Brigham Young University-Idaho merged the Housing Office with the Student Living Office this week, creating one place where students, ecclestiastical leaders and apartment managers can turn with questions about university living standards.

"The primary place to prepare disciple leaders is in the apartment," said Kevin Miyasaki, dean of students. "Therefore, the more we can develop gospel-standard living in the apartments, the better BYU-Idaho will be able to fulfill its mission."

BYU-Idaho has been developing a program for teaching and encouraging raised living standards since Jan. 2008. The program, called Student Living, focuses on instating love, shared responsibility and respect in student apartments.

"Our goal is to make each apartment a place where students don't just stop to sleep and eat," said Troy Dougherty, director of the new Housing and Student Living Office. "Each apartment should be a haven where students can thrive spiritually, socially, emotionally and academically."

Dougherty said apartment managers play a critical role in establishing a proper culture in their apartment complex. They are more informed than anyone else of the comings and goings of students, he said. Therefore, Student Living utilizes apartment managers as a main avenue for emphasizing these principles. However, managers have historically turned to the Housing Office as their main connection to the university.

"In the past, the Housing Office had trained apartment managers on administrative duties, then Student Living began training them too," Miyasaki said. "This merge brings the two offices together for a consistent and unified message."

In order to deliver that message, BYU-Idaho has reorganized four new full-time positions: two education and standards managers, one business operations manager, and one owner and developer relations manager.

"As personnel from the Housing and Student Living offices come together with a unified purpose and mission, we will be able to do more than we've ever done to help fulfill the university's mission," Dougherty said.