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Letter from the Executive Director


appy 2013 and new semester! It is my hope that the theme of the Housing Conference: Lucky 13 comes true for you. That is, I wish you the sentiments that Helen Keller, who I spotlighted at the conference, shared: “Optimism is the faith that leads to achievement. Nothing can be done without hope and confidence.” Much of our effort and activity in the spring semester is devoted to getting prepared for the next academic year including staff selection processes, returning and new student room assignments, budget development and beginning plant fund projects as examples. So while we focus day to day on our mission of providing safe, comfortable, affordable housing in communities where the personal growth and academic success of students is supported, we must also commit significant resources to sustaining our activities for another year. Based on the closing quote I shared at the conference (Luck is when preparation meets opportunity), I believe we are working to be “LUCKY” for our students and ourselves by preparing appropriately as the opportunities present themselves. Let’s be sure to welcome and involve our new students and staff into our residence hall communities. On top of having the same needs as people who joined us new in the fall, these folks face the difficult transition of joining an intact group in the middle of the year. This semester we will be launching a new initiative in sustainability. University Housing has made a commitment to become registered as a “sustainable office” via the UGA Office of Sustainability. The goal of this voluntary program is for University Housing to become more sustainable in its water and energy use, waste management, purchasing practices and transportation choices. Be on the lookout for information about how we will be implementing this initiative and how you can become more involved. Inspired by the comments of our keynote speaker, Craig Zablocki, I hope you can put some of his good reminders into action for this semester. Re-learning from the lessons of our childhood, let’s be “all in” and put our energy and focus into service to our students. Thank you for your good work and best wishes for a great semester. Best regards,

Room of the Year Contest Goes Viral SUBMITTED BY FELICIA HARRIS


ast year, our annual Room-of-the-Year contest received a social media makeover—the voting process moved to Facebook and traditional promoting efforts were supersized with Twitter and social network sharing. The outcome was one of the most popular contests we’ve seen in years. This year, we wanted to continue the same trend in promoting our biggest annual contest, but we also wanted to take it up a notch. To do this, we separated Room-of-the-Year into two separate contests—one for photos and one for video—and promoted our new Best Video Tour title separately, in addition to having separate entry dates. Because of this, we received the most valid entries in our video contest to date and ended up with three witty and creative finalists for the title—written and produced by our residents. Guitar serenading, flight attendants and a “Gangnam Style” dance break in our video entries joined burlap and bowties, Pinterest crafts, and Georgia gear in our photo entries to help our contest immediately continued on page 2

CONTENTS 1 Letter from the Executive Director, Room of the Year 2 New Hall Updates, Comings & Goings, Shout Out 3 News from SDSC 4 Family and Graduate Housing, Living the Experience 5 Mary Lyndon Renovation, News from Brumby and Russell 6 Glory Bound, Sustainability Committee 7 Living the Mission Nominees 8 Winter Break Bash




go viral online. By the end of day one, our contest had more than 500 votes cast in the forms of “likes” for finalists’ photos or videos. The comments next to our photo entries immediately took off with proud friends, residents, and doting mothers who made comments like: “I love it!!! Wish my son’s room looked like this!!” or “Every Mom who sees this is sighing ... if only MY kid’s room looked like that!”” Those same proud family members and friends took stake in the success of the contest by sharing our photos, videos, and voting album again and again. In fact, by the time 3100+ votes were collected, our album had been shared on Facebook almost 20 times. The photo entries were shared 163 times. So, what does it mean to go viral? Why do we care what happens on Facebook? Here’s why: During a typical week on Facebook our content (status updates, photos, etc.) reach anywhere from 1,000 to 1,500 people. During this year’s contest some of our photo entries were seen by more than 12,000 people and our Facebook page reached more than 26,000. Additionally, we gained about 400 more fans and followers. Those people represent an array of residents, non-resident students, prospective students, parents, grandparents and a myriad of other university stakeholders who are now tuned in to yet another medium for us to share our mission. And that’s what we call a success! Please visit our 2012 Room-of-the-Year Contest album on our Facebook page at: For more information on the department’s social media efforts, or to see how you can get involved, please email Felicia Harris ( or Carrie Campbell (ccampbel@

Video Tour of the Year winners Jessica and Caroline (Creswell Hall) have had more than 1,300 views on YouTube.

