Apartment complexes occupy nearly all of West Tennessee Street and are scattered across other parts of Tallahassee, as the city boasts three institutes of higher learning. A troubling issue, however, lies in the way some complexes target certain students differently or more often than they do others.
This could be chalked up to simple marketing strategies and a company trying to invest in where the most revenue comes from. However, when complexes equally marketable to both FAMU and FSU are decked out only in garnet and gold, there seems to be more below the surface.
Shanel Brown, a resident of West10 Apartments, enjoys living there but knows they have room for improvement when it comes to representation.
“I think West10 caters mainly to FSU but they are also really good at including everyone. They include FAMU in hashtags, the Instagram page, and campus visits,” the senior psychology student at FAMU said. “We get that FSU students tend to afford higher-end apartments or have a higher population, but FAMU and TCC wouldn’t mind being included as well, especially for apartments near FAMU’s campus.”
Local students sounded off on Twitter with their own experiences.
“I think I’m the only person from FAMU that lives in my complex,” Andy Jean-Baptiste, a FAMU student and resident of Tuscany Village, said.
Tiffany McNabb, a resident of Villa San Michele, felt differently, claiming that her complex targets all three schools. The same goes for Dwell Tenn Street Apartments, according to Jamirnah Beauvoir, a FAMU student.
“They give you free merch in whatever school color you want,” Beauvoir said.
The Forum Tallahassee, another popular spot for student housing, boasts several desirable amenities on its website, which is designed with burgundy and gold accents. Its leasing office, while comfortable and well put together, vaguely followed the same color scheme. The staff was fun and very accommodating as I came in and requested a tour.
“When I stayed at the Forum, everything (was) FSU, the leasing office, the buildings, even their Instagram,” Darius Jones, a former resident and current FAMU student, said.
Randy, my tour guide and a TCC student, gave a seamless walk-through, void of any direct bias toward any school. She informed me of the back exit from their complex that leads to Pensacola Drive and suggested it as a shortcut to FAMU’s campus. Similarly, she pointed out that the complex clubhouse hosts watch parties for FSU football game days.
The complex manager, Whitney Mack, declined to comment.
Our next stop, Redpoint West Tenn, offers both apartment and townhome styles of living for students. Logan, my tour guide this time around, mentioned the convenient five-minute distance from the property to FSU’s campus and estimated three minutes to TCC. She was not able to give an estimated distance to FAMU, but did highlight it being in the general proximity.
Kyndal Perry, a junior at FAMU and a resident at Redpoint West Tenn, spoke on her own observations.
“My apartment complex, I believe, only markets to FSU students. The colors of my complex are garnet and gold. The majority of the residents here are FSU students,” Perry said. “Even in the leasing office, there isn’t much diversity. I don’t see much of a representation of either FAMU or TCC.”
At the end of my tour, I asked about the breakdown of how many students went to each school. While Logan claimed it to be “pretty even,” a look on the Redpoint West Tenn Instagram page indeed shows room for more representation, not just of the other universities but of people of color in general.