A supportive home away from home for students
The return of international and interstate students to the city has been a slow-growing process back to what it used to be, and many members of the Student Accommodation Council have their doors wide open.
The Student Accommodation Council is a recently formed division of the Property Council of Australia (PCA), launched by executive director Torie Brown and CEO of Scape and inaugural chair Anouk Darling.
The purpose of the new division is to represent and advocate for Australia’s purpose-built student accommodation market and to provide safe and secure housing for students returning to their studies in Melbourne.
“Having students living in Carlton and the CBD provides an instant sugar-hit to local businesses, increases city vibrancy and injects much needed skills into the local workforce,” Ms Brown said.
“As well as providing pastoral care, student accommodation operators encourage new friendships and connections through facilitated activities and common spaces which ensure students don’t become socially isolated.”
Among the founding PCA Student Accommodation Council member profiles, which have Purpose Built Student Accommodation (PBSA) buildings situated in Carlton are Journal Student Living and Scape.
Keeping in tune with what they are known for across their already established 33 buildings, Scape’s latest PBSA build that opened at the start of July has bright colours bursting from every room.
This continual decision to create bright spaces is due to a mix of thought and science and Ms Darling said the concept was “done in partnership with leading specialists in the field”.
“At Scape we invest in understanding which colours foster thinking, which colours foster relaxation and which colours foster socialisation,” she said.
Also unique to the new Scape Lincoln College built on Swanston St, which is not emulated or duplicated anywhere else in Australia in PBSA spaces, is their catering option for students.
“We offer a seven-day breakfast which is built around a lounge experience and then for dinner three days a week [it] is a chef-prepared meal and four days a week there is a pantry option,” Ms Darling said.
“For the pantry option students pick and choose their fresh pantry items, take lessons with the chef in partnership with menu cards and prepare their own meals,” Ms Darling said.
In addition to the ground-floor kitchen and welcome lounge, Scape Lincoln College has a cinema, refreshment bar, study spaces, game room, rooftop area, beehives, gym and a music room with guitars, keyboards and an electronic drum kit.
Gyms, communal lounge spaces, kitchens, laundries and study spaces are common within many of the PBSA buildings and they add to the student living experience and their ability to make the spaces home.
One of the more well-established is that of Journal Uni Place on Leicester St, with 24/7 staff in the lobby and security on entry the space is well-secured, while the personal letterbox for all residents adds a touch of home.
The cosy library with the ceiling-high bookshelf and the private study rooms and nooks allow for students to study in private outside of their bedroom, while still being within sociable quarters – a deliberate choice.
“With its amazing facilities and Journal Life program, Journal is much more than a place to live,” chief executive officer of Journal Student Living Ian Davidoff said. “Community is at the heart of the Journal experience – bumping into friends in the lounges, doing a cooking class and sharing a meal in a communal kitchen, working out with friends in the gym, planting and harvesting vegetables in the rooftop garden.”
“Playing chess in the library or jumping on a tram with roommates to head to the gallery – all these are hallmarks of the Journal experience.”
Journal Uni Place has 804 beds with the rooms optimising on storage space in wardrobes, underneath beds and study desk storage, and like many of the PBSA buildings they have studio rooms and shared living apartments.
Not far from Journal Uni Place, situated overlooking the Queen Victoria Market is another founding PCA Student Accommodation Council member – Iglu.
Situated directly in the heart of the city, it is another example of the well-established offerings for students around their selected university that offer them an independent experience with an instant community that makes them feel supported.
The Student Accommodation Council has come at a time when student numbers are set to increase, following 181,000 students arriving to Australia in the first half of this year, and the hope is for the available accommodations to only further entice students to Melbourne. •
Image 1, 4 and 5: Supplied by Journal Student Living.
Image 2 and 3: Scape. Photo by Murray Enders.