SRU’s student housing earns in-state and national recognition
Oct. 9, 2018
SLIPPERY ROCK, Pa. - Slippery Rock University's Department of Housing and Residence Life has earned an "A+" ranking from niche.com. SRU's residence halls were ranked No. 1 in Pennsylvania among a field of 103, while finishing 21st in the nation from a group of 1,370 institutions.
SRU offers on-campus living in eight residence halls - Buildings A, B, D, E, F, North Hall, Rhoads Hall, Watson Hall - and ROCK Apartments.
"I was really pleased when I learned of the rankings. I mean, A+ is top of the chart, right?," Dan Brown, SRU director of housing, said with a smile. "I hate to say that we, as a department, were shocked, but it certainly was a 'wow' moment for us, because we deal with it every day and if something needs attention, we deal with it and get it done. It's never about our being the best, it about making sure we're providing the best experience possible for our students while they are on campus. If something needs done and it'll make a student's life better so they can focus on their education, then we get it done."
According to its website, niche is the "best place to research U.S. colleges, schools, neighborhoods and companies. Every month millions of people use our easy-to-read and comprehensive reports cards, rankings and reviews to choose the right schools or neighborhoods for them. Niche does rigorous cleaning and analysis on large data sets and combines them with feedback from our community for nuanced insight that can't be found anywhere else."
According to Brown, achieving the distinction is the result of a two-fold process that sets SRU apart from the competition.
"I would say (the ranking) is because of the investment in facilities and the investment in people that the University provides," he said. "If you invest in one and not the other it doesn't work. As to facilities, we've done some upgrades and renovations, in both the suites and the traditional residences halls; and as to the investment in people, you take residence life - which is the other side of our department coin - and how they configure the Living-Learning Communities environment and what we offer isn't just a place to live or a place to learn, but a unique combination that helps to foster a student's growth as a person, as a learner and as a functioning member of a community."
Approximately 40 percent of all residential students at SRU live in a Living-Learning Community which provide students with an out-of-class learning experience by grouping them in their residence halls based on academic goals or common interests. Students in LLCs, such as liberal arts or military/emergency services, live on the same floors as classmates in their major or area of interest, are provided access to workspaces and other resources, and must commit to attending programs related to their LLC.
During the summer, North Hall and ROCK Apartments entered into the first of a two-phase renovation. While the first phase was completed before the start of the fall semester, the second phase is on tap for summer 2019.
Improvements to North Hall included new bathrooms on each of the three floors and various cosmetic improvements to the third floor. Similar updates for the second floor and new windows for the entire building will be part of the second phase.
The kitchens and bathrooms in four of the eight ROCK Apartment buildings - 310, 320, 330 and 350 - were renovated this summer with the other four buildings scheduled for upgrades in 2019. The ROCK Apartments house a combined 188 students in 47 four-bedroom units.
"The University prides itself on providing high quality education, high quality facilities and high-quality support for our students," said Brown. "It all works together as one. If it weren't for the outstanding academic programs we offer that drive enrollment to our campus, there wouldn't be anyone to live in our residence halls and propel us to this type of recognition. Without one, there couldn't be the other."
In other notable niche.com rankings, SRU was named a "Top Public University in Pennsylvania," finishing 10th out of 38 institutions; and a "Best College Campus in Pennsylvania," coming in 13th out of a field of 104.
To see SRU's complete niche.com profile, click here.
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