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Happy New Year, Beautiful People of MACUHO! The start of a new calendar year brings with it opportunities to try new things, to reset the clock and/or to continue the amazing growth, projects or goals that one has already been working towards. The same is true for where we sit right now as an Association: we are celebrating, we are creating, and we planning. In truth, 2018 is a “MACUHO Under Construction” (or perhaps more accurately renovation) kind of year. I say renovation because our foundation and structure is firm; we are just ready for a bit of a facelift and refresh. When we came together at our 2017 Annual Conference in College Park, Maryland a little over two months ago, I pledged my service and stewardship of MACUHO to you all and shared with you my vision for the term cycle. I’d like to recap this vision as well as provide you all with an update on the progress made since November. The first of these was honoring the legacies built over the decades while at the same time creating opportunities for previously unheard voices, marginalized identities and new legacies to take root. While on stage, I highlighted the efforts of Lisa A. Peirce and the VIPS program in an effort to remind us all of the impact we all can have on the Association and the field. To continue the celebration of legacies within MACUHO, there will be a yearlong #MACUHOLegacy social media campaign that will highlight our award namesakes, prominent MACUHO members active in the field, and help us all to get to know the folx who helped to build MACUHO into the strong association that it is today. In order to provide opportunities for new stories to be told, exciting new initiatives are being established within our association to help celebrate, highlight and provide opportunities for members’ identities, areas of interest, collaboration and professional passions. Most notably are the affinity groups being developed underneath the Diversity Committee umbrella. Modeled after the ACUHO-I’s Professional Networks, MACUHO’s affinity groups will address the need to highlight targeted efforts and provide dedicated communities within our association that previously have not had identifiable homes. If you have an interest in helping to craft this exciting new endeavor, please contact Johnny Kocher or Amanda Slichter. For this year, I have created an ad hoc committee that will assess and address the fiscal practices and long-term financial well-being of our association in a way never done before. Along with our Treasurer Derek Smith, Brandon Chandler has been appointed to steer the Financial Advisory Board (FAB). Their charge is to evaluate how our funds are accrued, utilized, disseminated and invested. The FAB will report back to the executive board this summer with recommendations for further practices. Not one to let assessment data sit on a shelf collecting dust, we are going to do something with it. In the true spirit of renovations, utilizing data collected over the past few years as well as task force recommendations from Past Presidents Brian Medina’s and Olan Garrett’s terms, we are evaluating our


association structure and are laying the blueprints for what MACUHO should look like in order to operate as efficiently and relevantly as possible. In this vein, the results of years’ worth of data sets have been categorized into themes areas and an Implementation Team has been established to review the data and make recommendation to the membership regarding how best to proceed in regards to how MACUHO looks in the next few years. The findings and recommendations of the Implementation Team will be presented to the greater membership this fall in Erie, PA during the business meeting at the 2018 Annual Conference. With an eye towards the future, Vice President-President Elect Stephen Apanel will be convening a group of strategic thought leaders for what we are calling MACUHO’s first ever Think Tank. These individuals will be responsible for laying the groundwork for what will be our 2020-2025 Strategic Plan. Their work will be informed by the efforts of the aforementioned groups and initiatives and will guide our Association upon the completion of our current strategic plan, which expires in 2020. Finally, with a direct focus on you, MACUHO is committed to continuing our tradition of providing exceptional professional development opportunities to our membership. SSLI, RELI, the Diversity and Inclusion Summit, the Summer Summit, the Annual Conference and year-long blog series and webinars are all in the works to ensure that you have ample opportunities to perfect your craft and stay on the cutting edge of hot topics in our field. MACUHO is here to support you and your growth. It is indeed an exciting time for our Association! 2017 ended with great productivity on the part of the executive board and leadership council, and this new year is shaping up to yield additional great results. If it looks like 2018 holds a lot of work to be done and also immeasurable potential, then you’re right. As I said in my presidential speech in College Park, I fancy myself a unicorn and I dream big. I am humbled to be surrounded by individuals who love MACUHO and are equally as ambitious. I hope that you, too, are excited for what this year holds for our association and I look forward to serving you in the year ahead.

With great enthusiasm, Debbie Scheibler (She, Her, Hers) President


ALLYSHIP ALONGSIDE ASEXUAL COMMUNITIES By: Amanda Slichter (She, Her, Hers) *As a disclaimer, I am a cisgender, bisexual woman who does not identify as asexual. I find it valuable to provide this positionality at the start of my presentations, articles, and blogs.* If you read the headline for this article and questioned how this topic is directly related to Residence Life or Housing, we have work to do. Ensuring that all identities are considered and supported should be a baseline expectation of ourselves as professionals and educators. Otherwise, it begs the question— who are we really serving? It also leaves an apparent answer— the majority. Many of our departments and institutions have mission statements or learning outcomes that profess a commitment to diversity or inclusion in some regard. If that is untrue for your particular institution, it is at least the case for your professional organization. MACUHO has a diversity statement, which opens with, “MACUHO is proud to support a diverse population on our member campuses. MACUHO is committed to the basic human rights of every individual and values the rich diversity of our members and member organizations.” With that precursor, let’s get to work on that commitment. What can that support look like alongside our asexual colleagues and students? How can we be active allies who co-create welcoming spaces for members of the asexual community? Because we know that allyship is often laborious, independent work, here are a few steps for folx who strive to do better: Increase your knowledge of asexual identities. Familiarize yourself with general terms and concepts

relevant to the community. Google, google, google, and surf YouTube to hear from asexual folx firsthand. Start to recognize exclusive and inclusive thoughts, attitudes, and behaviors. If the prior task is thoroughly researched, you may notice some things you are saying and doing that are not super inclusive. You may notice, for example, that seemingly progressive conversations surrounding healthy sexuality leave out asexuality as a healthy and valid identity. Whether these microagressions are coming from you or from someone else, provide accountability. Deepen your understanding of allosexism. Like the above example, allosexism can be subtle. This does not mean that its effects are any less damaging to our students and colleagues. Notice allosexism when it occurs, and consistently address it. (Read on for more on what allosexism is.) Spread the knowledge. Do not let the learning and change end with you. Help your colleagues and your students better act as allies alongside asexual community members. We can all grow from shared learning opportunities to become better, more welcoming humans. To do this work, it is important to have a foundation to work from. This includes an understanding of what responsible allyship actually is. To provide context for this, the Pride Center at Lehigh University has created the following allyship statement


for our community: “Allyship is an active, lifelong commitment to showing up for and advocating alongside historically marginalized communities. By leveraging power and privilege, allies practice ongoing learning, embrace challenges, & own their mistakes in order to create a socially just world for all.” This lens for allyship is not specific to allyship alongside the asexual community, nor is it specific to any LGBTQ+ identity. That is intentional. It is meant to serve as a framework or entry point for allyship across any historically marginalized identity or community. The statement is also helpful when teaching about intersectionality theory and the work of Kimberlé Crenshaw. With this understanding of allyship being ongoing work that is complimentary to voices of community members, we must then seek out knowledge about the folx we are trying to support. For the purposes of asexuality, we can begin with a thorough and inclusive definition: “Asexual - A term used to describe someone who does not experience sexual attraction toward individuals of any gender. Asexuality is a sexual orientation, and is different from celibacy. An asexual individual may choose to engage in sexual behaviors for various reasons even while not experiencing sexual attraction. Asexuality is not a medical condition; sexual attraction is not neces-

sary for a person to be healthy” (UNC LGBTQ Center). A key piece to understanding asexuality is to understand that sexual attraction and romantic attraction are not the same thing. For many of us, there is a link. For example, I find myself romantically and sexually attracted to my own and other genders. My own sexual attraction aligns with my romantic attraction. However, this is not the case for everyone. A gay man who is sexually attracted to men might experience romantic attraction that does or does not include men. If this seems complex or hard to understand, that is because society has incorrectly taught us that attraction is simple. On the contrary, sexuality and romantic attraction are much more complex than the narratives our culture typically offers. Types of sexual attraction include asexuality, monosexuality, bisexual, and more. Types of romantic attraction include heteroromantic, homoromantic, biromantic, aromantic, and more. Instead of serving as a glossary that could quickly become outdated (language evolves!), I encourage you to research these terms to more deeply understand the difference between various sexual and romantic attractions. With this distinction clarified, we can understand asexuality (as a type of sexual orientation) that measures attraction on a spectrum. We think of asexuality on a spectrum because, like many LGBTQ identities, not all asexual experiences are the same. If you can picture a continuum, place “sexual” all the way to the left and “asexual” all the way to the right. A person who is on the left experiences sexual attraction, while a person on the right does not experience sexual attraction (known as asexual or ace). Somewhere between those two stark designations, place two more dots—one for gray-asexual and one for demisexual. Someone who is gray-asexual (also known as gray-ace or gray-a) identifies somewhere between sexual and asexual; neither far end of the continuum is an authentic fit. Someone who is demisexual experiences sexual attraction, but only after a strong emotional bond is established. So what is NOT asexuality? Here is a great list of clarifications derived from

