Not a bad commute

Nervous about having a community facilitator living on your floor? Try having an administrator, dean or professor for a neighbor instead.

GW houses at least six staff and faculty members in student residence halls in Foggy Bottom and on the Mount Vernon Campus. Most GW staff who live on campus said it’s a perk to live so close to their jobs and that they enjoy interacting with students.

“It is a joy to live (on campus), and it is a pleasure to open my house to students,” said Fred Siegel, associate vice president and dean of students, who has been living at Mount Vernon since fall 2003. He also serves as the head administrator for the Mount Vernon Campus.

“I want people to know that I’m there,” said Siegel, who often invites students to his house to eat dinner or just to talk.

Siegel does not live alone in his house across the street from the campus. Along with his wife and 12-year-old daughter, Siegel also has multiple dogs.

“The dogs love it here,” Siegel added.

Joining Siegel and his dogs on the Mount Vernon Campus is Steven Livingston, interim director of the School of Media and Public Affairs, who moved into Somers Hall this fall.

“I’m always looking for an opportunity to work with students,” said Livingston, who has been teach-ing at GW for 15 years.

Livingston said he enjoys being able to live with co-workers and students.

“Fred Siegel is a great guy to work with and live next to,” Livingston said.

Several other GW staff members live on the main Foggy Bottom campus as well. University Police Chief Dolores Stafford lives in the 21st Street area, but she declined to say precisely where.

“Foggy Bottom is a nice neighborhood and many professional people and retirees enjoy living on or around campus,” Stafford said. “There are pros and cons, but I have generally like living in Foggy Bottom.”

Senior Associate Dean of Students Jan Sherrill has lived in Foggy Bottom, on the first floor of Strong Hall, since 1997, but many residents were unaware he lived in their all-female dorm.

“No one really knows he’s here,” said freshman Sarah Tannenbaum, a resident of Strong Hall. “Most people only found out about him in a meeting we had with our community facilitators.”

Though Sherrill said he enjoys interacting with students and visiting with them, Tannenbaum said CFs told residents to keep the noise level down in the building.

“She said we should be aware that there is a dean living downstairs and there have already been noise complaints,” Tannenbaum said.

Robert Chernak, senior vice president of Student and Academic Support Services, who oversees campus housing, said it is also important to have staff living on campus to handle emergencies in a timely manner.

“It is of benefit, particularly to the University residential community, to have these particular staff people live in the proximity of the campus due to the nature of their job responsibilities, especially during emergency situations,” Chernak wrote in an e-mail.

Some staff members live on campus specifically for emergency situations. James Kohl, director of residential life and education, is part of the University’s Emergency Response Team, an on-call group of GW staff members ready to respond to campus emergencies at a moment’s notice.

“When emergencies or other incidents that affect students occur, at any time of the day or night, I am one of the staff members who responds to help manage those issues,” said Kohl, who lives in the Hall on Virginia Avenue.

Another on-campus figure responsible for handling emergency situations is Mark Levine, senior assistant dean of the Community Living and Learning Center. Levine said living on campus has many benefits.

“Living on campus is not just about a convenient commute to work,” Levine said in an e-mail. “My residence at The George Washington University is about being available in the case of student or campus-wide emergencies.”

In addition to being on call for emergency situations, Levine said he too regularly has students over to his house for “frequent celebrations for various University-related occasions.”

“Being a part of both the University community and the general neighborhood has been a pleasure,” Levine said. “And I try to do my best to make meaningful contributions to both.”

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