Residence Life staff volunteered at BackPack Beginnings, a Greensboro organization whose mission is to deliver child-centric services to feed, comfort and clothe children in need. Staff worked to sort items in the food and clothing pantries, organize donations and paint murals. The partnership will sustain throughout the year with staff returning to the site but also raising funds and collecting items to help cloth and feed children in Guilford County.
HRL RA’s Moneta & Hansen Reflect on ACUHO-I STARS College Experience
Marley and Dane packed their bags and headed to Providence, Rhode Island, to join the other 60 undergraduate students from across the United States and Canada selected for this unique opportunity. Their time consisted of interactive engagement that included large group presentations, mentoring by nine to 12 seasoned professionals, self-evaluation, and role play on the campus of Salve Regina University. Additionally, these brightly shining STARS College scholars were afforded the opportunity to attend conference sessions and network with a number of current professionals during the ACUHO-I Annual Composition Conference (ACE).
Upon returning to Greensboro, we interviewed Marley and Dane about their experiences. Check out their thoughts and reflections about their STARS College experience below.
How did you find out about STARS College? What or who influenced you to apply?
Marley: “I found out about STARS through my CRL/supervisor [Maggie Gillespie] and also through other student affairs and HRL professionals. My supervisor and one of our Assistant Housing Directors [Shelley Wald] really influenced me to apply since they had knowledge of my interest in pursuing a career in student affairs or residence life and suggested that I could gain more information by attending STARS college.”
The ACUHO-I website states that each STARS College applicant has a mentor. Who serves/served in that role for you?
Marley: “Denise Golden, Director of Residence Life at Gannon University served as my mentor during STARS college and we continue to stay in touch!”
Dane: “Nandini Bissessar-Grant from the University of Arlington at Texas was my mentor and was great! She had so much useful information and really helped guide us through the curriculum.”
What are up to three takeaways you value from your STARS College experience?
Marley: “One of the greatest takeaways for me from the STARS College experience was learning about the entire graduate school process, including but not limited to the placement exchanges, general grad school requirements, and resume review. The information gained through these sections was incredibly useful and made the upcoming process of applying to graduate school a lot less intimidating. Building off of this was the networking opportunities with other students from a variety of universities across the United States and Canada, as well as other faculty mentors.”
Dane: “My three takeaways would have to be (a) never give up, (b) make sure the program is your fit, and (c) most importantly, be sure to love what I do!”
What were your favorite session(s) / event(s) that you attended?
Marley: “I enjoyed all of the speakers at the ACUHO-I conference including Simon Bailey and spoken-word poet Sarah Kay. The sessions I enjoyed the most were “Dumb Things Well-Intended People Say: Building Diversity Competency”, “Frenemies – Our Love-Hate Relationship with Social Justice Allies”, “Branching Out Your Free Time: Netflix and No Chill”, and the all-day Multicultural Institute.”
Dane: “My favorite session of STARS college was the history of the residence halls. It was really cool to see where/what began housing and residence life and how far we have come. At ACUHO-I I attended many programs geared towards Resident Advisors related to the hiring process and self-care. This helped me look at the RA job as if I were a CRL and think about how UNCG runs compared to other campuses.”
Did attending STARS College influence you to pursue a future career in Student Affairs? If so, in what area?
Marley: “I pretty much had my mind already made up, but this experience definitely solidified for me the decision to pursue a future career in Student Affairs. The interactions I had with other housing professionals throughout the week and the sessions I attended during ACE re-affirmed everything I already loved about housing and what student affairs careers allow one to do for others in regards to the influence on students’ lives. Also, the passion that all of us shared for the work we do was so refreshing. I think when I realized at the end of the trip that I was tired from so many long days, but not from the work I had been doing or the interactions I was having was what made me realize that this is what I really want to do because it didn’t feel like work to me since I enjoyed the entire experience.”
Dane: “I really did not know what to expect but it was very informational. I was not sure what I wanted to be doing in the future. We got to STARS College on Wednesday and by Friday I knew that this was the field I want to pursue. I really enjoyed listening to all the stories and experiences from the faculty and fellow students. I have decided to pursue a Master’s degree in student affairs!”
What advice would you give to anyone that may consider applying for STARS College?
Marley: “DO IT!! You have nothing to lose and the experience will change your life. I was nervous about stepping outside of my comfort zone and being surrounded by a great number of people that I didn’t know, but within hours you feel at home and make lifelong friends. Use the experience to meet as many people as you can and soak up every minute of it – the conversations, the sessions, the knowledge and advice, and all the fun stuff.”
Dane: “For anyone thinking about going to STARS, I say “Go!” It was one of the best experiences I have had in my college career. Some advice would be to go open-minded and be ready to learn!”
How do you plan to utilize the information and experience going forward in your current and future role?
Marley: “I gained a lot of helpful insight about graduate school programs and assistantships across the country that I will use as I begin my application process. I will use the other information from sessions I attended through programming for residents and sharing it with my new staff in the fall to continue to make UNCG and the greater Greensboro community a better place!”
