April 1 is April Fool’s Day. It is also the first day of the fiscal year at UBC – and in SHHS. While the financial statements are not quite finalized, I am pleased to report that fiscal 2016-17, which ended on March 31, 2017, was yet another record breaking year in every segment of business within SHHS.

With the opening of Orchard Commons, we now operate over 11,000 beds on the Vancouver campus and 1,676 beds on the Okanagan campus. This makes UBC (by far) the largest university-operated student housing operation in Canada and puts us in the top 20 in North America.

Conferences and Accommodations (C&A) realized record breaking sales and room nights, realizing over 185,000 room nights in summer 2016 alone. Plus, C&A received very positive customer feedback results through channels like Trip Advisor, Bookings.com and Reputology.

Food Services not only saw record breaking sales, it also made great strides in menu quality and diversity, plus it implemented a number of positive service improvements. Additionally Food Services launched the Food Values framework to guide decisions across the unit. Of course, it’s worth highlighting the launch of Scholar’s Catering – our new catering operation – and Open Kitchen and Hero Coffee + Market in Orchard Commons.

Child Care Services expanded its offerings with the opening of an occasional care centre in The Nest and an infant & toddler centre in Orchard Commons. UBC Child Care Services continues to be a leader in early childhood education. Did you know that it operates the largest single-site child care service in British Columbia, not to mention the largest university-operated child care service in North America?

Through each of these service operations, we generated revenues of $164 million in fiscal 2016-17 (growth of 11.8% from year previous), funds that strongly supports UBC’s academic mission. We should all be particularly proud of this accomplishment and, more importantly, for continuing to deliver critical and outstanding services to the entire campus community – students, faculty, staff and the many visitors to our beautiful campus.


Looking ahead to fiscal 2017-18, we anticipate continued revenue growth and have a number of service enhancement and capital projects underway; all these realities have us poised to realize another record breaking year ahead, with budgeted revenue growth of 11.0% over fiscal 2016-17.

A few projects to keep an eye on:

Student Housing/C&A

  • Brock Commons – Tallwood House and Totem Park (Infill Phase II) projects are scheduled to open in summer 2017 – adding 758 new beds to our existing inventory
  • Construction of The Exchange residence and the new transit terminal in the Gage South area and moving forward with the design for Brock Commons phase 2 (both part of our extended long-term strategic housing growth plan for the UBC Vancouver campus)
  • Continue planning for 440 new beds at the Okanagan campus, including a new commonsblock, which will add a new dining room and supplemental services for both student residents and the campus community
  • Invest $15 million in existing facilities to ensure prudent asset management and ensure that all facilities we operate (old and new) provide an outstanding living environment for all residents
  • Continue to fully utilize campus resources during the summer period

Food Services

  • Opening 3 new locations (Starbucks, Subway & Booster Juice) in the UBC Life Building (Old SUB), which is currently being redeveloped
  • Continue to prudently invest in franchise and self-branded food businesses, including a rebrand and concept for Reboot Café and a refresh of the Place Vanier dining room
  • Continued improvement of marketing and communications to promote and drive the business through all channels

Child Care Services

  • Increase the use of Osprey occasional care through targeted marketing to the UBC community
  • Execute year 3 of a 5-year refurbishment and re-roofing project of two additional centres
  • Continue to enhance workplace safety, ergonomic awareness, and training opportunities
  • Support overall child care growth at UBC through the Child Care Coordination Committee.

Of course, the delivery of great experiences and services can only be realized with a strong commitment, a positive work environment and engaged employees at all levels of the operation. Please accept this message as a sincere thank you and congratulations to each of you. Each of us (1,900 and counting!) who work in SHHS, delivers services that enhance the experience of every person who sets foot on campus – in Vancouver and in the Okanagan.

My sincere thanks. Smile, it’s contagious!

Andrew Parr
Managing Director
Student Housing and Hospitality Services
The University of British Columbia