Off-campus housing fair launches tutorial

The Village Liaisons are sponsoring an Off Campus Living Fair on March 30 in the Main Lounge. The fair will host different property owners and managers in South Orange and surrounding area with available place for students to rent off campus.

The newest aspect of the fair is the launch of an online tutorial geared toward helping students with different aspects of downtown living.

The tutorial will be available through Blackboard and consists of five different modules that focus on those aspects.

“Once a student has completed each module and answers the quiz questions correctly, they will receive a Certificate of Completion within two weeks,” Sarah Clifford, the assistant dean of Community Development, said. “We are encouraging students to show this certificate to property owners to show they have completed the tutorial.We have also mailed all registered property owners in South Orange to let them know about the tutorial and encouraged them to ask students to show this certificate before signing a lease with them.”

Karen Van Norman, the associate vice president of Student Affairs and dean of students, came up with the idea for the tutorial. The offices of Community Development, Community Relations, and The Teaching and Learning Center developed the online tutorial.

Alysha McRae, the coordinator for off campus services, said that the tutorial and housing fair were opportunities to build a stronger bond between South Orange and the university.

“Students should take the tutorial because it gives them a sense of what they can expect as they transition into off campus living,” McRae said. “For many students this will be their first time living on their own as a tenant, so the tutorial will help answer any questions they may have about it. Also, the tutorial shows landlords that SHU students are serious renters and know what is expected of them.”

Clifford is now the contact person for all students living off campus who have questions or concerns about living off campus.

“My office information is available in the tutorial and I am also working to create other online communities to give students information and support while living off campus,” Clifford said.

One of the other online communities Clifford hopes to establish is a Blackboard especially for students who live off campus.

Information about advantages of being a resident of the town, such as recreation services and different events, will also be available.

Representatives from South Orange will also be present to answer any questions or address concerns regarding living in the South Orange community.

“I’ve witnessed the fair progress over the last few years and am especially excited for how far it has come this year,” Jacie Jones, the chair of Village Liaisons said. “I’m hopeful that students attending the fair leave with more resources than they expected and really get excited about moving out into the community.”

McRae said her favorite part about the fair is that landlords get to visit campus and see students in a positive light instead of the negative stereotypes they may hear about off campus.

“We’ll be raffling off a ton of really awesome apartment-related prizes, including things like a George Foreman grill, a Magic Bullet, linen and towel sets and Tupperware, as well as a Commuter Parking Pass and other things,” Jones said.

Many of the resources from the fair will be made available on the student blog The Blue Orange.

“By providing students with resources and ensuring they’re making educated decisions regarding off-campus living, we’re helping to foster awareness and hopefully responsibility,” Jones said. “These factors all contribute to student’s off-campus experience and we hope that it ultimately makes them better neighbors and better residents off the surrounding communities.”

Stephanie Bower can be reached at

Author: Staff Writer

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