Student engagement office relocates residence hall offices to increase visibility

The Center for Student Engagement relocated offices in at least two residence halls this fall to make housing staff more available and visible to residents.

Associate Dean of Students Tim Miller said the new space would build community in larger residence halls. The change is the most recent example of Division of Student Affairs outreach efforts this year, which has also included the Center for Career Services office hours on the Mount Vernon Campus and a new help desk for student organizations.

The CSE opened a new office location in Thurston Hall on Nov. 11. Madeline Kracov, the area coordinator for the residence hall, invited residents to the opening on Twitter, where officials from the office served Krispy Kreme donuts and met with freshmen who live in the hall.

In Shenkman Hall, the CSE office moved from a different location in the building to the first floor near the elevators. Miller said that as those residents “get acclimated to the office being there,” he expects more students to use it as a resource.

“So far the office in Thurston has been very popular with students and we expect that to increase in the spring as we continue to enhance office hours and programs,” Miller said.

Miller said the CSE already had offices in Thurston and Shenkman halls, which house 1,100 and 730 students respectively, but they were recently relocated to “be of greater service to the community.”

“We have had great success with the office in Potomac where students often stop by and see the staff from the building. I would like to continue to make our hall offices more public to residents as part of an effort to increase our presence with residents and to build community,” he said.

The Shenkman Hall office is located to the left of the main elevators and is open on Monday nights and Tuesday afternoons. Two resident advisers spend seven hours per week in the office and the resident director spends five hours per week in the office.

Resident Hall Association President Michael Massaroli said that during a recent visit to Thurston Hall, he noticed the office for the first time. He said any effort to make the CSE and house staff more visible is a step in the right direction.

“In buildings where they have a capability to make those spots more visible and generally remind people who their RAs are and what resident staff do, those opportunities should be taken advantage of,” Massaroli said.

Earlier this year, the CSE opened a desk on the fifth floor of the Marvin Center, manned by office staff, to help student organization leaders find answers to their questions. Previously, meetings had to be set up with group advisers.

“I think, compared to my freshmen year, the CSE has gotten a lot more proactive about reaching out to students at all levels of the college experience,” Massaroli, a senior, said. “Any freshmen building could use an enhanced link with the staff in that building. Freshmen can really benefit a ton from that close connection with RAs and they stand to gain a lot from utilizing those resources.”

Though the CSE has worked to increase its outreach to students this year, a rift between some RAs and the CSE was revealed earlier this month when students said a proposed mandated course was an unfair addition on top of their other responsibilities and blurred the line between being a student and an employee.

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