Brown Hall

Rutherford Hall


Demolition and renovation have begun on the Health Sciences Campus’ newest residence hall, Brown Hall. Beginning in fall 2013, approximately 200 upperclassmen will have the opportunity to live in suite-style rooms in the three-story building that once served the U.S. Navy Supply Corps School as a hotel. Meanwhile, the big crane is down and the roof is on Rutherford Hall. As the future host hall for the Franklin Residential College, Rutherford’s double-in-suite style rooms have generated a lot of interest from incoming first-year students and during room sign up.



SHOUT OUT! Thanks to the following staff members who helped in January’s room sign-up sessions: Korry Tauber, Giles Lemmens, Kaleigh Mazza, Nekeisha Randall, Demarcus Merritt, Ricky Boggs, Roxanna Gandia LaForet, Diana Fruth, Kim Ellis, Elise Fortson, Abi Aparajithan, Amber McCraw, Jessica Pense, CJ Campbell, Brad Burzumato Living the Mission is published quarterly for University Housing staff. Submission deadline for the next issue is April 9. Do you know a full-time staff member who is Living the Mission? Recognize their efforts! Email Carrie Campbell at and in a couple of sentences describe how they are living the mission. EDITOR: Carrie Campbell

News from SDSC




he office of Staff Development and Student Conduct had a very successful fall semester! The following highlights some of the activities reported by our staff:

hit in Colorado than in any other major league baseball field, the role altitude plays in climbing Mt. Everest and things as simple as why humidity impacts perspiration while playing any sport.

Academic Initiatives In August of last semester, five students in Reed Hall became part of a new language community, the American Sign Language Multicultural Experience (ASLME). They worked diligently to bring awareness and educational opportunities to the University of Georgia campus and the Athens community. In efforts to expand awareness the students hosted three very successful events. Students in the Reed Community were invited to watch Switched at Birth, a drama that captures the lives of individuals living with hearing impairments, which airs on ABC Family. After the show, the students engaged in an educational conversation about the challenges the characters faced. In November, the ASLME students reached out to the entire UGA community and invited them to view Deaf Jam. The documentary follows Aneta Brodski, a deaf teen who discovers American Sign Language (ASL) poetry and initiates her adventure into the poetry slam scene. Around 100 students attended the event and ASLME raised $500 to use for future programming efforts. At the end of the semester, ASLME extended an invitation for high school students from the Atlanta Area School for the Deaf to come visit campus for a day. The students took a campus tour, dined at the Village Summit, shopped in the bookstore and had a Q & A session with ASLME students and an ASL professor in Reed Hall. All of these events resulted in a very successful and productive semester for the ASLME community and they are looking forward to another great semester! Another development will be the addition of a new learning community in Creswell Hall for 2013-2014 academic year. In Climate and Sports students will explore how climate impacts human performance in sporting events. They will study why there are more home runs

Staff Development The full-time and graduate staff participated in the 13th Annual Housing Conference on Thursday, January 3 with

Randall (Re-establishing Community) and Megan Dailey and Joe Dennis (Creating an Inclusive Community). Housing’s Conduct Review Board (CRB) began its spring semester with a hearing and spring training on Sunday, January 13. Thirteen student board members are returning to support our communities’ in their efforts to uphold community standards and hold residents accountable for their actions. Keynote speaker Craig Zablocki’s presentation focused on removing the obstacles that prevent us from giving 100 percent to our jobs.

