As the 2022 fall semester approaches, the University of South Florida St. Petersburg campus is welcoming nearly 930 students into residence halls on campus, a new record.
USF’s Tampa campus also has a record-setting number of residential students this semester, with nearly 6,500 slated to live in the residence halls. Altogether, there will be approximately 7,400 students living in on-campus housing at USF, the most in university history.
“We are seeing a lot of students coming out of their pandemic situation and being really excited to come back to an in-person setting to engage in the classroom, engage outside the classroom and be a part of a vibrant community where they will have hundreds of their peers as neighbors,” said Susan Kimbrough, director of housing and residential education on the St. Petersburg campus.
The previous record for number of residential students living on the St. Petersburg campus was less than 730, which was set in the 2017-2018 academic year. This year represents a more than 25 percent increase, and includes students from 33 states and Puerto Rico, as well as 17 different countries.
"It’s an exciting time and we can't wait to welcome a record number of students who will call this campus home. The diversity of backgrounds they bring will strengthen student life and add to the already rich academic and social experiences on campus," said Christian Hardigree, regional chancellor of the USF St. Petersburg campus.
For more than a decade, USF has placed a strategic focus on offering a residential campus experience and adding housing capacity as part of an overall commitment to student success. Studies have shown that a vibrant on-campus environment can have a direct impact on improving the academic performance of students, as well as helping build stronger connections with peers.
In 2020, the 375-bed Osprey Suites opened and became the campus’ third residence hall, increasing the number of on-campus beds by nearly 70 percent.
The greater number of students living in residence halls also means higher participation in the seven Living Learning Communities (LLCs) on campus. LLCs bring together students interested in a particular topic or theme. Themes can be based on an identity, an academic major or an area of interest, and are great ways for students to share in new experiences and connect with people. The LLCs on the St. Petersburg campus focus on a variety of topics, including business, LGBTQ+ experiences and puppy raising.
“We are thrilled at the thought of watching our communities come to life,” Kimbrough said. “We have wonderful residence halls, but what makes them a community is the students who live here and the relationships they develop with others. Student engagement brings our campus to life and is a big part of the college experience."