Asexuality is not...

an abstinence pledge. (Although there may be abstinent aces.) a synonym for celibacy. (There are celibate aces and promiscu-

ous aces and aces who are in between.) a gender identity. (Although there may be trans, non-binary, or genderqueer aces.) a disorder. (Although there may be aces with physical or mental conditions.) a choice. (Although not every ace is “born that way.”) a hormone imbalance. (Although there may be aces with hormone issues.) a fear of sex or relationships. (Although there may be aces who dislike sex/relationships.)

necessarily an indicator that someone will not fall in love, get married, or have children. (Although there may be aces who do none of these things.)

necessarily an indicator that someone does not experience arousal. (Although some aces may not.) What that list teaches us is that asexuality is not necessarily an indicator of someone’s behavior or experience. Asexual people are individuals. To summarize this, an asexual-identified person from writes: “Many questions people have about asexuality can be answered with the same phrase: “Some Do, Some Don’t.” Do asexuals date? Some do, some don’t. Do asexuals fall in love? Some do, some don’t. Do asexuals have sex? Some do, some don’t.


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Do asexuals masturbate? Some do, some don’t. Do asexuals like pepperoni pizza? Some do, some don’t. We are all individuals, with our own individual preferences and personalities, and it is generally impossible to make blanket statements about us.” If you are looking for more concrete information on the ace community, understand that the cultural implications of largely ignoring underrepresented sexualities means that we have very little data. How could we have extensive research on the asexual community if we have only recently recognized that this sexuality exists? The first empirical study around asexuality was done in 1983, and a 2004 study estimates that about one percent of people are asexual (Bogaert). A 2012 study found that straight people and queer people alike discriminate against aces more than people of any other sexuality (Hodson & MacInnis). In 2013, a study regarding health disparities found that aces are more likely to have anxiety disorders than people of any other sexuality (Brotto et al). This is just about all of the empirical data that we have regarding asexuality, which is reflective of a stark lack of visibility. As a result of this low visibility, allosexism is frequent in our communities, institutions, relationships, media, and everyday lives. Defined

by, allosexism is the ideology that desiring sexual activity with others is objectively better than not to desire it. It is the assumption that all people experience sexual attraction and desire sexual activity to the same degree. Examples of allosexism include surveys that do not include asexual identities as options, asexual people being told that they are “broken,” asexual people are often left out of LGBTQIA+ spaces and conversations, and assumptions that the lack of sexual desire is inherently problematic. Are you typically assuming that your coworkers and/or students are experiencing sexual attraction or having sex? That’s allosexism. Are you seeing advertisements that overwhelmingly rely on sexual attraction to sell their clothing, cologne, or cars? That’s allosexism. Does your staff or your institution promote healthy sexuality events, safe sex workshops, and other sex-related programs without including the validity of asexuality*? Yeah, that’s allosexism, too. (*Remember that asexuality is different from celibacy and should be positioned as such; so your abstinence education does not count as asexuality-inclusive.) So what can we do about the norm of allosexism within our daily lives? How can we act as allies alongside

the asexual community? In addition to the four aforementioned steps, my parting thoughts for allyship call for a whole lot of action. Share and discuss your allyship journey with others, correct mistakes, and do not tolerate exclusive language. Remember that self-identification is key, so do not make assumptions about the terms folx will use to identify themselves. Lastly, there is only one assumption I will recommend— assume that you have asexual individuals in your circles. By making this assumption, you will naturally work to create environments that are more inclusive for your asexual community members. After all, if our data rings true, 1 in 100 is not such an obscure number when thinking about all of the colleagues and students we interact with and serve. Sources: About the creation of the term “allosexism” and why it is an institutionalized ideology ( Asexuality, Attraction, and Romantic Orientation (UNC LGBTQ Center) Bogaert, Anthony. Asexuality: prevalence and associated factors in a national probability sample. Journal of Sex Research. August 2004. Brotto, Lori A., Gorzalka, Boris B., and Yule, Morag A. Mental health and interpersonal functioning in self-identified asexual men and women. Psychology & Sexuality. Vol. 4, No. 2, 136–151. 2013. Hodson, Gordon & MacInnis, Cara C. Intergroup bias toward “Group X”: Evidence of prejudice, dehumanization, avoidance, and discrimination against asexuals. Group Processes & Intergroup Relations. Vol 15, Issue 6, pp. 725 – 743. April 24 2012. The Asexual Visibility & Education Network ( What is Asexuality? (

Amanda Slichter (She, Her, Hers) Assistant Director - Residence Life Training & Education Coordinator - Pride Center Lehigh University



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WELCOME TO 2018 MACUHO As you have read in Debbie’s article, we are starting to lay some groundwork for some fantastic opportunities for our organization. Her title for 2018 of “MACUHO Under [Renovation]” could not fit more perfectly into my wheel house that includes a degree in Architectural Studies. I love the idea of taking something that currently exists, reviewing how well it is doing, and see how it can be made better. With experience, I can attest that progress does not occur without change. As I start my time as Vice President-President elect, I am looking forward to organizing a “Think Tank.” In the next few months I will be making phone calls, possibly to you, to be a member of this group (a Think Tanker, if you will). As Debbie highlighted, this group will start the initial process for our 2020-2025 strategic plan. So, what does it take to be a Think Tanker? Glad you asked. As I mentioned during my candidacy speech at the 2017 Annual Conference in College Park, I am always looking for a way to leave it better than I found it. It’s become a personal mission statement that is spoken in my home at least once a day and in the office at many meetings. I will be reviewing our membership, with the help of many other individuals to help identify individuals who are ambitious to leave it better than they found it. Think Tankers would have a similar ambition, along with a passion for the field, a dedication to our organization, a desire to think strategically, and a fire to have some fun. If you feel you have these characteristics, contact me right now (sapanel@ All of these opportunities are open doors for you to write your story that could begin your #MACUHOLegacy. Let’s get to work. Stephen J. Apanel

Stephen J. Apanel Vice President-President Elect Director of Housing Services at Bucknell University


