Membership Spotlight: Jordan Meates
As Accommodation Officer at Sheffield Hallam, what does your role entail?
I provide, advice, guidance and support in relation to offering UK and international students university managed, partnership, and private sector residential accommodation. I work as part of a dedicated team responsible for providing a range of housing services to deliver a seamless student experience. Typically, this includes sourcing suitable accommodation, allocating rooms in university partnership halls of residence, advising stakeholders with regards to accommodation processes, and actively supporting landlords and tenants with contractual obligations.
I also lead on communications and social media for Accommodation Services and the Facilities Directorate at Sheffield Hallam University via the SHU Browzer platform. Throughout the academic year I plan and execute an ongoing calendar programme of consistent and innovative communications going out to students on behalf of the wider university.
What’s the best thing about working in Student Accommodation?
It’s a bit of a cliché but the people involved in student accommodation really do make the industry what it is! I get to meet and work with such a wide variety of people and personalities that no two days are ever really the same - from the halls staff to the private sector landlords, internal and external partners, colleagues across the sector, and students, everyone has their part to play. And just when you think you’ve seen and heard it all before something new comes along to keep you on your toes!
I also enjoy the fact that I genuinely feel like I have the opportunity to make a difference. As we all know, accommodation is an integral part of the overall student experience and things like finding a room in halls for a late arrival, resolving a dispute between tenants, or explaining the legalities of a contract to an international student go a long way in contributing to someone’s first impressions and abiding memories of university life.
Tell us about a project that you're particularly proud of.
I am proud of taking a lead role in the inception, implementation and promotion of our successful, city-wide private sector housing accreditation scheme ‘snug’ which launched in 2014. The scheme was designed to ensure that all our students have access to good quality, safe accommodation in the private sector. Student homes accredited under the snug scheme must achieve high standards for their physical condition, management standards, and are routinely inspected by Sheffield City Council. The scheme has massively benefited the city with regards to maintaining the standard and supply of superior private sector accommodation, recognises the contribution of reputable landlords, and showcases our ongoing commitment to the welfare of our students.
You’ve recently presented at our ASRA 2019 Conference and Exhibition, what did you present on?
Social media – you can love it or hate it but never ignore it! Throughout the session I explored how students utilise social media today and divulged the secrets behind how Sheffield Hallam Accommodation Services engage with students via Campuslife’s Browzer platform. Delegates also had the opportunity to work together to consider their own organisational approaches to student engagement, identify the challenges of social media today, and delve into the future as we unpicked and predicted the changing landscape of the phenomenon!
I’ve never presented at an event on this scale before but really enjoyed the experience – I hope that those who attended my session found it useful too!
What did you learn from the other sessions you attended?
The sessions I attended were invaluable and certainly provided me with a great deal of useful insights into a multitude of topics, many of which I hope to put into practice in my current role. Specifically, I have a better understanding of the relationships between an organisation and its people and how sometimes it’s the little touches that go a long way. I was also able to obtain a greater comprehension of what student’s really want from their accommodation in 2019, how to enhance student experience through the development of community and creating a sense of belonging, as well as an appreciation of the significant similarities and differences between the university and PBSA sectors.
More generally, I learned that ASRA really is one of a kind! It’s a conference like no other and presents a truly unique opportunity to network with colleagues from across the sector, share knowledge and best practice, celebrate success stories, catch up with old friends and meet new ones, all whilst having a good time in the process!
Jordan has several years’ experience working in the student accommodation sector. Upon completion of his studies at Sheffield Hallam University where he obtained a first-class honours degree, he initially worked in the private sector team helping to launch and promote Sheffield’s successful city-wide snug accreditation scheme. Jordan now holds the role of Accommodation Officer and specialises in student communications and social media. Jordan is best described as a stereotypical Yorkshireman – strong-willed, tight-fisted, with a dry sense of humour and a passion for Sheffield Wednesday!
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