Creighton held its first housing fair on Monday through a partnership between the Creighton Students Union and Division of Student Life.
Roughly 170 students attended the fair, where they were able to meet with four housing management groups and six apartment groups about living off-campus.
Students were able to learn about different houses and apartments, how leases work, where they should be at in the housing process and what the next steps are, among other details.
“There were many housing opportunities that I had no idea about,” College of Arts and Sciences sophomore Grayson Huldin said. “I learned about the variety of prices, and the idea of what houses have to offer compared to what apartments have to offer.”
The event took over five months of research and planning.
“Over the summer I did a university comparison guide for myself,” CSU president Donna Shahbazi said. “I reached out to  schools and found out what was on their website, picked out what I thought was cool and then I emailed the person that did their housing fair.”
Shahbazi focused on how other schools came into contact with each vendor, whether fairs were intermixed between houses and apartments, how the event was marketed and what on campus partners were present at the fair.
Shahbazi found some key aspects that she wanted to incorporate through this research. She wanted to create a fun atmosphere at the event, so Billy the Bluejay was in attendance, the event was held carnival style and included giveaways at different vendors.
She also learned about neighborhood ambassadors through her research.
The University of Michigan had students serve as ambassadors for where they lived. This allowed students to talk freely about their own experiences of moving and living off campus.
“As the neighborhood ambassador, I was able to give honest, student-to-student answers about housing in Omaha and about my own apartment complex, Viewhouse,” said Sophie Spicci, neighborhood ambassador for the Viewhouse apartment complex. “It’s good for students to be able to ask questions of people who aren’t trying to ‘sell’ you on the housing they represent and can give the kind of answers employees of the housing company may not be allowed to give.”
Shahbazi said the original idea for Creighton to host a housing fair came last year during her campaign for CSU president. She asked students she knew what their perfect Creighton would be.
College of Arts and Sciences senior Ethan Farner said that it would be nice to have an event where students could learn about all the different living opportunities after their sophomore year.
“The concept of a housing fair is definitely something I’ve heard about before, but I didn’t know of any specific schools that do it prior to suggesting it to Donna,” Farner said. “Hosting a fair seemed like the easiest way to get students in contact with off-campus housing, because a lot of people aren’t aware of the online resources that exist for finding available rentals.”
After a successful first event, CSU and the Division of Student Life are gauging interest in a similar event for the spring semester, according to Shahbazi.
Regardless of if there is a spring housing fair or not, Shahbazi said the fall housing fair is here to stay.
“It’s something I’d highly encourage sophomores or juniors to look at attending,” Farner said. “I think if it made finding housing easier for even just a handful of students, it was worth putting on now and for future years to come.”