HAPPY NEW YEAR, MACUHO FAMILY! I hope this finds you in good spirits and having had a great start to the spring semester. It was good to see many of you in attendance at the 2017 Annual Conference in College Park, and for those that were unable to make it, we missed you and hope to see you soon. As many of you know, the past two years in the presidential cycle, beginning with the leadership of Brian Medina, and continuing under Debbie’s leadership and beyond, have been all about membership engagement. MACUHO has asked many questions and had many thorough and thoughtful conversations, and you, the membership of MACUHO, have actively shared your thoughts, concerns, and reactions. The blueprint is now drawn, the plans have been developed, and now, we are “MACUHO Under Construction”, a process that beginning this year and continuing forward will better position ourselves as an association that builds upon the strong foundation that has been laid while strengthening our ability to meet our intended purposes and better serve our membership. As Debbie said in her letter, this is a very exciting time for our Association, and Debbie and Stephen have already highlighted several opportunities for getting engaged. MACUHO is in excellent hands under their leadership, and I am beyond excited to serve them and the Association in the Past President role. Make no mistake, however--your continued involvement is critically important to moving MACUHO forward. How will you get involved in the work of the Association? Where will you be able to find opportunities to serve? How will you begin to establish your #MACUHOLegacy, and how will you help the Association continue to advance its’ legacy? The opportunities to engage are there, the possibilities for involvement are endless, and the journey begins with a single step. It’s the same single step that committee members like Kathy Alvarado and Kristen Franklin took. It’s the same single step that leadership council members like Jenna Konyak and Don Brennan took. It’s the same single step that executive board members like Johnny Kocher and Genicka Voltaire took, and the same single step that past, current, and future presidents like Brian Medina, Debbie Scheibler, and Stephen Apanel took. We have all been there, just like you, reading this article right now, wondering how to even begin to think about getting involved and take that first step. I encourage you to jump in and take that first step, and if you don’t know where to get involved, we can help—just contact any of us listed on the Executive Board and Leadership Council page. As it turns out, I’ve learned that the first step I took back in 2005 turned out to be the best step I ever took. Thank you for the opportunity to have served as your president, and thank you to all those who supported the journey along the way through their support, involvement, and presence. And most importantly, thank you for all you do every day to support our institutions and our students.

With MACUHO Love, Olan Garrett Past President


REGIONAL Introducing... COORDINATOR UPDATES New Jersey Region


We have assessment out to gather feedback on NJCORE conference and its future. We are strongly encouraging folks in NJ to please fill it out; please see the email I sent to the NJ region for the link! We also are working on putting together a planning team to create a drive in Bystander Intervention Training Workshop for undergraduate staff in NJ. This team will start working early in the spring semester with hopes for a Fall 2018 workshop date! NJ is also looking for any volunteers to host a social/happy hour sometime in March (once the weather improves!) if anyone is interested they can contact me!

Misty Denham-Barret

Delaware/Maryland Region A Delaware/Maryland Region Winter Member Engagement Survey was sent out in early January. DE/ MD members are encouraged to complete the survey to provide ideas/suggestions about events for the region!

Candace Martinez-Doane

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As I near completion of my third year of serving as the advisor for the West Virginia University Residence Hall Association, I find myself often reflecting on the many difficulties my students and I faced as we navigated the process of creating a truly special student organization on campus. In revisiting the various problems we have overcome, I have developed an appreciation for communicating more frequently with my fellow advisors across the region in an attempt to assist others who may be encountering similar issues. This is the purpose behind this article and the presentations I often

go to at Student Life Conferences, to share some insight into an issue faced by the WVU RHA and describe our solutions. As any student organization advisor already knows, there is no book or article written on how to be a perfect advisor or manage a perfect RHA. The experience of being an advisor is an art, and I hope this article can give you some insight to become a better RHA advisor. One of the most daunting obstacles I faced as an RHA advisor at WVU was maintaining student interest and investment on a campus that only had a one year residency requirement. The scenario that would repeat itself each year was when freshmen would enter the residence halls eager and excited for involvement in their residence hall and campus community. The students would seek out new clubs, sports, and their community council. These community councils would elect

officers, plan programs, and send representatives to the larger Residence Hall Association. This assembly would then elect, from among themselves, many unique and high achieving individuals to serve as the RHA Executive Board to guide the organization in its daily functions. It would not be long, however, before these enthusiastic student leaders would be faced with the choice of pursing their passion for helping others and being a student leader by becoming an RA or continuing their involvement in community council and RHA. The RA position was one of the obstacles that would decimate the ranks of RHA membership after the yearly Resident Assistant selection process. When I first become the advisor to the WVU RHA, RAs were not permitted to hold RHA Executive Board positions. As a student organization, it was feared that Resident Assistants, who are sophomores and


higher, would be too overpowering in assembly meetings and would drown out the voice of the freshmen in the room. One primary issue was that the RAs’compensation package is better than that of RHA officers. RAs receive a room and board waiver and a bi-weekly stipend as opposed to the RHA Executive Officers who receive a one-time stipend applied to their housing fees with the exception of the president, who receives a full housing waiver. The solution we reached with RA involvement in RHA came down to a compromise between several schools of thought on the issue. First, it was determined that RAs are residents of the residences halls and were thus entitled to representation in RHA, as well as falling under the umbrella of RHA advocacy. To still secure a place on the board for students who wanted to devote themselves solely to RHA, it was decided that the president position would be a position exclusively open to non-RAs. The remaining positions of Vice President, Secretary, Treasurer, and NCC could be filled by RAs or freshmen students. This change has had a dramatic impact on our organization, and led to some incredible RAs providing an upperclassmen residence hall student presence to our organization which we previously were in desperate need of. As I revisit our early decisions to include RAs in the leadership of RHA, I can see that this change has led to a continuity in officers between years and growth of the students in the positions that was simply not present before. Students are now able to secure the benefits of the RA job and take the leadership they develop as RAs and apply it to an organization with the mission of advocating for all those living in the residence halls. I welcome all discussion on topics relating to RHA and advising student organizations and would be happy

to go in greater depth than what is allowed in this article on the topic of RA involvement in RHA or any other RHA topic. I can be reached at

Johnny Kocher Residence Life Specialist West Virginia University Director, Training and Development


RELI REFLECTIONS By: Kaitlyn Patschke Seven months ago, I arrived back to my campus from the most intensive, rewarding professional development opportunity I’ve participated in -- the Regional Entry Level Institute (RELI). RELI is a three-day institute that immerses new professionals into the ACUHO-I Core Competencies through engaging and thoughtful sessions presented by carefully selected faculty from the MACUHO and NEACUHO regions. Over the course of the institute, participants delve into the Body of Knowledge through competency and primer sessions, spend valuable time in both group and individual mentorship opportunities, and build lasting relationships with peers across the two regions.

Reflecting on this experience, as the application opens for the next cohort, RELI brought about many immediate and long-term impacts: 1. Engagement with faculty through mentorship and sessions. One of the cornerstones of RELI is the mentorship pairing between participants and faculty members. Each participant is assigned one faculty member (faculty have no more than 3 participants assigned to them) to serve in a mentorship capacity throughout the institute and beyond. During the institute, there is scheduled one-on-one time with your mentor, as well as group mentorship opportunities. As someone who never

had a formal mentor, this time was incredibly valuable, as my mentor was able to challenge me and offer their perspectives from a non-entry level standpoint, as well as expose me to what a mentorship experience should be like. In addition to the mentorship component, participants also engage with faculty during their presentations. Throughout the duration of the institute, each faculty member presents a competency session, utilizing their own experiences and knowledge-base. Different from a traditional conference program, these sessions are planned to actively engage participants and are developed specifically for the cohort-model.

2. Critical Reflection. One of the goals of RELI is for participants to identify and define the competencies needed to move into a mid-level position within housing and/or residence life. RELI provided the opportunity to critically reflect on where I am professionally, the variance between my current skill set and that needed for a mid-level role, and what opportunities I need to capitalize on to gain those skills. 3. Clarification of aspirations and goals. At the start of RELI, I had just completed my third year professionally, and felt that I had a strong sense of my own career trajectory; at the close, I left with increased clarity, and a few more possibilities. As each session delved further into the competencies of our field, there were certain topics I became enthralled with, and felt a reinvigorated passion for. Many of the sessions utilized case studies based on real-life examples from the presenter’s current role, which allowed participants to analyze actual situations and data, while also hearing how different campuses acted and responded in those moments. The exposure to what type of decisions are made at the mid-level helped clarify areas my strengths are naturally complementary of, as well as those where they may not be. The exposure and knowledge shared


also allows participants to critically analyze their career aspirations and goals, and develop an action plan to achieve them. 4. Networking with faculty and peers.  RELI offers the unique opportunity to connect with professionals from two regions, rather than strictly one. While the institute is quite structured, there was plenty of time to build relationships with both the faculty and other participants. Between formal activities within the sessions, to informal chats over meals or during a dramatic round of Mafia, RELI is a shared experience and phenomenal opportunity to build your network. Beyond your own professional development, you were able to learn more from your cohort about how their campuses operate and gain new perspectives and ideas

to bring back to your own campus. Plus - you now have a plethora of new connections to see and catch up with at Annual Conference! 5. Investment in the region. Prior to attending RELI, I had just returned to the MACUHO region after a sabbatical to SEAHO, and was looking to get further involved within the profession and region that has given so much to me. After many conversations over the course of the institute, I left encouraged to challenge myself to become involved within the association. It was time I tangibly invested in the organization that invested in me from my undergraduate through professional career. This led to participation in association task forces, committee involvement, and now, serving the association through the Leadership Council.

