Res-life jobs to change on campus for fall 2017 semester

Originally published in the Lindenwood ‘Legacy’ newspaper, March 28, 2017

Residential Life will undergo changes to emphasize a community mentality, according to Lindenwood administration.

Director of Residential Life Terry Russell said that starting in the fall of 2017, resident director, assistant resident director and resident advisor will no longer be residential staff positions.

Russell said that these new changes are in place to work toward the residential staff’s vision of a community.

“The philosophy is moving into a community phase, not just necessarily have a resident hall; it’s to build a community within the organization,” said Russell.

John Vanderpool, assistant director of Residential Life, echoed Russell’s view with his own reasoning for having these positions.

“As a Residential Life team, our philosophy is to really take [a residence hall] from a place that you go and sleep to a community and ultimately a home that is away from your home,” he said.

Resident director positions will be replaced by area coordinators, a full-time position held by a Lindenwood employee as opposed to a student worker. The coordinators will have jurisdiction over two to three residence halls with the exception of non-traditional housing.

Russell stated that the area coordinator position has already been piloted in men’s and women’s non-traditional housing as well as Reynolds Hall and Pfremmer Hall.

It is a requirement that area coordinators live on campus in one of the dorms they oversee with an assistant living in the other. Men’s and women’s housing will each have area coordinators of their own, respectively.

Assistant area coordinators will oversee building operations in the dorm that their area coordinator does not reside in. This is a position that can be held by a student worker.

Vanderpool said that the assistant area coordinator needs to be the main resource for regarding maintenance needs, staff needs or anything that the area coordinator cannot address immediately.

The community advisor position is a 20 hour a week position that earns $9.50 an hour. According to a letter from Russell to residential staff, the position will “focus on community development with more dedicated hours to the residence hall, creating a balance in responsibility for each staff member.”

These new positions will also result in a decrease of staff members in Residential Life.

“We will decrease the number of our staff, but we will increase the number of hours that each individual is going to have, and that will come along with an increased wage,” said Jesús López, associate director of Residential Life.

Vanderpool hopes the new staff positions will increase a sense of community on campus. One way he hopes to see this is through increased activities in residence halls. Last year, Vanderpool said that 100 activities occurred in the dorms. This year, since the creation of the Residence Hall Association, the number of activities has tripled.

“Since we’ve had the Residence Hall Association and seen these activities on campus, I have heard nothing but great things from the students as far as what it has done to change their residential experience,” said Vanderpool.