A Community Living and Learning Center official says the Community Host Initiative has been “overwhelmingly successful,” six months after the program was introduced in several residence halls.
“The students really like the homey touches created by the community hosts,” said Mark Levine, assistant dean of students.
The program, which is in Crawford, Madison and Fulbright halls, places hall residents in leadership positions, supervising security and providing a friendly face at the hall desk when students walk in, Levine said. It replaced Community Service Aides, a University Police-sponsored program that placed student employees in the halls to check identification cards and sign in guests.
In Crawford, where the program began, hosts and other residents said the program has provided a better sense of community.
“These guys live in the building, they know everyone who lives in the building,” said Amanda Powell, a Crawford resident. “They know when someone is coming in who doesn’t belong.” Powell said some residents have become friends with the community hosts.
“People tend to (take advantage of friendships) until they realize they don’t get away with it,” said Hillary Parsons, a community host in Crawford since January. “When they first introduced the program in Crawford, I was a jerk to them.”
Parsons said community hosting is a great job, because she lives at her office and can socialize with friends on the job.
“It seems really convenient to have people live in the building work at the desk because they care more about it,” she said.
Erin Street, a freshman in Mitchell Hall who said she is familiar with the program because she spends a lot of time in Madison, said she didn’t think the program would work as well in her building because of its size.
“You don’t know everybody there,” she said.
Street, who works as a CSA, also said she finds problems when she works in her own building, and questioned whether hosts have the same troubles.
“When I work in the building I live in, people make me feel obligated to not sign people in,” Street said. “The same thing happens in Crawford.”
Street questioned the program’s intent and its effectiveness.
“They created this program because someone wanted a job, so they created this job,” she said. “I can see the community advantage, I just don’t believe it.”
Levine said CLLC officials have not decided whether to continue the program next year. He said the program has overcome challenges, and administrators still are evaluating its future.
Many argue the program would only be successful in small buildings. Parsons said she thinks the program could work in halls such as Thurston Hall, but “not as well.”
Powell said the program increases her sense of security.
“If you know the person at the desk, it gives you a sense of security that someone you know is protecting the place you live,” she said.