In addition to the lasting impact personally and professionally, my RELI experience hasn’t quite ended yet. As RELI returns to the MACUHO region this year, I’ve transitioned from participant to host team, as Penn State Harrisburg prepares to welcome RELI to campus this May. In five short months, the 21st class of RELI participants will embark on the most transformational professional development opportunity, and join the ranks as program graduates days later. As a former participant and colleague in the field, this is the one experience I encourage entry-level professionals

Kaityln Patschke Coordinator of Residence Life Penn State Harrisburg Program Committee Co-Chair


MACUHO 2017 ANNUAL CONFERENCE College Park, Maryland





The Lisa A. Pierce Volunteer Incentive Program for Students (VIPS) hosted 16 undergraduate students at the 2017 Annual Conference in College Park, MD. With a record number of applications, this year’s group was energetic and engaged. We reached out to a few of them to share reflections on their VIPS experience.

First, a bit about our VIPS contributors:

Teagan Nurnberger

4th year Community Advisor at The College of New Jersey

Rose Roberts

Haubert Union Building Manager and Summer Conference Assistant at Moravian College

Caleb Rogers

4th year Resident Advisor at Rutgers University(New Brunswick)

What made you interested in applying to the VIPS program? Teagan: I wanted to learn more about Residential Education and Housing with hopes to find a career in the field. Rose: My summer supervisor encouraged me to apply to MACUHO as she had previously been a VIP. I was initially nervous as I do not work in residence life directly, but I was incredibly suprised to have been admitted in to the program! I was excited to meet other students passionate about higher education, and I wanted to make connections with young professionals. Caleb: A desire to continue into Student Affairs. How would you describe the VIPS program experience at the Annual Conference to other interested students? Teagan: This program, really, was a dream come true, for it allowed me to learn so much more about the field, the multitude of career paths one can take, and meet motivatived individuals in the field. Rose: This is a great opportunity to connect with other undergraduates


who are passionate about persuing higher education, and you can make connections in multiple areas of higher education and student affairs, not just residence life. Caleb: A fantastic opportunity to learn about other institutions and network. What was your most memorable experience from the VIPS program? Teagan: Meeting and talking with Brian Medina, for he is one of the most humble individuals I have ever met. Additionally, hearing Lisa A. Pierce’s story from her father really gave me a purpose for the rest of the conference. Caleb: Watching the passing of the gavel from Past President to Current President. Who did you meet at the conference that you’re excited to have in your network now? Teagan: I would have to agree with Caleb with regards to my mentor, Carey Hadock, being the individual I am most excited to have in my network. Rose: I am excited to continue to connect with my mentor, Isaiah of Swarthmore College, as well as all other VIP’s as we continue on our educational and professional journeys. Caleb: Marjorie Cook, my assigned mentor, who currently works at Temple. What did you take away from the VIPS program once you returned back to campus? How have you been able to share your experience with others? Teagan: My biggest takeaway was

that, there are so many different paths to take get where you want to go in this field, however it is important to stay involved and knowledgeable about higher education. I have been able to share my experiences by discussing more of what a career in higher education is, as well as asking questions to different professional staff at my institution. Rose: My biggest takeaway is understanding how “small” the field can be and how everyone knows one another, be it through education, previous institutions, conferences, etc. Someone knows someone who knows you, and you can continue to build on those connections throughout your career. Caleb: That there’s still time for me to enter the field properly, to make connections and find an institution for graduate studies. Shared it with others by talking about it, trying to get more people to know about it.

Room Goals t i d e l i a n #

REC UPDATES The REC (Recognition, Excellence & Connections) Committee wishes everyone a Happy New Year! We are very excited to get started on our continued traditions such as Academic Excellence Awards & RA Appreciation and welcome brand new initiatives such as member and institutional spotlights. Member Spotlights will highlight MACUHO members who might not necessarily serve in a leadership capacity within MACUHO but are doing extraordinary work on their respective campuses. The REC Committee will be partnering with MACUHO’s Social Media Coordinator to highlight these individuals on our social media platforms. Don’t forget to follow MACUHO on Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, Pinterest, LinkedIn, and CafePress to see who will be our next member spotlight! Institutional Spotlights will be features in the MACUHO magazine highlighting accomplishments of professional and graduate staff. These spotlights can include but are not limited: new hires, promotions, retirements, publications, selected/elected officer in professional organization, awards, etc. Through this initiative, we want to share the successes of our members. MACUHO members have exemplary talent and we want to be able to shine a little light on that awesomeness. Please email with your institutional highlights to be featured in upcoming issues. We want to give a BIG appreciation and kudos to Shippensburg University for hosting the 2017 Student Staff Live-In (SSLI) Conference this past November! It was a huge success and we couldn’t be prouder. As we start to look at SSLI 2018, if you are interested or want to learn more about being a host, it is never too early to contact us. The REC Committee wants to begin having SSLI host institutions identified 1-3 years in advance. This new process will give host committee members the ability to shadow a conference and start the planning process a year early. Please be on the lookout for SSLI bid information. REC would like to encourage those interested individuals to join the committee. Please send us an email and we will get you plugged in. You can email us at We look forward to continuing to serve!

REC Co-Chairs Courtland L. James & Drew Melendez


Proud recipient of MACUHO’s 2017 Business Affiliate of the Year Award!

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CULTURE OF “FINE” By: Kevin Gaughenbaugh Assistant Director of Housing and Residence Life, Northampton Community It was the end of August. I had just started a new position at a new institution in a new city. We had just opened our residence hall, a massive change that doubled the on-campus population for our campus. Throughout the summer, I had overtly been eavesdropping on the conversations in anticipation of this new change. It came with a lot of excitement and a lot of trepidation. The excitement came from a brand new opportunity to welcome so many new students onto campus – something they had not been able to do in previous years. But with this excitement, there were new fears. The biggest question: how are we going to handle all these new residents? I, initially, went into this new endeavor with excitement. I had just come from a very large university and the size of our population was very similar to the one building that I had managed in previous years. At this point – at the end of this August – I also received a taste of where the fears were coming from. Within the first couple weeks, I had a clear understanding of the difference between my previous institution and this new one. The size was the same, but the challenges were much greater. In those first couple of weeks, we were hit with a number of severe student conduct issues (the process of which I was now in charge of). Every day, I watched as my incident report queue went up and up. I feverishly assigned cases to my RDs, my Director, and myself. Through that process, I just kept telling myself that it would start to die down as the year progressed. However, that didn’t


