CU Family Housing is revealing its most unique feature as one of the most diverse communities in Colorado.
As of this spring, 67 percent of CU Family Housing residents were from outside the U.S., representing 54 nations, said Alfred Flores, assistant director of apartment life and child services.
“It’s kind of been kept quiet for some reason, but it’s really an incredible thing,” Flores said. “Walking into the children center is like a mini U.N.”
Many students say they are largely unaware of Family Housing.
“I don’t know anything about Family Housing and I doubt most students are aware of the extreme diversity there,” said Brian Stavis, 19, a sophomore environmental studies major. “I think it’s a refreshing statistic and students should be informed of the amounts of diversity on campus.”
There are 811 apartments in Family Housing and at least one member of the household is a CU student in 70 percent of the apartments, according to Flores.
Family housing is available for CU faculty and staff in addition to undergraduates and graduates.
“We chose Family Housing because we liked living in university-owned housing, and the location was very convenient,” said Kelly El-Yacoubi, 21, a fifth-year international affairs major.
El-Yacoubi, her husband and 6-month-old baby boy live in family housing at Newton Court.
Living among other families offers an instant supportive and social network for married couples, some residents say.
“Our friends are predominantly single, and therefore it’s not easy to see them, because they’re on a different schedule; our schedule is the baby’s schedule,” El-Yacoubi said. “We’ve met a lot of married couples in Family Housing. Our neighbors have kids, and all the moms seem to take their kids on walks at the same time in the afternoon.”
Family Housing offers social events to create a sense of unity between the residents. Many take advantage of the programs offered; at least 40 percent of family housing residents attend the large-scale programs.
“Family Housing offers a wide range of activities and programs,” Flores said. “For example, 400 residents attend our annual BBQ. We also have small-scale programs such as children book readings and family movie nights.”
El-Yacoubi said the activities create an opportunity for the kids to be active.
“The outdoor activities are nice because kids love to run around, so the pancake breakfasts and outdoor movie nights are nice,” El-Yacoubi said.
Residents say the greatest benefit of Family Housing is the global diversity and the opportunity to learn about other cultures in a deep and personal way.
Children growing up in CU Family Housing also benefit from this unparalleled experience, Flores said.
“Children are finding their identity in a global community at an early age,” Flores said. “When they leave Family Housing, they have the positive experience of getting along with other cultures and obtain the skills of interacting with different people, and appreciating, honoring and accepting on a deep level…Family housing offers profound experiences that go beyond learning in a classroom, by actually interacting with a global community.”
Contact CU Independent Staff Writer Kendall Schoemann at Kendall.Schoemann@colorado.edu.
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