Posted October 17, 2011 by Scott Reed 

Instant Replay: Productive Tenant Relationships Hot Topics Round-Table

On Oct. 12, ACUI hosted a Hot Topics Round-Table Webinar on tenant relationships. Scott Reed facilitated the discussion that covered five core competency areas. Here are a few highlights from the webinar.

With the numerous types of tenants in our union facilities, have you had issues with developing the optimal productive relationship? The recent round-table on this topic covered five tenant relationship areas including types of tenants, what tenants are and what they are not, tenant communication, tenant accountability and recognition, and shared tenant management perspectives. Along with the facilitator, many attendees shared insights on these areas which is summarized below. 

Types of tenants 

  • Auxiliary (food service, banks, etc.)
  • Student organizations (multiple types)
  • Academic partners
  • Student affairs departments
  • Temporary tenants (short-term)

What tenants are and what they are not 

  • Are: partners, supporters, neighbors, advocates, customers, important, etc.
  • Are not: adversaries, competition, cash cows, etc.

Tenant communication ideas 

  • Stakeholder emails
  • Quarterly meetings
  • Contract discussions
  • Staff meeting invites
  • Union advisory board members 

Tenant inclusion ideas 

  • Invite to social events
  • Send personalized holiday cards
  • Hold department contests
  • Invite to holiday socials
  • Invite to staff development opportunities
  • Involve in decisions

Tenant accountability 

  • Student organization contracts (with advisor signatures)
  • Random space inspections

Other tenant management ideas 

  • See tenants as partners
  • Jointly work toward a positive customer experience
  • Hallway conversations are helpful
  • Develop a tenant handbook
  • Develop a tenant website area
  • Provide lunch for tenants and have each of them give some fun facts
  • Include tenant information in annual reports

In addition to the information above, several other tenant management references were highlighted. The Louisiana State University Student Union tenant website and tenant manual were highlighted as an excellent reference for communicating and informing. Several working reference examples were reviewed from tenant management at Virginia Tech, including student organization contracts, office inspection forms, tenant meeting agendas, and student organization tenant safety training.

Finally, “tips of the trade” for productive tenant relationships were discussed and included the following points.

  • Build trust and respect with tenants
  • Have consistent communication (both ways) 
  • Involve tenants in changes 
  • Think like you are in your tenant’s shoes 
  • Union service is seamless to students; build relationships accordingly to maintain an overall service standard


Scott Reed

Scott Reed is the Associate Director of Student Centers and Activities at Virginia Tech.

Scott oversees and directs services, operations, and facility management needs for four student center buildings. Through this role, he has overseen renovations, served on the campus sustainability committee, led safety planning for the union, and is currently co-chairing a facility management software transition team. A long time member and volunteer for ACUI, Scott received his bachelor’s in sports management from Western Carolina University and his master’s in kinesiology with a concentration in sports and recreation management from James Madison University.


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