You started a small business after graduating college. What was it?
The business I ran was in K-through-eight education. We provided after-school education, as well as extra curricular activities, at charter schools. Charter schools don’t typically have the budget to do a ton of extra curricular activities because of their budget, so we came up with a bunch of affordable introductory programs to get [kids] some basic skills so if they wanted to go do recreational leagues, or something like that, they could.
Do you ever see yourself going back and teaching? Your current position doesn’t seem to include that.
I still very much consider myself an educator. I’m not a teacher in the way that I sit down and have a class, but I still have the life skills and I have the opportunity to impart [them] as well as the opportunities for education through conversations of all sorts.
The west side of campus seems to be kind of secluded. Students who are juniors don’t interact with everyone else as much. So what do you think about this community? Do you think it’s the one year where you bond with your class before you are a senior?
I look at [junior year] as the year that students really start to give back. Freshman year, people tend to be incredibly involved and try out for fifteen different clubs. Their sophomore year, people tend to figure out that it was too much and start to narrow down what they want to do. The junior year is where you really start to take on leadership positions, I’ve noticed. That’s when students start to give back to the freshman and sophomores that are coming up. The seniors here, especially, really seem to do a good job of stepping out of those positions, or transitioning out of those positions, and mentoring the rising juniors to prepare them to give back. It’s a really neat system that CC seems to have.
Speaking of juniors and seniors, this year’s junior class and the rising junior class are both frustrated because there seems to be more seniors living on campus and less spaces in apartments. How do you feel about that?
I can see the frustration. The one thing that I want to remind everyone of is that the apartments are an option for juniors to live in. They aren’t reserved for juniors and we don’t tell any seniors that they can’t live with us. There might come a day where we have to evaluate that because we won’t have enough beds for everyone, but we’re not at that point. So, basically, it’s an option, but you’re not guaranteed to get an apartment as a junior.
What do you think is the solution to the off-campus housing problems that have arisen this year? Students think the administration is trying to shut down the parties, but students are still going to party. How do you find that balance?
It’s a very delicate balance, and, to be completely honest, I don’t have the answers. I’m involved in a number of committees that go well above my pay grade, that are trying to come up with a solution. Right now, we are in the middle of evaluating our processes as they stand and seeking out some best practices from other institutions, both within Colorado as well as our peers, to figure out what they do, what works, and what may work for CC. There will be some changes next year, but it’s definitely going to be an ongoing process. I think the one big thing I can tell you is that we, as an institution, are going to be much more intentional about what we teach our students [during] their first three years about what to expect when they move off campus.
Is there any talk about eliminating the three-year on-campus rule?
That’s a number of years down the road. I don’t think we are there yet. It’s been asked, but I haven’t heard any indication that we will be changing the three-year on-campus requirement.
One of the most frustrating things about living in the apartments for me and my roommates is the fact that we don’t have a dishwasher. Is that ever going to come, or is it just going to be piles of dirty dishes forever?
Well, I highly doubt it’s gonna come. We are going through a cycle of R and R on the buildings. They are anywhere from 10 to 12 years old now –– Blanca was [renovated] 2 years ago, Edith Gaylord is going to wrap up this summer –– and we’re not putting them in there. So, it’s probably not going to happen while anybody here is living in the apartments. If it makes you feel better, I don’t even have a dishwasher.
When you were an RA at UNC, what was the craziest thing you saw that you had to deal with?
I didn’t have to deal with it –– this was pretty crazy. A while back, Kobe Bryant was accused of rape [by a UNC student]. That student happened to live in the building where I was an RA. I was supposed to be on duty that night, but I was sick that day and switched with one of the girl RAs, who now happens to be my wife. She got involved with it, which she would have anyway because the student was her resident. I actually still have [my wife’s] summons letter to be a character witness. So that was pretty crazy that I almost was involved in a major news story.
I feel like unless you become an administrator, being a Residential Life Coordinator isn’t sustainable forever. What do you see yourself doing in 10 years?
Ten years? My 10-year plan would to be a dean at some level or to be a chief housing officer. CC is very small. When you get into housing at larger institutions, there is a lot of room for advancement [and] a lot of room to continue working with people and refining your skills as a leader. I definitely want to continue in higher [education] –– I’m starting a Master’s program in the fall in student affairs in higher education –– but I haven’t exactly identified which route I’m gonna go. If I am given the opportunity to stay at CC, which I’d love to do, that’d be great, but it might have to be outside housing.
What’s your favorite part of working in the apartments as opposed to the smaller dorms?
My favorite part of working in the apartments is you guys. Working with juniors and seniors in that really drastic transition from college student to young professionals. Given my background, working as a small business owner and in a huge corporate setting gives me a unique perspective to be able to say, ‘This is what you’ve done at CC and how CC is going to respond. But let’s talk about how this conversation might be different if I was sitting here, talking to you as your boss.’ It’s that perspective, and being able to share that perspective, and having residents that can be more receptive to that perspective, is what I really enjoy.