Nearly half a million new students have started university this autumn – but for many, the excitement and adventure of leaving home for the first time is tinged with loneliness as they leave family and friends behind.
Recognising this significant issue, Empiric Student Property PLC (“Empiric”), a leading provider and operator of student accommodation, has partnered with resident engagement and property management software provider Spike Global, to help facilitate strong and supportive communities across its 9,000-bed portfolio.
Empiric’s portfolio ranges from purpose-built accommodation to redeveloped offices and public buildings in prime locations across 29 of the UK’s top university towns and cities, including Cardiff, Edinburgh, Exeter, Leeds and Oxford. With 50% of Empiric’s student residents now coming from overseas – a group which often struggles the most to integrate – the company has launched a white-labelled version of Spike Living across all 80 of its accommodation sites at the start of this academic year. The user-friendly portal sits as part of its Hello Student brand, which connects Empiric’s entire portfolio under one centralised platform.
Acting as a ‘one stop shop’, the app provides a multitude of features, but crucially enables students to connect with their neighbours and form interest and support groups, as well as organise their own events to get to know each other, helping them feel at home at a time that many can find stressful. As the app is building-specific and only available to genuine residents, it provides a safer, more personal and more local experience than conventional social media, helping students to make genuinely like-minded contacts and friends, both virtually and face-to-face.
As well as the social aspects of Spike Living, the app also provides instant communication with the Hello Student onsite team, making it easier for overseas students, in particular. Residents can book the onsite amenities, organise a parcel collection, report a fault or check on rental payments, anytime and anywhere, offering a game-changing ease of communication on both sides. The app is also home to upcoming events listings, useful local guides and exclusive promotions.
Jeremy Heath-Smith, CEO of Spike Global, comments: “We are extremely proud to be working with Empiric across all its Hello Student sites, and we share an understanding of the importance of accommodation that is not only comfortable, but also supports the social and mental health needs of students. Empiric’s premium accommodation provides a great base from which to enjoy the university adventure, and Spike Living will help students cope with both the social and practical challenges of living independently, by providing a straightforward way to navigate and make the most of their new home.”
Gemma Le Marquer, Sales and Marketing Director at Empiric comments: “It is particularly important to us that our residents can fully experience all that university life has to offer, and really feel the benefits of a strong student community. We have joined forces with Spike Global, who share our values and market goals, to provide the Spike Living portal at every one of our developments to help residents make the most of this significant life experience.”