CityU takes part in international campus housing conference

Ellen Chan

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A happy residence life can add flavour and colour to students’ university experiences. Staff from the Student Residence Office (SRO) of City University of Hong Kong (CityU) are devoted to resolving the various residency problems that can arise and strive to understand, respond and react to evolving trends in hall residence management.

By participating in the “Global Housing Summit 2009”, organised by the Association of College and University Housing Officers - International (ACUHO-I), SRO staff could interact with cohorts from other cultures to examine the expectations of international students and gain valuable insights into the challenges and solutions presented to campuses around the world.


This international event lasts for five days and brings together 100 senior collegiate housing officers and administrators from Australia, Canada, China, Germany, Hong Kong, New Zealand, South Africa, UK, the US and other countries and regions, with the goal of identifying the global issues that impact college students and housing professionals. With tours of residence halls at CityU and other institutions in Hong Kong, the participants also have the chance to meet the students and staff to learn more about residence life and the uniqueness of Hong Kong.


The delegations visited CityU on 12 January and were welcomed by Professor Paul Lam Kwan-sing, Vice-President (Student Affairs). He said internationalisation and renovations to universities were a current pattern in higher education. In the past, student residences were solely viewed as a place to sleep, whereas now it is regarded as a learning space. “Hostels have become an important part of the university and we tried to build more hostels for students to enjoy their university life,” said Professor Lam.


"Running student accommodation is no simple matter. At CityU, we have to accommodate local, overseas and mainland students. We try to use the hostel in a way that allows them to mix in order to enhance interaction and communication,"said Professor Lam. “I hope our colleagues benefit from this summit and learn how to deal with the myriad issues that arise in managing the hostels.”


CityU, in 2003, became the first Hong Kong university to join this Association and has maintained strong ties with other members ever since. Ms Rebecca Chan Po-yu, Director of SRO, said taking a role in the association meant CityU could keep in touch with all other practitioners to exchange ideas about managing student residence halls and bring this experience back to our own campus and other higher institutions in Hong Kong.


"Through this event, I hope overseas universities can learn more about CityU and develop a network for exchanging ideas on student housing and affairs," Rebecca said.


Mr Jack Gibbons, Associate Director of the Office of Residential Life of the University of California, Los Angeles (UCLA) said UCLA was also managing the trend towards increased internationalisation. With more students arriving from the mainland he hoped to gain experience from other universities in best handling with a mutlicultural campus.


The summit is a platform for the participants to identify issues such as best practices and trends in housing for non-native students; challenges faced when melding cultures; sustainable practices and resources; the role technology serves in business operations and academic support; and the development of potential solutions.


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