An inside look at CapU Residence
Helen Aikenhead // Features Editor
It’s finally here – right out of the gates for the 2017-2018 academic year, Capilano University will at long last be offering students off-campus housing. Located at 2420 Dollarton Highway, CapU Residence is a few-minutes drive away from campus and is accessible by transit via the 212 Bus via Phibbs Exchange.
Grouse and Cypress Hall – two of the three buildings, all named after local mountains – welcomed its students this past Friday, Sept. 1. Seymour Hall will open in January.
With the extremely challenging nature of housing throughout the Lower Mainland, CapU students have been anxiously awaiting this development for a long time. Not only does the new housing option seek to aid in this struggle, school officials hope the close-knit lifestyle in residence will strengthen the student community both on and off campus.
Student Housing Services Manager, Chad Johnstone, said that the residence is unlike any student experience previously offered at the University – an experience that can provide many important everyday skills that come with living away from home, as well as providing further personal development. On what he hopes the residence will provide for the students as individuals, Johnstone said, “ultimately, that they identify what kind of citizen and community member it is that they want to be moving forward.”
Each room includes a pair of twin-size beds and mattresses, closets, drawers, desks and chairs. While most rooms are shared, a maximum of 50 students can acquire a solo space for an additional cost. There are three bachelor-style apartments that each include a single bed, a private washroom and a small kitchen. The apartments are available only to students with a demonstrated need.
Laundry rooms are accessible on the first and second floors of each building, and are free to use for the student-residents. An air-conditioned dining hall has select meal service times, and is open throughout the day as a study and gathering space.
An outdoor bike storage will be available to students who choose to cycle to campus and CapU’s partnership with Evo has brought the car sharing company to the residences as well. Parking on site will be free, but limited and the complex is approximately a 45-minute walk away from CapU.
The Residence Life Team, consisting of the residence life facilitator and 12 residence advisors (RA), are committed to providing a fun and supportive environment for the students, which means ensuring many opportunities for social programming and events.
Johnstone also explained that partnerships are in the works between campus organizations and the residence to make sure their programming is in alignment to achieve a fully inclusive community and encourage student success. Partnerships such as the Residence Relationship Committee that Andrew Willis, Capilano Students’ Union (CSU) vice-president academic, has initiated. One of the CSU’s early initiatives is to place a vending machine that can provide toiletries and other basic necessities for students.
The RAs will play other major roles in the students lives – as students themselves, the RAs will be relatable figures available to students to provide any necessary guidance and mentorship. Each RA will be assigned to a specific floor, allowing them to get to know students on a more personal basis to encourage individualized support.
The Residence Life Team is also part of the emergency response process and will be on-call to assist students with any issues that may arise within the community. Although, from the beginning, the staff work to prevent any opportunity for conflict within the residence. Roommates are assigned based on lifestyle compatibility and are given the chance to meet at the beginning of the semester, along with their RA, to draft a roommate agreement that will help prevent potential disagreements.
The University’s conflict resolution advisor has been helping those at the residence finalize these agreements, as well as training the RAs in mediating arguments so they can help should any issues present themselves.
The creation of CapU Residence might already be one of the biggest developments for the school in recent years, but the University already has its sights set on planning for the future. Director of Campus Planning, Susan Doig, said that work is already underway in the search for suitable on-campus housing options that would best suit Capilano, stating that information will be released as it becomes available. Doig further explained that on- or off-campus, the new housing options provide an incredibly exciting opportunity for students that the school is proud to offer.
For more information about CapU Residence, including fees and application, visit Capilanou.ca/services/student-residences