Fan engagement for off-campus students

I noticed back in August that there was an uptick in the number of people taking my metro park and ride route from the suburbs along I-45 into the loop around the Eastwood Transit center where UH runs some of its bus routes. Most, if not all, of the new passengers are college students. My assumption is that these students are living in the same houses that they grew up in. Most likely to save money.

Since age-old stereotype of UH is that of a commuter school, I am wondering by what means can the University administration increase the engagement of off-campus students?

It seems to me that “off-campus” living at other public schools in Texas differs from UH in that most of the students who live off-campus at UT, TX State, Tech of A&M still have to pack up and move away from the area in which they grew up.

I believe freshman are required to live on campus but can get a waiver. With the cost of college, maybe living at home an commuting is fiscally responsible.

However, commuting really stunts the on campus experience and bonding with the university. It goes from being an experience to just a means to and end if they are not engaged.

Several of the guys I went to school with who commuted and graduated from UH in the late 89s and early 90s just don’t express a tie to the school and have not been back to campus or a game since graduation.

We have the 2nd most on-campus living students behind ATM. We tried to increase that number by trying to put requirement of freshman class staying on campus, but that got shut down.

Not only on-campus activity but also the surrounding area. After the game, we have nothing to do around campus.

UH has atleast a decade before it becomes that kind of engaging school. Maybe even longer because of 3rd ward

1 Like

This post is about off-campus students. Having a lot of on-campus students is all well and good. But the majority of students at state universities in Texas live off campus. So the difference between UH and other Texas schools is the living situation for the off-campus students.

UH has alumni groups in cities from coast-to-coast that meet for games. Maybe some could be organized around the city. They might hurt attendance if close to UH. But commuter students in places like Katy might enjoy games with fellow students, make friends, and have greater involvement with UH.

Many of the commuter students that I’ve known and asked why they don’t attend games, have indicated that they hardly have any friends at UH. Bonding with friends or a friend is a great incentive to attend games. Also, if you attend any HISD fb game hardly any one attends. City kids don’t grow up with the idea of going games as an important part of their life experience the way rural people do. I went to high school in a town of approx 7k and we had a 5k seat stadium. Most of the town attended games.

Culture can be a big reason too. Only 1 out of many my friends attends football games and he does it occasionally because he lives in Austin. Many asian professionals do not even visit school after graduation.

This discussion has been going on for decades. Not sure how old you are, but campus engagement is at an all time high. Or at least the admin is trying to cultivate it.

Also proximity is what usually determines engagement. If you commute in you are far less likely to engage. Like if you live more than 10 minutes from your gym, your chances of working out diminish greatly.

I think UH gets it and has actively been trying to change the culture.

Also other schools have tens of thousands of apartments right next to campus. UH is moving towards that, but it’s not even close.

1 Like

Friend teaches a class of 124 students He asked a bonus question on recent exam Who is the Cougar QB. 46 per cent knew the answer. If 60 per cent of faculty & staff came to our games plus students we would be close to sell out.

As a kid that commuted, it’s hard to feel a part of the campus when you spend 6 hours on campus and 18 hours away. Most of my college bound high school buddies went out of town. So my off campus life was hanging out with high school friends that weren’t going to college at all and working part time at businesses in my neighborhood. Don’t think their is any magic formula to get those students involved, especially the ones that aren’t sports fans.

Do you have a citation for that asian claim or is that just you eyeballing something and making a general statement? That’s’ pretty ignorant and insulting.

Living on campus is ideal to build a bond but I’m glad it’s not mandated because I hate seeing kids saddled with crippling debt and if living at home helps a kid go to school then all the better. However, I lived on campus for 4 years and attended a lot of sporting events while in school but only go to football games now. I don’t think I’ve been to a basketball game since 2000 and late 90s for baseball.

Another reason could be that many students work during the weekends and not have time to go to the game. When I was in school, 11am games were difficult to attend since I worked Saturday mornings.

Plus I knew some college friends who carpooled with me since some did not have cars and getting a ride to and from the game was difficult.

So when Clyde retired were you afraid no one could ever match his coaching and work ethic ever again?

We need posts like this from our marketing team. :joy:

1 Like

Actually, there is a “magic formula” to get students, both those who live on campus and those who don’t, involved. It’s the Greek system. Members of fraternities and sororities tend to become and stay engaged in supporting their school’s athletic programs because they often attend with their fellow members.


Not everyone is suited for the frat system. So unless you are saying the university force fraternities and sororities to accept everyone that applies and force all students to apply, then your magic formula isn’t very magical because it doesn’t have room for 35k students.

What if they have more events during the day when attendance is at its peak and continue those events at night. Maybe something to get them pumped about games signage about opposing schools or pep rally type of things at a permanent location for all our sports to market themselves.

Not eyeballing because I am Asian myself. I have a lots of cousins graduating from UH but only 1 have FB season tickets. Others watch pro sports. This is not insulting because sports are not our main focus especially 1st and 2nd generations. I am counting on kids that were born here like my cousins but so far not good.

UH is night/day different than it was in the late 80s/early 90s, which is when I attended. Definitely a commuter school back then, now there are tons more options to live on campus. Most of the kids I know going to school in Austin do not live on campus

I will say that time period ( late 80s/early 90s) was a KILLER for UH athletics and overall traditions. A lot of traditions that were in place died at that time. No one cared.

It has taken the '00s-now to recover and we’re still doing so