the theme “Lucky Number 13.” Highlights of the conference included the keynote presentation by guest speaker, Craig Zablocki, and breakout sessions on fitness, dealing with difficult people, stress reduction, diversity in the workplace, saving money through couponing, goal setting and the importance of sleep. Undergraduate Staff Training and Development The current CA and RA staff participated in a winter training conference on Friday, January 4 with the theme “The Recipe for Continued Success.” The highlight of the conference was a presentation by guest speaker, Craig Zablocki, on leadership and service. Dr. Kowalski and Dr. Scott offered the welcome and closing remarks with presentations throughout the day by John Trawick and Kyle Dailey (How and When to Document Incidents), Jessica Pense and Mark Whitesel (Using Judicial Action), Michael Fulford and Nekeisha


Our department received 539 applications for C.L.A.S.S. Advocate (CA) and Resident Assistant (RA) for the 20132014 academic year. We are now in the process of reviewing applications to make sure they meet our minimum requirements and are complete. Our professional and graduate staff will make recommendations for applicants they would like to interview. CA-RA interview day is scheduled for Saturday, February 9. Student Leadership UGA’s Residence Hall Association was awarded the national Program of the Year from the National Association of College and University Housing Residence Halls (NACURH). “Shock our Senses” was a program sponsored during DAWG (Diversity Awareness Week at Georgia) Days spring, 2012. We are very proud of our students, their hard work and congratulate them on this prestigious honor.

Growing the Mission at Family and Graduate Housing




amily and Graduate Housing has a great secret: our garden! Stretching behind the apartments on Rogers Road is the community garden available to all FGH residents. This is a year-round project that supports the mission of University Housing by providing a space for residents to grow their own crops. The garden is tilled and marked off into approximately 80 plots in March of each year. Residents are notified when the garden is ready each spring and the rush to claim plots begins! The FGH office hands out garden stakes on a first-come-first-served basis for residents to claim their desired gardening space. Each year every plot is claimed and we often have far more interest than space available. Our garden promotes the mission by providing students an affordable way to feed their families. The garden is also a great community builder as gardeners spend so much time planting, weeding and watering that they soon build a rapport with their “plot neighbors.” Residents build their knowledge of agriculture by consulting with one another and sharing their harvest. The garden is also a great stress reliever and family bonding activity. If you take a trip to the garden on any afternoon in the warm months you will see families working, laughing and bonding as they tend their crops. Many families are from other countries and they say that gardening helps them feel at home and some students grow items to use in traditional cooking from their culture. The garden has become a focal point of the community. Residents from University Village, Rogers Road and Brandon Oaks all

Living the Experience SUBMITTED BY GIacomo Cirrincione


t is a start of another great semester here at the University of Georgia, marking the end 2012 and ushering in 2013 with renewed energy and high spirits. As students pour in from their much needed and relaxing winter break and get to know their new class schedules, I cannot help but reminisce about how well my first semester being a part of the Bulldog family has been thus far. During fall semester I was given the opportunity to supervise Myers Hall RA’s, advise hall council as the newly hired residence hall director and to become part of the Bulldog Nation. I learned about UGA traditions such as football game day dress, the hedges at Sanford Stadium, being “committed to the G” and not walking un-

The garden at Family and Graduate Housing gives residents a chance to grow crops and community spirit.

participate in the growing season giving our residents a chance to meet regardless of how spread out they may be in the community. Even when not tending their crops, some residents like to take a lawn chair out to the garden and just sit and enjoy being outdoors. In addition to our ongoing series of programming, the garden provides a wealth of opportunities for residents to feel comfortable living with University Housing.

