Residence Life Updates
Residential Life Changes
As we prepare for our Fall 2021 reopening, we want to share the news that the Office of Residential Life and Health Education has welcomed five new team members and explain how this residence of coordinators will work with students. Each has a different title, as follows:
- Coordinator for Residential Life
- Coordinator for Residential Life & Office Manager
- Coordinator for Residential Life & Health Education
- Coordinator for Residential Life & First Year Experience
- Coordinator for Residential Life & Housing
These positions were conceived of in the Spring and our search committee began interviewing candidates in May, with the invaluable assistance of students who reviewed resumes, proposed questions for candidates and joined those interviews. The coordinator team serves the community as a whole and lives on campus.
As we’ve listened to students over the last few years about the kind of support they’d feel comfortable with, this model emerged as the one that could best meet those needs. In developing these positions, we considered all of the reasons students might reach out for support with something going on in their residence hall above and beyond the resources provided by our student leaders in Junior Advisor or Residence Coordinator positions. Examples of common ones include noise complaints, mental health concerns, roommate conflicts, or disruptive behaviors, etc.. Primarily, we want to make it easier for students to get in-person support from a professional staff member who specializes in responding to some of the more challenging parts of living in community.
When such issues arise, rather than Campus Safety staff responding to a call, Res Life Coordinators will provide support and a means to resolve the issues students seek support with after hours. Most types of non-violent situations in a residence hall will be handled directly by the coordinators on call.
Whether or not a student asks for a coordinator specifically, coordinators will be the default responders to situations in residence halls like noise complaints or mental health concerns.
Students will contact the coordinators on call by calling (207)786-6254.
Working with the existing team in Residence Life
Each coordinator will serve as the main point person for individual residence hall staff teams, including our student staff of Junior Advisors and Residence Coordinators. Res Life has always been set up to have one professional staff member serving as the primary mentor for a specific building or group of buildings. These roles are called “area directors,” but students may not be familiar with that term since it isn’t used much outside Res Life. The coordinators will join the team of people in these roles, allowing each area director to serve a smaller number of students. This will give each member of the JARC team more time to provide personalized support.
We’ve seen that JAs and RCs sometimes find themselves managing very challenging situations after hours. Sometimes these situations require support beyond what a student can provide to a peer. Under this new system, JAs and RCs will be able to reach out to the coordinator on call to get in person assistance immediately.
Working with Campus Safety
While these Res Life Coordinators will typically be the most common responders to situations within residence halls, there may be some complex situations where the unique skill sets of Campus Safety will be needed. In those situations, Campus Safety and the Res Life Coordinators will work together to support students and address community concerns.
Though rare, physical altercations between students or an escalating situation in residence halls are a good example of a time when these teams would work together. Similarly, when there are situations outside the residence halls where the coordinators can be helpful, the coordinators and Campus Safety will work together to get the right people to the right types of situations.
Their presence on campus
Some of the coordinators live in spaces within or adjacent to residence halls where other professional Res Life staff lived last year, while others live in other types of apartments on campus. This model is a little different from the traditional “residence director” model used at some other schools.
There will always be two coordinators on duty when classes are in session. They will be visible to students by walking through residence halls, much like other Student Affairs staff did last spring. When needed, they will be reachable via (207)786-6254 and will respond in person.
In a campus residential community the goal is for there to be a comfort level and mutual respect that allows for something as simple as a request to turn down the music or put on a headset to be addressed peer to peer. But if that’s not working, or if you are feeling overwhelmed, or worried about a friend going through a tough time, we want students to have someone having someone to call to help sort through those concerns.
We are excited to make this pivot in Residential Life. Our overarching goal is to make it easier for everyone to feel like they belong at Bates and are fully supported through challenges big and small in their residential community.
The immediate shared goal of these five new staff members is to get to know as many students as possible, so that as situations arise, they will be familiar faces. You’ll likely encounter them in your first days on campus as they seek to help students with housing questions or logistics for a program. Please welcome them and seek their help; they are here to support you.