2017: Student Residence & Dining


Full house

In 2005, Iowa State’s campus housing occupancy was at 7,736 – the lowest it had been since 1971. Now it’s the highest on record. And it’s not just due to the burgeoning enrollment: Occupancy growth (65%) has even outpaced the rise in enrollment during that time period.

How has the Department of Residence kept up with the demand? It’s taken a variety of approaches: Expansion of apartment-style living; addition of a large, traditional residence hall; renovation of Memorial Union hotel rooms to student rooms; and off-campus leases. As of last fall, all freshmen requesting housing were placed in on-campus residence halls.

With dozens of new apartments popping up in Campustown, west Ames, and along 4th and 16th streets east of the stadium, it might seem surprising that the demand for on-campus housing is so strong.

But Pete Englin (L)(PhD ’01), director of the Department of Residence, understands what motivates students to live on campus.

“Students get to know each other in the residence halls,” he said. “e experience is built on relationships and a shared investment in the living community.”

Since taking over leadership of the residence division in 2005, Englin has placed a high priority on working with students and providing the services that matter to them. He emphasizes leadership opportunities; nurturing the whole student – academically, socially, emotionally, physically; providing resources to allow students to succeed; and keeping costs down.

“Students need to know they’re relevant and they matter,” he said. “Their opinions are clearly informing the decisions we make.”


Our campus home

A quick look at new and revamped facilities

  • Frederiksen Court Apartments expansion: Six new buildings since 2012
  • Geoffroy Hall: A traditional residence hall opening in January
  • Memorial Union: 70 students now living in former hotel space
  • Reinvestment in current housing: “Lifecycle” projects are taking place in ISU’s historic residence halls (new windows, flooring, restroom upgrades, etc.)


  • Clyde’s Fresh Express: Retooling of existing sports-bar-themed restaurant to a fast-casual restaurant with healthy grab-and-go options
  • ABE’s Harvest Café: Located in the Biorenewables Complex
  • Froots: Smoothie bar in the renovated and expanded State Gym
  • Global Café: Located in renovated Curtiss Hall space
  • Coming next fall: Friley Windows dining center



  1. All incoming freshmen who submitted contracts were placed in university housing in fall 2016.
  2. 95% of all freshmen live on campus.
  3. A total of 12,437 beds were filled in fall 2016 in university-owned or -managed housing.
  4. Housing occupancy growth (65%) outpaced enrollment growth (40%) from fall 2005 to fall 2015.
  5. University housing is guaranteed to all new-to-ISU students, including transfers.
  6. The Department of Residence employs 192 full-time and more than 300 student staff members.
  7. The Department of Residence is completely self-supported (no money from tuition or general fees; all revenue from room/apartment fees).
  8. Iowa State has 20 residence halls and two on-campus apartment communities.
  9. Some university housing isn’t actually on campus. The university has leased 1,455 off-campus spaces and operates them as on-campus housing. All leased apartments are furnished, with CAs, hall directors, and paid utilities.
  10. Students can choose to eat at four residential dining centers, three on-campus restaurants, and 11 cafes scattered across campus.
  11. Three convenience stores offer snacks and made-to-order sandwiches and other meals.
  12. Meals that can be used outside the dining centers give student meal plans flexibility and on-the-go convenience.
  13. Most ISU Dining bakery items are baked from scratch, and flavors are rotated seasonally. But don’t worry – the über-popular buttermilk chocolate brownies are available all year.


Rooms with a view

Geoffroy Hall, located just east of Buchanan Hall on Lincoln Way, opens in January 2017.
The $49.5 million project includes large, traditional, double-occupancy rooms with 784
beds; four elevators; community bathrooms with private showers; open gathering spaces;
and a “front porch” area on every floor. Oh, and one more thing: amazing views of both
campus and Ames. During a sneak peek last fall, photographer Jim Heemstra snapped
photos from upper floors of the still-under-construction residence hall.


This article was originally published in VISIONS magazine. To receive the full issue delivered to your mailbox four times per year, become a member of the ISU Alumni Association.



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