der the arch before graduation. I was especially astonished at how receptive students, staff and families are to making my stay here a positive one and regaling me stories of their many memories and/or experiences here at UGA. I appreciate the openness residents have had with me sharing these stories that have made their time not only here at UGA special but added value to their lives as a whole. As I reflect on these stories I find new meaning in the work I do for University Housing and a new way to approaching how I enrich the lives of the residents in the community. Many people ask me what my job is and I say, “Residence hall director,” but few understand exactly what that entails or even know that it requires a Master’s degree to qualify for the position. I can confidently say that the difference between a resident having experiences and living experiences is bridging the gap from high school to college and all the way up to graduation. Students spend a majority of their time outside the classroom,


where they test and experiment with the theories and knowledge they acquire in their classes. Students here at UGA are serious about their studies and the communities they foster here, which became apparent when RA programs had residents in the hundreds come out to participate. Students want to be heard and they show that interest when they attend programs in the Myers Community— such as Hijabs in America, the Presidential Debate Dialog Series and Taste of Nigeria— and shared their stories, asked questions and sought understanding about the differences that make the student body an enriching living and learning experience. The staff, residents and people here at UGA have truly made my experience here amazing and I hope as I go forward these experiences can become the memories that I too will share with others. Stories of how I better came to understand the deaf community here on campus, the running culture and the many intricacies that make up what being a Bulldog is all about.


News from Brumby and Russell Communities SUBMITTED BY JOHN TRAWICK

T Mary Lyndon Renovation Supports Housing’s Mission SUBMITTED BY matthew deason


he life of a facility will include many changes—some changes will improve the function and others will improve the look. However, the work on a facility must support the entire mission of University Housing. The renovation history of Mary Lyndon Hall is an excellent illustration. Mary Lyndon was renovated in 1972. The 1972 improvements focused on student comfort; most notably HVAC. Up to that date, the building was not cooled and heat was provided by steam radiators in each room. The renovation provided freshair passively to the building through two room-sized air handlers that served one-half of the building each. Both air-handler rooms were on outside walls and a simple vent was provided to the outside to introduce fresh-air. The bathroom air exhaust fans create a natural flow of fresh, make-up air through the two air handlers. This improvement met one part of the mission (comfortable), but became a burden on another (affordable). The 1972 improvements were not energy smart. The two air handlers that cooled and heated the building provided one temperature of air to all the spaces they served. This air was heated up in certain zones with steam when it was too cold for this space. Therefore, during cooling season, the system would use energy to cool the building air and then use energy to reheat it in spaces the air was too

cool. As energy costs have risen over the years, Mary Lyndon Hall became one of the most expensive buildings per bed to maintain because of the cost of utilities. To improve this outcome, the 2011 renovation enriched the student comfort without sacrificing operating expenses. The HVAC system was in very poor shape and replacement was required. Many systems were considered. The engineering firm worked diligently to provide solutions that would give University Housing the lowest cost of ownership over an expected 30 years of operation. This extensive analysis also ensured the operating impact on the student’s fee was minimized or reduced. This approach to renovation improved University Housing’s mission impact significantly. The total electrical and steam bill for 2010-11 (prior to renovation) was more than $100,000. The same total for 2011-12 was slightly more than $35,000. The post-renovation utilities were almost one-third the pre-renovation! This is almost a $500 improvement on the perstudent impact—mission accomplished. Similar approaches are underway for Rutherford and the renovation of Oglethorpe House. The expected improvements should aid in lowering the impact of rising educational costs. Improvements to facilities shall always be completely mission-oriented and good analysis will ensure success.


