"From 10 to 4 p.m., the ballroom at the Hendrix Center was overflowing with students eager to learn about their housing options," said Student Senate housing chairman Tigue Garick. The students were there on Thursday, Jan. 30, for the annual off-campus housing fair.
"It is extremely important for a student living on campus, especially who has never lived in an apartment before and never had to deal with leasing an apartment and worrying about a security deposit, to know the advantages and disadvantages of living in different places around Clemson. Whether they are concerned with price, the proximity to campus or the number of bedrooms, the apartment fair is here to aid students in the process and provide answers to their questions," explained Garick.
Garick described the event as a "great success" for vendors and students. Crediting changes implemented by this year's housing committee, Garick spoke of increased participation "across the board."
He explained that the housing committee began "putting the fair together and sending out letters to different vendors" in October.
"We begin early to ensure the successfulness of the housing fair. Besides making contact with the apartment vendors that have attended in previous years, this year we were able to attract several new organizations. We also decided to move the fair into the Hendrix Center ballroom where the vendors and students would have more room to interact," he said.
In addition to moving the location of the fair, the housing committee decided to increase the price that vendors pay to participate.
"Last year we found it difficult to stay within budget. The money we raise by having this fair pays for the publication of the off-campus housing guides. This year by raising the price for vendors, selling advertisement space in the housing booklets and slightly increasing the price of the guides, we were able to earn approximately $2,600," Garick said.
While Garick noted that this figure was "much higher than we expected," he also emphasized that the money earned at the apartment fair was only a "side success."
Garick felt that the three main successes of this year's apartment fair were the change in location from the "glassed in meeting room" to the Hendrix Center's ballroom, the increased student turnout, and the increase in the number of vendors participating from 14 to 21.
"The dramatic increase in the number of apartment complexes in and around the Clemson area, produced many of this year's new vendors such as University Village," he said.
Garick also pointed out that in addition to an increased number of vendors, other companies such as Internet providers Network Communications and Clear Sky Network attended the fair.
"We asked these companies to join the fair because students looking for off-campus apartments also need to have access to Internet service. By bringing in the providers of this service, we hope to make the process easier for students," Garick explained.
Though Garick felt that this year's off-campus housing fair was one of the "most successful yet" he also noted that in the future the housing committee will try to attract even more students by further publicity of the event.
"We were hesitant to post flyers in dorm rooms and send out multiple e-mails simply because of the frequency with which these techniques are already employed by many other groups; however, it has become clear to us that the students are interested and excited about participation in the fair. Next year we hope to find a way to attract even more participation," said Garick.