happen. I should admit that, although I have always seen myself as very competent in student conduct, it isn’t my favorite part of my job. It’s not easy to tell people they have done something wrong. It’s even more difficult to tell them, in the first couple weeks, that they now have to leave campus. Though it’s not easy, I do understand that it is an important part of what we do. However, for someone who gets little energy from that work, it is very draining and, even in the first couple of weeks, it was taking a toll on me. It was in the second week of the Fall semester when I was standing in line in our food court. In front of me was our Vice President for Student Affairs. When I took my place in line behind her, she turned to me, excitedly, and said, “Kevin! How are you?” Instinctively, I said, “I’m fine, how are you?” She looked at me attentively and put her food down on the corner in front of us. She turned her body toward me and said, “Do all Res Life people do that?” I looked at her, confused, and said, “I’m sorry.” I immediately thought I had said something wrong, but couldn’t, for the life of me, think of what that had been. She looked at me, and asked again, more pointedly, “How are you?” I responded the same as before and she said, “Every time I ask that question of someone from Res Life, they reply, immediately, with ‘Fine.’ Are you really fine?” In that moment, I think I was so taken aback that I assured her that I was fine. But, as I thought about it,

she was right. I thought back to how many times I had used that word as a reflexive response, without really thinking about what I was actually saying. Over the years, I have thought more about this response and what it does to the overall conversation. Because the truth in that moment is that I was not fine. I was overwhelmed. I was shell-shocked. I felt like I was starting to drown. I was in a brand-new position, doing brand new things, and I was trying to pull from experiences I didn’t really have to get through it. She and I laughed off our encounter as a joke. I don’t know that she has ever really thought about it as deeply as I have, but that encounter has in many ways changed the way I answer that question. Over the next couple years, I continued to pay attention to this question and the reflex answer. I paid attention to the answers I received as I asked the question and the answers I gave in response. What I found is that everyone does it. From the highest levels of institutional administration to the not-so-highest. In student affairs, specifically, we have created this culture of “Fine.” It has become a reflex response, without thought and without discussion. Before I continue, I want to make it very clear that the words that follow have not been formally researched in any way. This is simply a reflection of my own experience that I hope others will be able to relate to and think about. But it is an experience I have witnessed in those around me and – as I discussed this idea with colleagues – I have found that is shared by those around me. The

purpose of this article is to help professionals at any level to really think about this question and, more importantly, about the responses they give and receive. I hope to challenge us all to intentionally think about why we are asking this question and to think about the answers we want to receive, versus the answers we are prepared to receive.

What are we saying?

When we say that something is “fine,” what are we actually saying? I looked up the word on Dictionary. com and the most appropriate definition is “healthy; well.” As in, “In spite of everything, he is fine.” What we are saying when we use this word is that things are going well and there aren’t any overwhelming problems. The truth, however, is that that just isn’t true – at least not all the time. We can look at our world and at our work and find many, many things that are actually fine. But how many times have we been asked how we are and the actual truth is that we are fine? If we’re honest, I’m sure we will admit that it’s not all the time. Look at what we deal with on a daily basis: -A rise in the lack of preparedness of our students. -Intense pressure to do more with increasingly limited resources. -Pressure to fill beds and to, some times, prioritize customer service needs over educational ones. -An increase in the number and level of mental health issues with fewer resources to help. -An increase in student conduct and Title IX issues, but the same number of staff to deal with them. -More and more restrictions on the authority of higher education professionals. -Pressure to assess things that, sometimes, don’t have an easy way to assess. (How do you assess that living with a roommate is more beneficial than not?)

We do deal with these things, though. And we do it because we love the job. Or, because we want to make a difference. Or, because we know that what we do is important. Or, because <insert your own reason here>. The point is, we do it. And, at times, we do it at the expense of other things. We sacrifice our nights to be on call. We sacrifice our weekends to program. We stay later in our office and handle the situations that pop up as we are walking out the door. We agree to be pied in the face… or clean up vomit… or let students sob in our offices (and, yes, they do sob). We agree to these things for a myriad of reasons. But, the truth is that it is not always “fine.”

Why Do We Say We’re “Fine?”

I’ll be honest, I don’t have a well-researched answer, or an answer that is supported by a lot of statistics. But, I have an answer based on the professionals I have spoken to, and an answer based on my own experience. In the last couple years, as I have reflected over the encounter with my Vice President, I have asked myself this question.Why do I say I’m fine, even in times when I’m not? To begin, I need to talk a little bit about what I actually wanted to say to my Vice President. In a perfect world, I probably would have said something like, “I really need help. And I feel like I don’t know what I’m doing. And these kids are doing all the wrong things. And I really want them to do all the right things. But I don’t know how to make them see what they need to see in order to do all the right things. And I’m really frustrated, because I know how talented they are. And I know that they need help. But I don’t always know what help they need. And I don’t know that I will have support to give them the help they need. And things cost money. And I can’t guarantee that the help I provide is going to work.” And on and

on and on… Instead, I said, with a smile and an upbeat tone, “I’m fine.” We all do this. Here are some reasons, which I have assumed – and heard from others – about why we do this. Incompetence In many ways, we live in a world where it is not acceptable to ask for help. Our society values independence and autonomy. As much as we pride the ability to work in a group and work on a team, you also better be able to do things on your own. Because of those messages, we are reluctant to admit when anything is wrong. The implied message is that, if there is something wrong, then there is something wrong with us. No one wants to feel like they don’t know how to do their job. There is an internal implication that if things aren’t fine, there is something wrong with us. With all of this, there is then a fear of losing jobs, opportunities, or promotions. Arrogance Many of us in Higher Education have advanced degrees and/or years of experience. Because of that, we sometimes feel as though we are the only ones who are able to “fix” problems the most effectively. We hardly ever admit it, but, at times, we wear our diplomas and experiences as badges of honor. We use them as barricades to keep people out of our “areas.” Shielding In my career, I have heard a number of supervisors say, “We want to make sure we keep any issues from <insert upper level administrator here>. And it makes sense. The less issues “they” have to deal with, the more time they have to focus on other things. And, in reality, most of us are employed to deal with those issues before they rise above us. But, the more we shield, the less opportunity there is for change to happen. Nothing can be done. No one wants to have a conversation about things that are wrong if


nothing can be done to fix them. To apply it to the world, this is the reason that people choose not to vote (e.g., one vote doesn’t make a difference), or call lawmakers (e.g., I’m only one person – my phone call won’t change anything). To voice a complaint only to find out that there is no solution is defeating. If you have nothing nice to say… So, we don’t say anything at all. Offering critical feedback is not easy. Receiving it is even harder. All of us have been in positions when we have received critical feedback. It doesn’t always feel good (no matter how much we insist that we welcome it). We recognize that feeling in ourselves, and we refrain from causing others to feel the same way – especially, those above us. There is also the fear of how the other person might receive that feedback, and the impact that might have on us.

The Truth of “Fine”

So, what really happens when we say “fine?” First and foremost, the Conversation stops (notice the capital “C”). We all work at institutions of higher learning. Learning happens through the exchange of ideas. Ideas are exchanged through Conversation. Not every idea is a good one (believe me, I’ve had many bad ones). But the culture of “fine” stops the Conversation completely. If someone tells you he/she/they is fine, there is no reason to probe further. My Vice President recognized this that day in the food court. I don’t know if she saw something on my face, or she had just heard that response too many times and it sounded canned. But she stopped. She put down her life (in this case, her lunch). She probed further. But in reality, she didn’t have to. She could have accepted my answer as truth and walked away. I gave her no overt reason to ask any further questions. In my response, I ended the Conversation. I did it again, when she challenged me and I used the same response to terminate the Conversation completely. What I also did was rob her of the opportunity for change. Granted, in that moment, I had no solutions to what I was going through. But I robbed her of the opportunity to fix anything. At the very least, I robbed her of the opportunity to pass along her wisdom and experience. She may not have been able to fix the problem, but she may have been able to help me deal with it better, which would have, potentially, allowed me to do my job better. I also prevented her from enhancing the work of her division. Maybe others were going through the same thing I was. Maybe my

honest response would have prompted her to survey others. I allowed my insecurities, fears, and arrogance get in the way of her ability to lead her division.

