Conference Day One: Tuesday, 27th March 2018


8:50 AM - 9:00 AM Opening Remarks by the Conference Chair

9:00 AM - 9:40 AM INTERNATIONAL CASE STUDY: Agnes Blackadder and University Hall Extension – Developing Key Partnerships at the University of St Andrews to Improve Commercial Strategy and Student Experience

Ben Stuart, Director, Residential and Business Service, University of St Andrews
Since July 2017, the University of St Andrews has been constructing and developing the extension of two accommodation buildings, set for completion by late 2018. With additional ensuite bedspaces, shared and social facilities, this will collectively increase the total capacity to just over 1200. Designed with modern technology and maximum natural lightning, not only do the bedrooms provide a comfortable feel, but the extensions provide seamless linkage of old and new buildings. The partnership and consideration into the design elements of the accommodation means that the University can improve their commercial strategy and enhance student experience. In this international case study, Ben will discuss:

  • Insights into University of St Andrews’ Accommodation Action Plan to offer reassurance to current and future students, as well as lessen pressures on community housing markets
  • Increasing direct involvement between universities and contractors to create seamless spaces and accessibility to the campus and city life
  • Understanding the importance of disclosing information with students regarding refurbishment, extensions and new builds to minimise disturbances


Ben Stuart

Director, Residential and Business Service
University of St Andrews

9:40 AM - 10:20 AM Developing a Strategic Approach to Operations: Calibrating Sites to Retain Full Occupancy

Michael Lynch, General Manager, RMIT Village, Student Village, the University of Melbourne Campus, Yarra House, Campus Living Villages
In 2016, Campus Living Village’s Student Village at the University of Melbourne Campus opened with 648 new beds. The quality facilities on offer and environmentally sustainable practices has meant that since it’s operation and opening on January 2016, the building boasted 100% occupancy, and remains at this standard to this day. The design outcomes and strategic operational plan of the development heavily influenced not only a better student experience, but also the overall seamless project management of the accommodation. Drawing on past projects of CLV, Michael will discuss the standards and strategies for maintaining full occupancy including

  • Understanding the development and marketing opportunity of early operator involvement
  • Taking calculated risks with design and innovation: How CLV is reaping the benefits of over a 14 per cent reduction in electricity usages costs due to a focus on 5 Star Ratings and Sustainable buildings at full occupancy
  • Implications of designs: What are the responsibilities of operators to ensure health and safety of students/ staff/contractors, whether through technological safety standard operating procedures, systems or building requirements whilst maintaining full occupancy


Michael Lynch

General Manager, RMIT Village, Student Village, the University of Melbourne Campus, Yarra House
Campus Living Villages

10:20 AM - 10:50 AM Thought Leadership Session

10:50 AM - 11:20 AM Speed Networking Session

An effective structured interactive session designed to help expand your network through one-to-one focused conversations. Bring your business cards!


This is your chance to make your conference experience truly interactive and collaborative. Each IDG is set in a roundtable format and will be facilitated by an expert practitioner in the space. In two rotations, each IDG will last for 20 minutes, allowing you to pick the two top of mind topics you wish to discuss and solve.

Interactive Discussion Groups (IDGs)

Topic One:

11:50 AM - 12:30 PM Spaces and Technology that Support Learning and Lifestyle

Nicole Saunders, Manager, Campus Engagement, Macquarie University


Nicole Saunders

Manager, Campus Engagement
Macquarie University

Topic Two:

11:50 AM - 12:30 PM Considering Partners to Grow the Delivery, Ownership and Operations of Development Projects

Guy Wells, Associate Director, Hotels & Student Accommodation, Colliers International


Guy Wells

Associate Director, Hotels & Student Accommodation
Colliers International

Topic Three:

11:50 AM - 12:30 PM Securing Buy-In from Students to Adapt to Shared Rooms and Facilities

Andrew Renfree, Manager, Residential Communities, Federation University


Andrew Renfree

Manager, Residential Communities
Federation University

12:30 PM - 1:10 PM CASE STUDY: Opportunities for Growth at the City of Launceston: Working with the University of Tasmania to Develop the $15.7 million Inveresk Student Apartments

Leanne Hurst, Director, Development Services, City of Launceston
In 2014, the University of Tasmania lodged a development application with the City of Launceston to build 120 student apartments beside the Inveresk Campus. Opened in 2016, the building was Tasmania’s first prefabricated timberframed development, and continues to enhance its place in the Launceston city context with its underlying urban structure, heritage and natural amenity. Funded under the National Rental Affordability Scheme, the apartments also aligned with the council’s bid to increase the CBD vibrancy and support the Inner City Action Plan. In this session, Leanne will discuss the importance of support from city councils to address the shortfall of accommodation and enhance city liveability.

