Office of Campus Life Re-Organized to Provide Better Service

 
 

The Office of Campus Life. Standing (l-r): Joey Kohlman, Ed Parker, Trent "T.J." Barber, Georgiana Chevry, Carla Machado-Rodrigues, Richardson Pierre-Louis, David Andres. Seated (l-r): Laura DaRos, Susan Salisbury, Debbie Cook, Amy DeBaun, Julie Graves, Chrissy Solis.
 

One of the greatest challenges for any college or university is finding ways to effectively manage the residential and social experiences of its students. Even for a small liberal arts college like Trinity, the task is a formidable one. With that fact in mind, the College last spring merged the Office of Residential Life and the Office of Student Activities to form the Office of Campus Life.

So far, it appears that forming an official connection between the two related, but distinct divisions is making it easier and more practical to deliver a variety of services to students. “It’s an obvious and natural partnership,” says Amy DeBaun, director of campus life. “We’re trying to provide more ‘one-stop shopping’ as we find ways to enhance both their social experience and their residential experience. We’re getting to the point now that most people understand that it’s one office, but that we have multiple functions.”

The change in structure was largely the brainchild of DeBaun, who says that about two years ago she started looking for ways to streamline each department’s workload and eliminate duplicate processes. She wanted to increase uniformity where it was appropriate, while at the same time recognizing the different strengths of each area under her direction. “We had to figure out how to bridge those two worlds—residential life and student programming—that are, and traditionally have been, quite different from one another. The residential side has to be more structured, for obvious reasons, while the programming side can be more creative. From a director’s standpoint, the challenge is how to merge, or better yet blend, those two areas.”

Among the changes within the newly constructed department is the addition of residential programming assistants, who, unlike traditional residential assistants, are responsible for helping to get the word out about events and programs on campus. In addition, an online newsletter, “The Weekend Spotlight,” has been launched as an advertising vehicle for campus activities. Finding effective ways to communicate with students is an ongoing challenge.

“One of the things we spend time on is figuring out how to get students involved and excited about what’s happening on campus,” says DeBaun, who reports to Dean of Students Fred Alford. “We want them to have options, to know what activities are available to them. So we’re always looking for new paths to explore when it comes to our residential community.”

 

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