Tips for the Asked

I am by no means an expert in this field, but I have adopted some tips over the years (especially, the last couple of years) that I think are important to pass along. Be Honest If you are asked how you are, be honest. You are a human being. It is okay if things are not fine. You are allowed to have a bad day. You are allowed to make mistakes – and when you do, own them, learn from them, and strive to make fewer of them. Be careful though. Honesty is important, but appropriate honesty is key. Understand that, though honesty truly is the best policy, it can also be hurtful and blunt. When you have decided what you want to say, take the time to work out how you want to say it. And know your audience. Most of us have heard about the Golden Rule – Do unto others as you would have them do unto you. But also keep in mind the Platinum Rule – Do unto others as they would have done until them. And keep in mind that when people hear the truth, they may need to process that truth in order to truly understand it. Planning Most of us (if not all of us) plan what we are going to say, before we are even asked. If you are not one of those people, I secretly envy you. If things are not fine, then know specifically what it is that is not fine. Be able to name it. Be able to talk about it. Have examples. Most importantly, be willing and able to be a part of the solution. Accept the reality that there may not be an easy solution, but be willing to work to find one and execute it. Follow Up You may not initially be in a space (physically, mentally, emotionally) to

have the in-depth Conversation at that moment. Be honest about how you feel, but follow up later on to go more in depth. For example, the food court, during lunch, was probably not the most appropriate time to have the Conversation I wanted to have. However, I could have said,“You know, things are not the greatest right now. I’d love to talk about it, at some point, but I recognize that now might not be that time. How about if I make an appointment for later?” This kind of statement allows the Conversation to remain open. Plus, it is an honest expression of how you truly are. The most important piece of this is that you actually follow up. Make that appointment. Plan what you need to say. And assess how open you feel the other person is to actually talking. Be Understanding Our lives get very busy. All of our lives. If the Conversation can’t be had in that moment, understand that it make take a little time to actually have it. Also, depending on who you are having the Conversation with, be understanding that it may be virtually impossible for that person to know that there is a problem. Don’t expect that person to know the problem before you have voiced it. More importantly, don’t be angry that he/ she didn’t. When you do have the Conversation, understand that there are some things that are out of anyone’s control. Bureaucracy and politics are real on every level. Also, real change takes time. Rome wasn’t built in a day – changing Rome doesn’t happen that way either. Confidentiality and Trust There may be things in your Conversation that you don’t want to hear. Be vigilant with that information and know who should hear it and who shouldn’t. Also, trust that the person you are speaking with wants to help you and your institution.

Tips for the Asker

Again, I am by no means, an ex-

pert in this field, but I have also been an Asker and have thought up some tips for that person, as well. Be Honest You may have information that the person asked does not. If there are changes or decisions that can’t be made, be honest about that. If something is going to take a lot of time, be honest about that, as well. We, typically, don’t know the things that the leaders above us know. If there is information you have that you can’t reveal, be honest about that – don’t just make up an answer. If something is revealed to you that you didn’t know, it’s okay to be honest about that. If you are the leader of a department or an institution, it is impossible for you to know absolutely everything that is going on – and you shouldn’t be expected to. Be Prepared to Listen Many of us have asked others how they are, but do we truly want to know? I know, for myself, I have asked “How are you?” when I really mean just a simple hello. If you don’t really want to know how someone is, don’t ask. Be intentional about the question and, if you want to know, listen. If someone is taking the time to tell you how they really are, they deserve your time to listen. If you don’t have the time in the moment, make time later and let the person know that what they are saying is important and you really want to give him/her the time that is deserved. Put Your Ego Aside We all have an ego. We all have a perception of ourselves. Most of us, hopefully, have a positive perception of ourselves. But, realize that you are not perfect. You don’t always make the best decision. And this Conversation may be the time when someone tells you that. Don’t be so arrogant that you can’t listen to how you or your decisions may have negatively affected someone else. Follow Up Sometimes the Conversation needs more time than what is


allotted in a casual encounter. Be open to a follow up Conversation. And, make sure you follow up regarding any decisions that were made and, more importantly, if decisions couldn’t be made for any reason. Sometimes, there is nothing worse than telling someone something very important and then not seeing that information go anywhere. As you are able, be as transparent as possible and, more importantly, be as transparent as possible about the things you might not be able to be transparent about. Also, be honest about the things that might take more time than the Asked might expect. Another key component of following up is checking in. If someone is not fine, do what you can to help, but then check in later to see if things have gotten better, gotten worse, or stayed the same. Again, be honest, be prepared to listen and put your ego aside. Confidentiality and Trust It is not easy to tell those above us that there is a problem. If someone is honest with you about that, then that is a precious gift that this person has given you. Treat it that way. Information conveyed shouldn’t be shared willy nilly. If it needs to be shared, it should be intentional and only to those who need to know it. The source of the information should be treated with the same confidentiality. Trust that the Asked is sharing this information from a good place – until you have good reason to believe it’s not. Even frustration can come from a good place – though it doesn’t always feel that way. Create a Plan of Action When possible, work with the person you are talking with to create a plan of action – steps that each of you will take to make the situation better. This plan should always include time to follow up with each other, if anything, just to check in. Even if the plan is simply to check in, make sure that is voiced and agreed


upon. Typically, I like to set an appointment in advance to make sure that every day life doesn’t get in the way (because, if it can, it absolutely will).

Common Goal

Conversations like this, I have learned, are not always easy, and they certainly don’t always come at the most opportune time, but they are so important. I would put money on the fact that we all have the same goal in mind, no matter who we are, what position we hold, or what institution we are at. The first goal is the betterment of our institutions. We work at the places we work because we believe in missions and visions of our institutions. I don’t mean simply the words in those statements; but the essence of what those words represent. Those statements took months or even years to put together. Typically, entire committees are convened who tirelessly work, discuss and, yes, even argue about the perfect wording to express the work that that institution promises to do. The purpose of any of these Conversations is for us – Asked and Asker – to lift our institution to highest level as possible. The ability to have a difficult Conversation is proof of that. The second goal is the betterment and success of our students. There are few, if any of us, that do what we do for the paycheck. We do it because we have seen a need and we are confident that we can address it. We do it because we see students who need our help to succeed. We do it because we want to make this world a better place and we know that helping our students succeed is the way to do that. Hopefully, we also do it because we enjoy it. Maybe not at 4:00 in the morning when we get called because someone’s sugar glider that they were illegally keeping as a pet got out of its cage and made its way into someone else’s room (yes, that actually happened to me once). Maybe not at 2:00 in

the morning when someone taped a dead bird to one of your RA’s door and posted a video of it on social media (yep, that one, too). Maybe not when you have to sit across from a crying student and explain why his/ her/their actions have resulted in the termination of a housing contract. But during those times when a spontaneous program results in a group of 79 people to come together to hang out. Those times when you run a grade report and the number of 4.0s has increased from the semester before. Those times when you hand an achievement or excellence award to a resident(s) who may have been failing before. When you share funny, wacky, and unbelievable stories with your colleagues (our lives should really be a reality show). When you see your residents come together as a community in times of crisis and support each other in ways you didn’t think were possible. When you think back over your career and realize that, even though you haven’t received as many “thank you’s” as you probably deserve, you know you’ve made a difference in so many lives. Our students are really the reason we do what we do, no matter in what level we serve. In my opinion – as this has all been – I believe we owe it to our students to have the Conversations, no matter how difficult.

Keven Gaughenbaugh

THREE WAYS TO SUPPORT THE SPIRITUAL DEVELOPMENT OF OUR STUDENTS By: Brandon McCartney I can remember sitting in my residence hall room as a first-year student having a conversation with my friends about a contentious theological issue. My roommate and I were on opposite sides of the ‘debate’ and exchanged ideas and interpretations on a particular passage from the Bible. Neither of us changed our minds on the issue, but it was still a spirited exchange of ideas. Looking back, I am glad that my roommate and I challenged each other on our theological perspectives, and I felt that I learned something from the conversation. Furthermore, it challenged me to reexamine my faith and some of the teachings instilled in me during my upbringing. I am only speaking from my own experiences, so I acknowledge that this discussion may not have universal applicability. In higher education, we talk extensively about many forms of student development. At the same time, I believe we have an obligation as housing and residence life professionals to explore ways in which living in residence halls can influence the spiritual development of our students. Some students may be interacting with people with different values for the first time, which is an outstanding opportunity for student learning, growth, and development. We are doing our students a disservice if we do not encourage them to step out of their comfort zones and learn from other students’ religious perspectives and begin to examine their own deeply held convictions and values. Students are working to develop purpose in their lives and live according to their values, and as professionals, we can play a pivotal role in helping them on their journey. It is worth noting that it can be dif-

ficult for professionals to know when to speak about spirituality or religion with students, because we never want to impose our own beliefs on others. Some of our students have had very negative experiences with organized religious organizations. At the same time, I believe there are some steps we can take to better prepare ourselves to engage with our students over these issues. How can residence life and housing professionals encourage our students to explore their spiritual development?

