MacEwan University is a growing university in downtown Edmonton, Alberta. The on-campus residence has been operating for a decade and facing decreasing occupancy rates. After discussions with the MacEwan team, Scion proposed an occupancy management review and marketing plan to re-invigorate the residence system and bring occupancy back to full capacity.
The Scion Group gathered and analyzed data from the University related to occupancy rates, application processes, marketing materials, current and projected enrollments, residence handbooks and student demographics. In addition, Scion examined the guiding documents of the University to embrace the current landscape as well as find connection points through which to better integrate the residence into the culture and organization of the University.
While on campus, Scion conducted several focus groups and interviews with key stakeholders across the University, including full-time and student staff in housing, student leadership groups and students representing specific profiles. Additionally, multiple whiteboard sessions were held in high traffic areas to gather further feedback about the residence program. Finally, Scion designed and distributed a survey about the residential experience, off-campus living experiences and what factors drive student retention to full-time students on campus. Scion also conducted a detailed off campus market review including special consideration for the purpose-built student housing in the vicinity.
Scion’s recommendations to the University focused on strengthening the integration of the residence within the University’s organizational structure, and emphasized on-campus residency as an expected part of the first-year experience for non-Edmonton students and as a more attractive option for upper year students. Additional recommendations involved the processes for admissions, fines, leasing and lease structures and prices. Scion also focused on improving the student experience and streamlining the staff workload through better efficiencies and more effective software. Additionally, Scion also recommended consideration for strategic renovations to further amplify the possibility of the residence being an attractive part of the University experience and to give more opportunity for community building and intentional promotion of academic success.