Dane: “With the information I have gained by STARS and ACUHO-I, I plan to use it in my role as a SRA and in my search for a Master’s program.”
We congratulate Marley and Dane on not only absorbing and making the most of a golden opportunity but for also representing the institution and our department at the national/international level at ACUHO-I. Tim Johnson, UNCG Director of Housing and Residence Life, was in attendance at ACE and remarked on the number of comments he received from colleagues there regarding the engagement, the potential, and the character of Marley and Dane during both events.
Door Decoration Contest Winner
Congratulations to Kaitlyn Jessee, who won the Door Decoration Contest – Her design will appear on the doors of every RA working for Housing and Residence Life in the residence halls. Kaitlyn included pictures of notable people/ places from UNCG’s history. The pictures are of Charles McIver (founder of the state normal and industrial school, now UNCG), College Ave. in 1910, Joanne Smart and Bettye Tillman (first African American students to attend UNCG), the University logo featuring its opening year, and the main building (first building on campus, now known as Foust).
Kaitlyn has worked for the University of North Carolina at Greensboro, Special Collections and University Archives for two years. This year she is researching the universities departmental history for the University’s 125th anniversary. Last year, She also worked for UNCG’s Housing and Residence Life as a Resident Advisor in The Quad. She is very excited to continue her position as a Resident Advisor in Phillips-Hawkins this year.
2nd Annual Chili Cook-Off
Congratulations to Dandralyn Johnson, who won the 2nd Annual Housing and Residence Life Chili Cook-Off in a field of tough competitors on Friday, April 7, 2017.
UNCG HRL Shines at 2017 SEAHO Conference
In the world of Student Affairs and Higher Education, the Southeastern Association of Housing Officers (SEAHO) has been known for its pre-eminent service to the global world through the individual to teamwork difference contributed with its various professional leaders and change makers. While in its 53rd year of operation, the regional body of housing officers across the 10 Southeastern states assembled earlier this year in late February/early March for its annual SEAHO Regional Conference in Chattanooga, Tennessee. What has become valued as a “housing homecoming” for many is also a unique opportunity to experience engagement, learning first-hand regarding the field’s most current trends and topics of importance from a plethora of seasoned to new professionals across the region.
With this year’s SEAHO conference theme of “Bridging The Gap From Good to Great®,” more than 650 delegates (conference attendees) went to Tennessee to engage, educate, and be empowered by networking with professionals and attending presentations on a wide variety of topics slated throughout the conference. UNCG HRL had eight professional team members in attendance, the largest representation from one institution at SEAHO’s first ever Pre-Conference that was a collaborative project between SEAHO’s Diversity, Equity, & Inclusion Committee and the SEAHO Programming Committee.
As the conference unfolded and delegates weaved in and out of particular selected presentations that piqued their professional or personal curiosity, there were a number of highly acclaimed awards that were garnered by UNCG!
SEAHO Report 2017 Article of the Year Award
Maggie Gillespie, Coordinator for Residence Life of Grogan Residential College, was honored with the SEAHO Report 2017 Article of the Year Award for her article entitled “Ambiversion: The Lost Personality Type.” Maggie’s article was submitted and selected for the SEAHO Report’s Winter 2016 issue as a featured article. The SEAHO Report is a quarterly publication that features articles and news from member institutions across the region. Check out Maggie’s award winning article here (on page 12): https://c.ymcdn.com/sites/seaho.site-ym.com/resource/resmgr/seahoreport/Seaho_Winter_2016.pdf
Case Study Competition Champs
Daniel Wiggins, Coordinator for Residence Life of Spring Garden, and Sean Sukys (of Florida Gulf Coast University) teamed up to enter SEAHO’s Case Study Competition for New Professionals, and were awarded Case Study Competition Champs! Daniel and Sean were provided with a complex collegiate campus occurrence regarding politics and demonstrations and charged to create a plan to address the multi-faceted concerns and positions for various entities of the institution. The Case Study Competition is designed for graduate and new professionals to be presented with a realistic, often complex, campus situation and to resolve or address it thoroughly in a limited amount of time.
SEAHO Best of Program at the Closing Luncheon
The most recent addition to the UNCG HRL family, Assistant Director Demarcus Merritt, and co-presenter Gabriel (Gabe) Solomon (of Florida State University) were awarded with the “SEAHO Best of Program” award at the Closing Luncheon. Their presentation on “Diversity Self-Care Health Check-Up: You’re Not Alone” prevailed over 70 presentation sessions conducted during the week-long conference. As a result, Demarcus and Gabe will serve as “Diversity Doctors” and will represent the region this summer at the ACUHO-I Annual Conference & Exposition (ACE) in Providence, Rhode Island. The pair will present their SEAHO Report Article turned presentation.
We are extremely proud of our team members and the excellence that is achieved for them as contributing professionals in our field and with our UNCG community. Congratulations to each of you!