Encourage residents with roommate conflicts over religious/spiritual differences to engage with each other before switching rooms. We all know of roommate conflicts that cannot be resolved due to irreconcilable differences. In cases where students are experiencing conflict due to differences in spiritual practices, residence life staff can play a pivotal role in helping students learn from these experiences. By going through the mediation process, staff members can challenge residents to speak open and honesty with each other, so they can understand why their roommate thinks the way they do and discover the root of their values. Additionally, the current state of public discourse in our country makes it imperative for us to encourage students to engage in constructive, honest, and open dialogue.

We can educate ourselves on different spiritual practices in order to better support our students through their journeys.

This could be as simple as attending a lecture on-campus about Islam, Hinduism, Christianity, Judaism or another faith tradition. Further, you may choose to read a book on a spiritual practice you wish to understand better or take a class on a particular religion. This is crucial, since our students come from a variety of different backgrounds and worldviews. At the same time, we as professionals must never impose our own beliefs or values on students. If students are curious about a particular tradition, then we should be aware of the different resources on-campus or in the community that are available to them and make appropriate referrals.

Promote events on-campus that expose students to different worldviews or spiritual perspectives. There are numerous opportunities on our campuses for students to hear from religious/spiritual experts on why people follow specific traditions. These are learning opportunities for our students and can help spark meaningful conversations inside and outside the residence halls. Living in a residence hall is a unique experience for college students, because they interact with people who possess different perspectives, beliefs, and practices on a daily basis. Residence Life staff members are in a unique position to challenge students to constructively engage with their peers around spiritual issues.

Brandon McCartney Area Coordinator at Hood College




It is that time of year, Job Search Season! You are diligently working to perfect your cover letters and resumes while employers are finalizing job descriptions and interview questions. You are practicing your answers to every possible interview question and debating on what placement conference to attend and how to make your budget work. In theory, job searching should be a simple process. You determine which jobs you are qualified for, submit your materials, and then receive an invitation for an interview. The employer asks you some questions, you answer them, and then you get the job, right?

However, we know this is not the case for student affairs, especially housing and residence life. Interviewing in our field is spread out over several months. You submit a cover letter, a resume, and complete an application online. Then a month or so later, an employer reaches out to set up an interview. If you are attending a placement conference like MAPC, then you are juggling multiple interviews with a variety on institutions in a two day time frame. If all goes well with your first round interview and you answer all questions perfectly, you would receive an invitation for an on-campus

interview. Ending with either a job offer or the dreaded email stating you were not the successful candidate. As a candidate, you not only have to adjust your resume and cover letter for each position, you need to remember the endless list of interview expectations. From dressing appropriately to thank you emails to the professional look of your resume to providing examples for every interview question, the list of unspoken expectations seems endless. However, as you prepare for the “interview season”, you want to consider some essential tips to help with your success.

-Be your authentic self. Fit is a big part of the job so you want to ensure you are at a place that values you as an individual. -Write down your answers to possible questions and review them before your interviews. -Practice your interview answers before the interviews. -Find a mentor or supervisor who can help you prepare. -Have someone review your resume and cover letter. -Individualize your resume and cover letter to the specific job and institution when possible. -Use your personal email address, not your .edu account. -Make sure your voicemail message is professional. -Review any social media and clean up pictures if needed. -Network with everyone you know! You never know who they may know! -Identify colleges and universities and do your research. -Have questions prepared ahead of time for each institution. -Thank you notes – go electronic! -Get organized. -Have patience. It may take longer than you planned for to hear back from employers. -Do not get discouraged. Stay positive! -Be open to the unexpected. -Be prepared to market. -Make a budget – job searching expenses can add up. -Determine the region, if any you want to be in. Attend placement conferences for that area. -Dress for success.

MACUHO offers a placement conference for graduate and entry level positions for anyone looking to stay within the region. MAPC is an affordable way to job search over a two day timeframe. MAPC takes place February 18 – 20th in Reading, PA and a great way to jump start your job search process and network.


Carey Haddock Assistant Director of Operations at Delaware Valley University MAPC Co-Chair

Jackie Cetera Director of Residential Education Bucknell University MAPC Co-Chair


TEN STEPS TO TRANSITION: ADVISING STUDENT LEADERS FROM ELECTIONS TO TRAINING By: Shane Guinan As we all know, the spring semester brings warm weather, tons of programs, and elections for our residence life student organizations such as RHA. Elections go hand in hand with transition. While spring is also filled with RA selection, end of the year banquets, and closing, it is important not to lose sight of our student leaders---and not just our student staff. Often times in residence life, our focus is on our student staff and our housing operations. In the same way that student conduct or campus programming are a key part of our position, so are our student leaders. RHA, NRHH, and our other student organizations are a part of the core foundation for how we bring many first-year students into the department. With this in mind, we need to dig deep and find the extra bit of energy to help our students create a platform for their future success. In the same way that some schools implement RA courses to prepare their staff prior to formal training, we must also think about how we are preparing our student leaders for their summer projects and upcoming recruitment cycles. While we all know transition is important, we don’t always think about how important it is for the next year, specifically the success of recruitment in the fall. Transition is a continual conversation that students have each year within NACURH and CAACURH for those institutions that are affiliated. The students ask each year how they can ensure a positive transition into next year, but a re-

source that students often underutilize are their advisors. As we begin the spring semester and you start to work towards determining election timelines, I have several tangible tips that you can utilize to advise your students through elections and transitions. Here are a few tips to help you prepare your students for a successful start to the new semester.

Elections Timeline

Work with your students to make sure elections happen BEFORE your busiest month---at my campus this is April. This makes sure that April isn’t even more overwhelming, but gives you plenty of transition time. If you don’t usually have Spring Elections, see if it might work for you. Several schools even run elections on the calendar year like Georgetown University.

Intentional Elections

As the advisor, make sure your elections are the best possible for the positions. Do full campus elections or internal elections make the most sense? Make sure that you review positional duties and goals BEFORE going into elections.

Transition Retreat

In-person transition meetings are important to discuss outgoing and incoming goals and educate new board members on major challenges, changes, and successes. Its important to plan this meeting before elections happen so everyone is aware of the date and time.


Transition Documents We all know transition documents are important, but often forget about them until elections happen. Task your students to complete a mid-year report, or provide them benchmarks throughout the semester to ensure their reports are completed. If your institution transitions advisors, make sure that you follow the same plan.

Be involved

While I don’t believe advisors should do the work for their students, I don’t think you can be too involved in the transition process. The more you show that you care about this process, the easier it is to hold your students accountable.

Vision Planning

Before students leave for the summer, it is important to have your new board create a vision for next year. This vision should include goals and timelines so that all board members have specific and clear projects for the summer.

Creating recruitment plans

Before the spring semester ends, it is crucial to establish a plan for recruiting new students into the organization. This helps to make sure they are involved in building opening and first floor meetings.

Advisor transition

Some institutions keep the same advisor, but many see changes of co-advisors or graduate student advisors. Make sure that there are reports, documents, and profiles for the board members in the event of advisor transition. For many of these

advisors, it will be their first time being an organization advisor.

