Wednesday, October 20, 2021

Vassallo Interviews: The Connection at Oxford Hitting on All Cylinders


The ultimate living experience is being provided about one mile from campus by The Connection at Oxford. Not only meeting (but exceeding) their residents’ needs, who could ask for more? Run by professionals with an eye for even the most minute detail, Terri Roberts and Katie Hughes are making life easy for everyone who leases at 2000 Oxford Way. It takes a lot to impress me, however, I left The Connection at Oxford overwhelmed! What do your residents enjoy the very most about The Connection at Oxford?

Katie Hughes, marketing manager: I would have to say all the amenities that are provided including the shuttle transportation to the square Thursday through Saturday. We also have the city bus service to campus. Speaking of amenities, which are the most popular in addition to those you just mentioned?

Katie Hughes: Security is an ongoing important feature to any residential property and The Connection at Oxford is gated which our residents enjoy immensely and contributes to a “worry-free environment.” We have a very large resort pool which is open April until October from 9 a.m. until 10 p.m. daily. There is a 24-hour gym as well as a 24 hour study lab and computer room. This room features a white board in addition. It took me only a few minutes to drive here from campus (actually it’s only 1.1 miles). How many units does The Connection at Oxford offer?

Katie Hughes: We offer 816 rooms which encompasses 300 front doors. Our units range from 1-4 bedrooms to meet most everyone’s lifestyle needs. Our buildings are 3 story and all living units are contained on a single level with not having to commandeer any steps within. When do the leases typically start?

Katie Hughes: Our 12 month leases run from Aug. 15 to July 31. Normally in the April-May time frame we start filling up for the next school year. With such a large (primarily student) population, how do you address everyone’s needs and concerns so efficiently?

Katie Hughes: Our staff is professionally trained as our CA’s (Community Ambassadors) are available to assist throughout the day and evening. Our maintenance staff is on call 24/7 and we have a courtesy officer who lives on the property. Tell us about the interiors of the living quarters.

ConnectionKatie Hughes: We place a premium on providing personal space with a high degree of importance. For example, all bedrooms feature walk-in closets. Each has its own private bath. The appliances are all stainless steel and washers/dryers are in every unit. Wood floors are available and fully carpeted options are as well. All units are furnished with furniture updates having occurred just last year (2013). The only area shared by roommates is the living area. Wow! Before I forget to ask, can the residents have pets included?

Katie Hughes: The answer is yes. However, there is a monthly pet rental of $25 and we also offer a pet park. About 10% of our residents have a pet which are mostly dogs. We limit the size to about 50 pounds in order to maximize the enjoyment for all. Because security and safety are on everyone’s mind continuously, are there other features at The Connection at Oxford to alleviate concerns of residents as well as parents?

Katie Hughes: Absolutely! In each bedroom is a panic button alarm for ongoing safety. Our gated system is new and updated and we employ security cameras throughout the property. We pride ourselves on providing a safe and fun living experience. In our world of endless communication what does The Connection at Oxford provide in this regard?

Katie Hughes: Cable and high-speed Internet are provided. There are no problems/difficulties with cell coverage for mobile phones. Shifting gears for a moment, being an Ole Miss grad (from Ackerman), has this better prepared you for working with the students and addressing their needs?

Katie Hughes: By all means. Our goal is to focus on the whole student as our team is very engaged. Our employees are truly dedicated. Parents can be at ease knowing that their children are being well taken care of while making memories with friends in a fun and safe setting. We also offer roommate matching when requested. Parents express to me often about their concerns of students driving following a visit to bars and activities involving alcohol. Could we revisit your shuttle service for just a minute?

Katie Hughes: We offer the shuttle service to the square starting at 9 p.m. on Thursday, Friday and Saturday. The return shuttle continues until one hour after the bars close which is 1 a.m. on Thursday and Friday and midnight on Saturday. Does The Connection at Oxford ever offer additional fun events or services?

Katie Hughes: We host two pool parties that are catered each May and August with a DJ. We hold raffles and offer gift cards for referrals. Currently, we are raffling off a trip to Mobile for The Hang Out Fest scheduled May 15. Because most of your residents (98 percent) are students, outside of those instate, where are the majority from?

Katie Hughes: We have a great many from Texas followed by Alabama, Louisiana and Georgia. Is it accurate to state that the staff at The Connection at Oxford also includes a General Manager who is experienced/educated in Higher Education Administration?

Katie Hughes: Yes, Terri Roberts has been affiliated with luxury off-campus housing for students at NC State in Raleigh, NC A&T, UNC in Greensboro and Clayton State University in Atlanta along with many others. Featured in a spotlight article in Student Housing Business Magazine, Terri is a graduate of Liberty University in Lynchburg, VA possessing 2 Masters degrees specializing in Leadership and Higher Education Administration. This provides an unparalleled platform for bridge-building the partnership between the local university departments, prospective student residents and equally as important, the parents. As a former educator, Terri is focused on the comfort, well-being and whatever else can be done to assist students in having a peaceful environment conducive to their academic pursuits while maintaining a facility to provide a fun-filled atmosphere in concert with Ole Miss. In summing up, best describe The Connection at Oxford concisely.

Katie Hughes: Affordable, accessible in a nice setting with so much more. Our renewals are very high because of all we have to offer and our degree of professionalism extended in delivering these services.

In wrapping up with both Terri and Katie, it’s obvious why The Connection at Oxford has been so very successful starting in 2008. These ladies are consummate professionals with the experience and dedication to direct their staff and serve their clientele. The atmosphere that is created is both aesthetically beautiful and inviting.