Throughout the Spotlight Series, we highlight residents and staff to learn about their experiences at College Housing Northwest (CHNW). In this post, we will feature Kayla, who started as a Leasing Consultant at the Gem and now works at as the Student Experience Manager for CHNW.
How did you get involved with CHNW?
While attending Oregon State University, I started working as a part-time Leasing Consultant at the Gem in Corvallis. At the time I thought I wanted to be a Pharmacist, but through working with residents and staff, I came to the realization that I was more passionate about human development and higher education than my previous major.
What does it mean to be a Student Experience Manager?
As the Student Experience Manager, my job is to ensure students are having the best possible experience while living at CHNW. I listen to what students have to say and implement their feedback into the organization. A large focus of my job is assessing student programs company-wide. I work with Site Managers and other department leads to improve the quality of student’s experience at each site.
What was the most impactful experience you’ve had with a student?
The most impactful experience I’ve had overall was educating renters as the Gem Site Manager. My favorite part of the job was to assist with our leasing consultant doing move-in appointments. I loved explaining the lease and addendums to first-time renters. Some students and parents would have so many questions, I am so glad that it was part of my job to slow down, take the time, and answer their questions for a cohesive move-in experience. I am happy that this organization values the leasing-learning process so that we can educate new residents.
Tell me a time when you helped a student?
As a Site Manager, my team and I worked with students who were from different countries to secure housing at the Gem. In one particular instance, a student thought he had secured an apartment at the Gem, but did not meet our rental criteria. Unfortunately, the student did not learn of the denial until he reached our office. He came to the office with all of his luggage having just landed in PDX, and traveled to Corvallis to find his new home. Upon meeting with our staff, he learned that we could not rent him an apartment and that he would need to go elsewhere to find housing.
At the time, I was unaware of the situation until my leasing agent told me that she felt uneasy about leaving the student with nowhere to go. Together, we helped the student secure permanent housing at a competing property, and temporary housing at a hotel until he could move-in to his new apartment. In this instance, our goal was to ensure the student would be housed regardless of the apartment complex.
How does CHNW differ from a private property management community? Or a residence hall?
Our students are attracted to live at CHNW because they seek more support than a typical property management company. CHNW communities are designed to be the “in-between” from a residence hall and a regular apartment complex. We strive to offer similar programs and offer more leniency to first-time renters, much like residence halls. However, we also mirror apartment communities by providing freedom and flexibility and by complying with all Fair Housing and Landlord Tenant Laws.
What do you like most about CHNW?
I love the people I work with and the students that I support. The company is filled with amazing people that are truly passionate about the work they do. The students I meet with bring passion and energy which creates a positive culture.
College Housing Northwest is a nonprofit organization founded in 1969 by students to support students in the areas of housing, academic success, and personal development.