NACURH affiliation preparation

If your school affiliates with NACURH, start planning your affiliation materials before the new board takes over. Affiliation requires an affiliation report about a program or project completed this past year. For more information, see affiliate.


Make sure that any fall training is planned in advance. Does this overlap with parts of RA training? Are they held together or separate? Is there a retreat after move-in? Training is the time that students gain skills to prepare for their success for the year.

Shane Guinan Area Director at Salisbury University Recruitment and Retention Co-Chair

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IT IS A PROCESS - TRUST IT OR NOT: NAVIGATING YOUR JOB SEARCH By: Ashley Lillie Residential Area Manager, Saint Joseph’s University My first job search can be described in two adjectives: exciting and exhausting.  I scraped together the funds to attend Career Central at ACPA in Tampa, Florida in 2015 and interviewed with institutions all over the country.  My extrovert tendencies were in full force and I was loving every minute of it.  When I returned to my home institution, I began the process of on-campus interviews.  Let’s go back to Myers-Briggs, I am ENFP.  The F, feeling, being how I processed my on-campus interviews.  I was going to make my decision based on what felt right. While I wouldn’t change my decision, I hope to provide you with a few strategies to help you approach your search process with more clarity and confidence.

The Dream Job Brain Dump My background is in K-12 education.  One of my favorite formative assessment activities was the Brain Dump.  I have adapted this activity to be my initial job search (and other life decision) strategy.  It appeals to many different learning and personality styles because you are putting it all out there and processing that information in your own unique way.    Step One: Set a timer for 5 to 10 minutes and write down everything your dream job would have.  Do not limit yourself.  If you are experiencing difficulty making a list or if you find yourself shrugging and saying, “Hey listen, I just need something, I don’t really care,” I hear you. Give yourself some extra time to really think about

what would be the most fulfilling. This is your opportunity to shoot for the stars.  If you like specific guidelines (parameters), this list should have at least 10 qualities for your dream job.   Step Two: Take a look at your list.  What was easy about this activity?  What was difficult?  Did you find this difficult to complete by yourself or did you prefer to not have any other opinions, perspectives, or expectations involved?  Now, set your timer again, this time for 3-5 minutes, but for this round do not allow yourself to have any time extensions.  Go through and narrow your list down, crossing out those qualities or benefits you could live without.  Your updated brain dump should have no more than 5 (if you had a list of 10) to 8 (if you had a list of 10+) qualities, benefits, or needs.  Was this easier or more difficult than making the list?  What about making these decisions individually?   Onto the final step: your “musthaves.” Set your timer again for 3-5 minutes and eliminate your list to include only your three “musthaves”.  Take a deep breath and really think about what three qualities or benefits this position must have for you to be successful. Remember, you are committing 40 hours (at least) of your week to this position.  This is where you need to be real with yourself and take into consideration all of the “life” that goes in to starting a new position.  You have to consider both personal and professional goals and values.  As I mentioned in my introduction, I wish

I had done this before the next steps in the process.  Doing the difficult reflective work will allow you to approach the application and interview process with more clarity and may relieve some of the overwhelm.

The Application and Interview Process Okay, now you have your “musthaves.”  What’s next? You start applying!  You will not get 100% of the jobs you do not apply for (thanks Wayne Gretzky).  Block off some time, either daily or weekly, to find and complete applications.  Apply for every position that has your top three.  Remember to be authentic with your materials.  Have a mentor, colleague, or peer serve as your reviewer.  Ask them if your cover letter or resume accurately depicts who you are.  At this point, organization is key.  Have your resume and cover letter in an easy to edit format, available to you on a variety of platforms.  You never know when you will be chatting with someone and they say, “send me your resume”.  You’ll want to be ready.  Make sure that you bookmark the jobs for which you have applied so that you can easily access the descriptions.  You may be applying to many institutions at once.  You will be thankful you kept the materials easily accessible. Now, let’s talk phone interviews.  Here are some strategies to help you succeed in your preparations.  Start by taking another look at the job description.  Make note of anything that is mentioned repeated-


ly throughout the description.  That most likely means it is important to the institution.  You will want to prepare some examples of previous experiences you have with that essential function. If you do not have that specific experience, be sure to have an example of a related experience that would translate to that responsibility.  In addition, you will want to prepare some questions you have for your interviewers.  Revisit your “must-haves” and frame your questions around those.  This will be especially helpful when determining whether or not you want to accept an on-campus interview.  If the school does not have two of your three “must-haves,” it is not fair to utilize your own or the institution’s resources to reaffirm the inevitable.  In preparation for phone interviews, remember, you can never be over-prepared.  But let’s be real for a minute, most phone interviews last 20-30 minutes.  So, you should not be spending two or three days preparing for a 20-minute interview.  Time is valuable and you want to make sure you are maximizing it. Moving on to the on-campus interview stage.  One caveat is that this part of the process is individual.  The one thing you need to do is be authentic.  You are interviewing the institution as much as they are interviewing you.  You do not want to present an employee that is not going to be the person they are going to be working with.  In preparation for an on-campus interview, reflect on your strengths and passion areas.  What gets you excited to be in this field?  What role do you play on a team?  Even if your interviewers do not ask you those questions directly, when you provide that information, they know you better and can make a more well-rounded decision. Now, you wait.  No well-developed strategies here except remember to breathe.  This takes time and is unsettling.  You may sit by the phone

or be constantly refreshing your email.  That’s up to you.  The only suggestion I will offer is to hold off on any outreach until the timeline you have been provided is exceeded.   Then it happens, the offer!  My most valuable strategy here is to take some time.  You are excited, embrace that but also make sure that excitement does not lead you to making an impulsive decision.  You have spent all this time in reflection; you wouldn’t want to throw it all away now.  Be sure to use this time to seek any clarification on benefits that will contribute to your decision.  Ask how much time you have to make the decision.  If you have some flexibility with when you can let them know, be sure not to give yourself too much time where you will overthink your decision.  Give yourself enough time to consult with your support system and revisit your “must-have” list.  Be sure to think about if you are compromising any of these “must-haves” because you are so excited to have an offer.  What parameters are you internally putting on the position?  Are you saying to yourself, “this is fine for right now” or “I could do this for a year”?  Whatever you decide, you are doing what is best for you and ultimately, the institution. I could not end an article about the job search without talking about the inevitable: what if the offer does not come?  Take a moment to appreciate all of the hard work you have done and how awesome you are.  It wasn’t the right fit.  There are many

positions out there and a lot of them will have your “must-haves”.  It just may take longer.  The best strategy here?  Remembering that the job search is individual.  Comparison can be detrimental here.  Try to not to compare yourself to a peers’ search or your mentor’s story.  This is story is yours and yours alone.  At this point, you need to determine what is best for you.  Do you need a break from applying?  Take a break.  I would suggest not completely removing yourself from notifications about positions you are interested in, just in case something awesome presents itself while you are on an applying hiatus.  Or maybe you need to dive in and apply for several other positions.  Go for it.  It also may be comforting to think about the repertoire of skills you have to fall back on.  As I was job searching, I was comforted by the fact that I could go back to teaching preschool and I would be able to meet all of my financial expectations while still searching.  Not getting the offer is not the end of the book, just that chapter. Well, there you have it. For anyone who has job searched in the past, I bet you think I am going to end this article with “trust the process”. This seems to be the majority of folks goto saying and it can either be comforting or infuriating. Either way,

this season of your life is uncertain. You’ve just got to stick with it, because it is a process, trust it or not.

Ashley Lillie Resident Area Manager Saint Joseph’s University


Profile for MACUHO Magazine

MACUHO Magazine (Winter 2018)  

Read the Winter 2018 Edition of MACUHO Magazine. View photos from the 2017 Annual Conference and read articles on Allyship Alongside Asexua...

MACUHO Magazine (Winter 2018)  

Read the Winter 2018 Edition of MACUHO Magazine. View photos from the 2017 Annual Conference and read articles on Allyship Alongside Asexua...