here were many successful programs and activities in the Brumby and Russell communities as the fall semester came to a close. These programs gave residents an opportunity to better themselves personally and academically. While there is not enough room to list all the great programs done by our staff and students, I would like to highlight a few. In Brumby community the educational auxiliary hosted the annual Pizza and Portfolios program. This program provides first year students help with their English portfolios. These portfolios can be a great source of stress for students. Staff from the UGA Writing Center volunteered to come out and share tips, offer advice and answer individual questions from students about their portfolios. The turnout for this program was standing-room-only with more than 80 participants, including students from other communities on campus. Also, the Brumby Community Council held study breaks during finals week to encourage residents to pace themselves, take a break and re-energize. The programs were held on three separate nights with pizza, doughnuts and chicken biscuits. In Russell community the Russell X auxiliary hosted the 20th Last Lecture program. In this program a professor is invited to give a lecture as if it were the last lecture they would ever give. This program has been held each fall and spring for ten years and is still well attended. This past semester the professor nominated by the students was Ashley Dunn. Ms. Dunn is a philosophy professor who shared her take on the meaning of life. She offered a personal take on the topic and shared many of her own experiences. The program allows students to see faculty in a different light and encourages self-reflection as they consider the message. The Last Lecture was attended by more than 50 students and included students from other communities as well. The Russell Community Council also finished out the year with three finals study break programs. They had midnight doughnuts, a sack lunch and a grab-and-go breakfast. As the spring semester begins, staff are already busy planning programs for residents. Programs in the works include healthy eating, stress management and dinner with a professor.


Reed Community Presents Glory Bound: A Voyage into the Underground Railroad SUBMITTED BY JANE LEE


lory Bound: A Voyage Into The Underground Railroad is a guided interactive re-creation of the Underground Railroad that allows participants to experience the voyage of fleeing slavery in search of freedom. Reed Community prides itself on how Glory Bound has touched the lives of many participants throughout the years and is now recognized not only as an educational experience, but a beacon of University Housing programming tradition. This annual program is hosted by the hall councils, staff members and residents from the four residence halls that represent the Reed Community. The goal of the program is to help the University of Georgia campus and

the greater Athens community understand what slaves endured to achieve freedom and to help us appreciate the liberties we enjoy today. Each year, the program requires many hours of creativity, dedication and preparation. Volunteers portray themselves as famous abolitionists serving as conductors and leading participants on the route to freedom. Participants learn the importance of safe houses, using star constellations and quilt patterns to find their way and to send signals. They also receive simulated “slavery food” snacks as they journey through the unknown. Discussions, music, monologues and other firsthand learning experiences unite everyone throughout

the evening festivities. Glory Bound is usually hosted in February to celebrate National Black History Month. This year’s Glory Bound will be held Wednesday, February 20 from 6 p.m.-8 p.m. in Reed Hall. Please be on the lookout for more information on this year’s big event! See you there!

FROM THE SUSTAINABILITY COMMITTEE.... University Housing is going green in 2013, y’all! The sustainability committee has been hard at work developing a plan to roll out the Sustainable University of Georgia (UGA) Office Program. As a core component of the department’s strategic direction to “promote and demonstrate effective stewardship of resources by students and staff,” the Sustainable UGA Office Program is designed to help UGA departments become more sustainable in their water and energy use, waste management, purchasing practices and transportation choices. If you visited the sustainability committee table at the housing conference, you saw the new recycling and ‘side-saddle’ receptacles that will be replacing traditional office trash cans. This is just one of the many ways that the department will be going green this semester. Although the program targets office spaces, participation from all staff is necessary and important to the success

of the program. Instilling department-wide knowledge about sustainable practices presents tremendous opportunity for positive impact. To more easily manage the initiative, the committee split the department into ten office zones (identified below). The committee is looking for a lieutenant in each zone. Lieutenants will be responsible for both rewarding and encouraging sustainable practices in each zone. If you occupy an office space in one of the zones below and are interested in volunteering to be a lieutenant, please contact Kristy Walker at Program kick-off meetings coming soon! Zone 1 Russell: including the Executive Director’s Office, Administrative Services and Communications, Residential Programs and Services, and Facilities


Zone 2 Creswell: including Security and Maintenance Zone 3 Health Science Campus Zone 4 Creswell: including Staff Development and Student Conduct, and the Creswell Community Zone 5 Reed Community Zone 6 Family & Graduate Housing: including F&GH Maintenance, Capital Projects, Work Control and the F&GH Office Zone 7 Russell and Brumby Communities Zone 8 East Campus Village Community Zone 9 Hill Community Zone 10 Myers Community


