A milestone at IU South Bend was reached this fall when River Crossing student housing reached full occupancy. Steady growth over the last several years has culminated in the symbolic and satisfying accomplishment of all 388 available beds being filled with students living on campus. The momentum has continued with spring occupancy setting a record high and the number of students applying to live in River Crossing next fall is up significantly. “It looks like a waitlist is inevitable and some students may be turned away if they wait too long to apply,” said Ricky Ganaishlal, director of Housing and Residence Life at IU South Bend.
There are several reasons for the achievement of full occupancy. When he arrived on campus almost three years ago Chancellor Terry L. Allison convened a task force to look at ways to increase the number of students living on campus. Occupancy was hovering at about 85 percent. “We needed to get those last 30 to 40 students into River Crossing to meet our goal,” said Allison. “The task force came up with excellent ideas.”
In addition to some operational changes that made it easier and more affordable to live in River Crossing, there were changes to the culture in student housing at IU South Bend that created a welcoming and supportive environment for students. An increase in athletic programs at IU South Bend led to more student-athletes staying at River Crossing. The addition of theme houses also added groups of students with common interests who wanted to live and learn together. The increase in the number of students in the Honors Program living on campus also added to the growth. But both White and Ganishlal give most of the credit for the growth to the Resident Assistants who are the heart and soul of River Crossing student housing. “We have had an excellent crop of RAs over the last two years who have transformed the reputation and environment at River Crossing,” said Karen White, associate vice chancellor for student services. “Word of mouth is that you want to live on campus now.”
This year’s RAs were Jesse Camper, Jacob Zell, Raven Miller, Sarah Meyer, Crystal Cross, Ashley Ball, Anthony Carrasco and Tony Nguyen. RAs are being trained for next year.
IU South Bend has offered student housing since 2008. The stduent housing complex features eight, two-story buildings with 1,2, and 4-bedroom suites. A community building provides a gathering place for students and includes a big screen television, fireplace, computers, laundry, mailboxes and study areas.