Student Housing Business

MAY-JUN 2018

Student Housing Business is the voice of the student housing industry.

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VIE W FROM THE ACADEME May/June 2018 38 Changing Lives Through Housing For Purdue's Beth McCuskey, leading multiple departments to have an impact on the university's students is a mission. Interview by Randall Shearin M Managing housing is just one aspect of Beth McCuskey's job. As the vice provost for student life at Purdue University in West Lafayette, Indiana, McCuskey oversees 13 departments, including student life and student housing. And if that was not enough, McCuskey served as ACUHO-I's president last year. But she says in her 30-year student housing career, working with students — and changing their lives — is her favorite aspect of the job. SHB: What is the state of student housing at Purdue? Do you have a live-on requirement? How much student housing do you have? Beth McCuskey: We currently have about 13,500 beds, give or take. Purdue is also leas- ing some off-campus housing to get over some short-term needs. We have a plan to build new housing. Purdue doesn't have a live-on requirement, but even without it we tend to house about 94 percent of the first-year class. We also have had the strongest ever re-appli- cation rate in recent years, at about 49 percent of those eligible. That's across all class stand- ings, so obviously the younger students are at a higher percentage than seniors, for example, but averaging 49 percent of returners eligible. SHB: Why is that, because of the location of your housing? Or is it that the market in gen- eral doesn't have a lot of off-campus housing? McCuskey: Purdue students work hard, they're very studious, and I think they find the on-campus experience helps support that, through how we structure the academic sup- port, as well as the convenience of not having to go far, not having to clean, having a meal plan, etc. SHB: How many students does Purdue have, in total? McCuskey: We are around 42,000 students. SHB: Do you have any spe- cial programs in your housing, like live-in-colleges? McCuskey: We do. Let me tell you a little more about Purdue Move Housing. When President Mitch Daniels started at Purdue, we took in some success factors of students living on campus. Overwhelmingly, students who live on-campus perform bet- ter than students who live off-campus. That's true even when you look at the students who return to live on-campus versus those who chose to live off-campus; those students who lived with us one year and then went differ- ent directions the next. Students who stayed on campus did better than those who moved off. That was a pretty profound piece of infor- mation for him, so we committed to trying to house 50 percent of our undergraduates on-campus. Our undergraduate population is hovering in the low 30s now, so that's part of the growth plan that we've had in recent years. We just added an Honors College that opened last year, with about 850 beds, that's been very successful. We have a faculty-in-resi- dence model in one building. We have an exec- utive-in-residence program, which is pretty unique here. We work with successful alumni — C-Suite people — and we put them up in an apartment on-campus in one of the residence halls and they lead sessions with students for the better part of a week. It's been a successful program across the board. The alumni love it because they're reflecting on their college years and all the aspects of Purdue that have really influenced their careers and who they've become. The students love it because they're connecting with alumni in the C-Suite. That's been a really great experience. We're bringing BETH MCCUSKEY Vice Provost for Student Life, Purdue University The Cary Quadrangle consists of four halls built between 1928 and 1939 and renovated between 2000 and 2006. Cary is one of the largest all-male housing units in the country, according to Purdue University.

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