Living the Mission Nominees

Denise Stanchek Quiet and reserved in manner, Denise let’s her actions do the talking for the completion of our mission. She is one of the staff who handle incoming telephone calls from students, staff, faculty, parents and all other stakeholders. She greets all with a pleasant and professional manner and provides a positive first impression of University Housing. She directs incoming calls and visitors to the right place and does so with grace and friendliness. Behind the scenes, Denise supports a wide variety of administrative procedures and activities. She sees the entire department and work carefully and diligently to make sure that the little details do not get overlooked. She is a whiz at getting meetings scheduled and seems to be able to find those elusive time slots. She does a thorough and accurate job of keeping minutes for the directors group and management team meetings, which keep all staff informed of the latest and greatest in University Housing. Her behind-the-scenes support is steady and constant. Finally, she manages the phones and telecommunications equipment problems in the department. She has been ever patient as she successfully navigated a change in the telephone service provider and the ambiguities of the transition to a new company. Nominated by Gerry Kowalski

Family and Graduate Housing Desk Staff Pictured: Lolita Young, Rafael Tapia, Mahalia Ashraf and Curtis Rau This is by far one of the most dedicated staff teams I have seen. They all love coming to work and will often stop by the office between classes or in their free time to see if the desk needs anything. When a new staff member is hired, the team immediately pulls them into the fold. They have built a great rapport with staff and students and take the time to get to know people on a deeper level so they can better serve students. Here are few small examples that illustrate the level of commitment this staff has to FGH and to customer service: A new student arrived from Korea and came to the desk to ask for help setting up her MYID. The staff could have easily pointed her to another resource on campus but they were determined to work with this student. One of the DAs took out her personal computer, found the appropriate website and then converted her computer to Korean. She sat with the resident for nearly an hour setting up everything and walking her through the process. Many of the desk staff speak other languages and this came in quite handy when a couple from Portugal needed assistance in the office. The DA was able to communicate with them in Portuguese to provide the service they required. That couple still comes in the office on a regular basis to say hello and “catch up” with the staff. Aside from their service to residents they have also made it a point to anticipate what is needed in the office. They regularly check our supplies without being asked and keep an eye on what we might need or be running low on so that we always have the necessary resources to operate effectively. Nominated by Azura Morgan


Pilar Espejo When I think about the key components of the housing mission I instantly think of Maria “Pilar” Espejo. Pilar is one of the custodial staff members working in Hill Hall. Every morning she is the first person that I speak to while she is moving around the lobby completing multiple tasks. She always has a beautiful smile, pleasant demeanor and is always willing and ready to say, “Good morning” followed by a quick “Thank you.” She is often very quiet but her presence is one that even the student staff and residents alike are quick to point out. Even as I discussed writing this piece on her, two of my desk staff members collectively said “Oh, I love her,” followed by “she is so nice and sweet.” Pilar does her best to keep the residents happy and the appearance of the hall pristine. She is unafraid to go the extra mile to clean to the very top of every window down to the bottom of every chair. Even though English isn’t her first language, she does her absolute best to communicate and hold conversations with the residents, staff and myself. Pilar is an extremely hard worker and does her best to keep the residents comfortable in their living space. She never complains about anything and is always willing to help out with tasks around the community. Pilar embodies the mission in a way that makes me want to work harder to meet her standards. I would not be surprised if I saw her cleaning the arches to make sure that they polish as bright as the reputation that she has made for herself here in the Hill Community. Every day at work, I look forward to interacting with her and I know that no matter what my day looks like, it will begin with a sweet smile, warm heart and missionliving Pilar. nominated by Chloe Beck


Winter Break Bash 2012


Living the Mission Winter 2013  
Living the Mission Winter 2013  

A newsletter for staff ouf University Housing at the University of Georgia