  • Assessing how City of Launceston worked to establish high-quality student accommodation to sustain the city’s long-term economic growth while still catering to international student life
  • How the proposed projects aligned with UTAS and community requirements and students to easily integrate into city life
  • How developers and universities can make use of council incentives to accelerate planning approvals for projects


Leanne Hurst

Director, Development Services
City of Launceston


2:10 PM - 2:50 PM CASE STUDY: Expanding Deakin’s Residential Services and Student Experience

Yonna Cowan, General Manager, Deakin Residential Services
The newly expanded Melbourne Burwood residential service at Deakin University aims to meet increased demand and quality, affordable accommodation for 575 additional students. With approximately 1/3 of students at residences being international, Deakin only sees a continuous growth in the future in this market, in addition to growth with metro and regional students. Part of delivering contemporary student housing to support student experience comes down to utilising the Deakin Residential Student Experience framework. In this session, Yonna will briefly discuss the new accommodation and how the framework assists student growth and experience.

  • Features of the internal apartments and open recreational space that enhances student comfort
  • Meeting expectations: Creating a space that caters to all students
  • Working and communicating with the project team, stakeholders and communities to assist with responsibilities regarding the build and design


Yonna Cowan

General Manager
Deakin Residential Services

2:50 PM - 3:30 PM Understanding the Changing Student Market and Areas of Improvement to Refurbish Your Accommodation

Lisa Howard, Studio Principal, Taylor Cullity Lethlean
One of the challenging aspects of designing the right student accommodation for both Australian and International students is the turnover of students each year. With most universities and developers offering half the amount of beds to first year, undergraduate students, it becomes a challenge when delivering a place that will suit the next generation of students. In the past few years, student satisfaction surveys for Australian accommodation continues to hover in the 80-90 per cent mark. In order to maintain this consistency and develop growth, it is important, therefore, to provide facilities and landscapes that are flexible enough to change and refurbish after a few years. This session will explore:

  • Effective ways to conduct surveys to monitor service delivery and understand the critical areas of improvement for the future
  • Measuring and tracking success on innovation and facilities to identify what constitutes successful student experience
  • Managing the living environment – How residential services can work with students to renovate and retrofit living spaces


Lisa Howard

Studio Principal
Taylor Cullity Lethlean


4:00 PM - 4:40 PM Resident Life and Community Building: Crossing Physical Refurbishment with Student Support to Improve the Whole Student Experience

Rowan Tan, Associate Director, Housing and Finance, Swinburne University of Technology
Most universities would have started with managing a small group of 200 on-campus accommodation students. This is what it was like for Swinburne, and over the years they’ve seen triple the volume of students embracing on-campus accommodation. In this session, Rowan will use her experiences from managing a range of student accommodation and residential services, including a brief overview of Swinburne’s current initiatives, to address how equally focusing on refurbishment and support programs will further enable the best student experience you can provide now and in the future.

  • Improving facilities and refurbishment to flexibly develop the best accommodation that appeals to the right markets
  • Ensuring the safety of students through the physical structures and emotional support structures
  • Avoiding the silos and mitigating risks by building a strong, welcoming and supportive community


Rowan Tan

Associate Director, Housing and Finance
Swinburne University of Technology

4:40 PM - 5:20 PM CASE STUDY: University of Melbourne’s Carlton Connect Initiative: Housing Graduate Students and Visiting Academics

Vanessa Campbell, Development Manager, Operations, Carlton Connect Initiative, University of Melbourne
The University of Melbourne is committed to developing Australia’s leading innovation precinct which will involve the co-location of industry, researchers, government and the community. Unlike most development projects, the Carlton Connect Initiative will develop 274 specialised student accommodation apartments to post-graduate students and visiting academics. To align the architectural design elements of the accommodation with the overall innovative precinct requirements, Vanessa will discuss the project vision and how the University of Melbourne is working with relevant stakeholders to achieve these goals.

  • Respond to gaps within current university housing provision through diverse apartment offerings and cluster models specifically targeting graduates and visiting academics
  • How the accommodation supports the University’s engagement objectives with the co-location of students, academics, researcher, entrepreneurs and industry partners, offering exciting opportunities for synergies and enriching educational experiences
  • The design of the accommodation will foster an active and engaged cohort that meaningfully use facilities and amplify academic energy, contributing to the vibrancy of CCI


Vanessa Campbell

Development Manager, Operations, Carlton Connect Initiative
University of Melbourne

5:20 PM - 6:00 PM CLOSING KEYNOTE: Australia’s Development Pipeline – How the Industry can Collaborate to Meet the Growing Demand Now and the Future

Mick Serena, Managing Director, SAFM
Universities and developers alike will need to change mindsets for the future to collectively enlighten campus and accommodation experience for students. With education services going online, how might this challenge the retention of students at campuses and accommodation to enable to whole of university experience? In this closing keynote, Mick will discuss the potential investment and development options for future student accommodation and the evolving models to be embraced to secure Australia’s global competitiveness.

  • Australia’s long term vision for student accommodation: What can we expect in the next 5-10 years?
  • Financing and project delivery: Leveraging opportunities for refurbishing and redevelopment through partnerships
  • Developing standards for student centric designs for the international market to maintain global competitiveness


Mick Serena

Managing Director

6:00 PM - 6:00 PM End of Day One and Networking Drinks