SG hosts off-campus housing event

The Province, along with eight other complexes in the USF area will be sending representatives to the Apartment and Business Expo on Tuesday to help students who are contemplating living off-campus. ORACLE PHOTO/JACKIE BENITEZ

One of the first life-altering decisions college students have to make when they move away from home, and consequently every year after, is finding somewhere suitable to live. 

With an abundance of apartments surrounding USF and in the Tampa Bay area, it is not uncommon for people to get overwhelmed and confused. However, SG is trying to make this choice easier by holding the Apartment and Business Expo (ABX).

Every semester, for the past few years, SG invites several off-campus housing options to come on campus and advertise their apartments. The representatives sent by these apartments speak to students and inform them about what they offer and why they’re the best choice. They also bring promotional items as another way to sway students.

“I think the idea came about just because we have a big resident commuter student population,” Colton Morgan,  the director of public relations for SG, said. “(SG) wanted a more efficient way to let students know about the off-campus housing opportunities.”

Fall 2016’s ABX will be held on Tuesday on the MLK Lawn. It is scheduled to start at noon and last two hours. As of last Friday, the nine apartments that confirmed their participation are The Province, Avalon Heights, 42North, 4050 Lofts, Campus Club, IQ Apartments, The Ivy, College Court and Allister Place. The one furthest from USF’s campus is the latter, which resides on Busch Boulevard.

“For them, it’s an advertising opportunity to let them meet the students who, most of them, are right around here,” Morgan said. “It’s their chance to get to campus and let students know about them.”

And complexes have to pay for this opportunity. SG offers three options for this event: the Queen package, which costs $749; the King package, for $963; and the Ace package, the highest tier available at $1,284.

“It includes tables for them to use, parking passes, table cloths for the table, ABX T-shirts,” Madison Dazey, the SG advising, training and operations graduate assistant, said. “If they submitted their logos to us prior to Nov. 4, they got to get their logo on the T-shirt. They could also, depending on the package they get, have requested shout outs from our DJ who’s going to be there.”

The event is casino-themed this semester. A casino vendor will be providing different casino games for students to play in between finding out about apartment complexes, and Aramark, who is catering the event, will be providing a mocktail bar and dessert assortment table.

While the ABX may seem to target the freshmen who live on campus for their first year, but want to try off-campus living the year after, SG hopes to attract a broader demographic.

“Obviously, a big part of it is freshmen who don’t want to stay on campus,” Morgan said. “That’s a main part of it, but I think there’s a lot of students that they tried a place in their sophomore year, they didn’t like it. They’re still trying to find another place, but they’re not sure. Anyone that’s not exactly positive where they’re living next year, that’s pretty much who we’re trying to target. I think it could really be anyone.”

Tabata Rodriguez, a sophomore majoring in cell and molecular biology, is an example of the latter student. She lives at IQ Apartments with her friends, but the situation is not ideal for her. 

“I want to be able to walk to school and it’s too far of a walk for me,” Rodriguez said. “That’s why I was planning on maybe moving on 42nd Street, or closer to school.”

Before deciding to move to IQ for this school year, she gathered information about apartments in the area by attending Bull Market every Wednesday. However, she said that ABX would be a better way to inform students about apartment options because they’re all together in the same place.

“I don’t know where I’m going to live yet for next year, so I’ll go to (ABX),” Rodriguez said.