Everyone wants to live in the cool apartment community, especially students and millennials fresh out of college. Question: What makes a community cool? Answer: The culture (…and amenities, the neighborhood, price, whatever—we’re going to focus on culture this time around). It’s hard to create a good culture in a world where everyone seems to be growing increasingly apathetic. But it can be done, believe you me. And here’s how.
Make a deal out of the random “holidays”
Did you know February 9th is national pizza day? Most of your residents probably didn’t, either. But literally everyone loves pizza (and if they say that they don’t they’re dirty liars and you shouldn’t talk to them). Knowledge is power, so use this to your advantage; for national pizza day, contact local pizza places and work with them to create special deals for your residents. Or you can host a pizza party at your community’s clubhouse, which’ll give residents an opportunity to meet each other and maybe make some new friends. This works with most obscure “holidays.”
In college, I was one of the founders of the creative writing club and a sometimes member of the outdoors club (whenever I wasn’t feeling lazy). I loved being able to make friends with people who had similar interests to mine, and your residents will love having the same opportunity. But don’t try to force the idea of clubs; your leasing agents have enough to do and shouldn’t be expected to create clubs and oversee the activities as well. You have a wide and interesting variety of residents, so allow them to create the clubs themselves; Many resident portals give residents this option. To help some of these clubs gain traction, spotlight them every so often on your community’s website.
Hosting events gives residents a chance to relax and something to look forward to. Host a few special events during the year (about once a quarter), like intramural sports during March Madness. If you’re a student property you can also hold bonfire nights at the end of each semester and encourage students to bring in old notes and tests to use as fuel for the fire. Doing fun things like this often don’t take too much planning but are still fun, social experiences that’ll leave a good impression on current and potential residents.
Don’t be heavy handed; your residents will be able to tell if you’re trying too hard. Let things flow as naturally as possible, and you’ll find that your community’s culture will develop in an organic way. What do you do to build community culture? Let us know in the comments below.