How Six Months in Russia Influenced His Look on Student Housing
Building a university—and its student housing component—from scratch would be a challenge in itself, but Campus Advantage biz development and consulting services VP Jonathan Bove and the CA team did it in Russia. Jonathan (here at St. Basil's Cathedral in Moscow and who'll be speaking at our Bisnow's Texas Student Housing Summit) just returned from six months in Vladivostok, where he worked with Russia’s Ministry of Education on the newly created Far Eastern Federal University (which opened in fall 2013). In addition to helping design a student residence life component, Campus Advantage even helped the university adopt a mascot —the Dragons—and set up merchandising to promote the school.
Jonathan says the university already had a student activities office, but no residence life programs. So they worked together to set up that office and assisted in recruiting resident assistants (an RA teambuilding exercise pictured), as well as setting up best practices for auxiliary services, career services, and food services, among others. Campus Advantage also advised on how to enhance residence life and the student atmosphere, as well as planning events and activities both inside and outside of the residence halls.
Because all of this was new, Jonathan’s team and the university leaders were establishing traditions that students will experience for years come, he tells us. Helping support international students while living abroad gave the CA team a much deeper appreciation for the need to support international students who study here in the US, too, Jonathan tells us. He says the cultural immersion is an experience he won’t soon forget. He left his mark, too: Pictured is Jonathan and the American football club team (The Wild Pandas) that he coached while he was there. He also learned how to make a great borscht, even exchanging recipes with the Ukraine-born cabbie who picked him up at the airport upon his return trip.