tomorrow, or G.R.E.A.T., Escape is the only conference actually programmed directly by Residential Life.

“It’s a freshmen orientation program for recent high school (graduates),” said Darnell Edwards, community director for Residential Life in charge of the G.R.E.A.T. Escape program for Summer 2005.

The program was launched in Summer 2004 and consists of three days and four nights of activities in the University Park Apartments. Students have three G.R.E.A.T. Escape sessions to choose from. Edwards said there is an average of 16 new students in each session.

According to Edwards, the program is designed to help students get acclimated to the campus.

“We give them campus tours and show them some of the hot spots on campus, such as Admissions and Records, Financial Aid, the (Matador) Bookstore, the (Oviatt) Library and the (Klotz Student) Health Center,” Edwards said.

Edwards said activities during the G.R.E.A.T. Escape include stress management workshops, conflict mediation with roommates, and how to deal with roommate contracts.

“We (also) do competitive things like a scavenger hunt that allows them to use the resources we taught them about,” Edwards said.

Davis said groups from the Art, Music, and Leisure Studies departments would be using the residence halls this summer, as well as a group of actors who stay in one of the buildings while they take classes on acting and the auditioning process.

“There are also a couple of church groups that come to teach classes or have retreat programs,” Davis said. “We also have two groups of high school teachers that come to do teacher training programs.”

Davis said that although the buildings do not have conference rooms, they do have small classroom spaces. She added that conferences oftentimes use classroom spaces on campus for their activities.

“There are several programs through Student Outreach and Recruitment where they bring high school or middle school students to stay in the halls,” Davis said. “They stay anywhere from one night to six weeks.”

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