Students’ home away from home: Residence Life in the summer

Jul 1, 2014

Quite often, Heidelberg staff members are asked, "What are you doing this summer?" In a series of web features during the month of July, we answer the question by profiling several offices who are busy during the summer months, preparing for the upcoming school year. In fact, for some, summer is the busiest time of the entire year.

Mark ZenoSummer priorities for the Office of Residence Life and Housing exceed the usual task of finding enough beds and assigning rooms and roommates for new and returning students. A chunk of time is spent planning residential programming for fall and training resident assistants, says Mark Zeno, assistant dean of students for Campus Life.

“There’s never a dull moment,” says Zeno, who is in his seventh year directing Res Life operations at the ‘Berg.

Although a significant amount of prep work occurs in the spring months while students are still on campus, activity picks up in June when the Res Life team begins making room assignments. “That takes the bulk of our time in the summer,” Zeno says.

Also occupying their attention is training the new resident assistants, who arrive on campus Aug. 1 to participate in “boot camp” training to get ready for the coming year. There are speakers to be scheduled and presentations and events to be planned for each of Heidelberg’s seven residence halls.

Zeno says that some programming will focus around Heidelberg’s enhanced Title IX Sexual Discrimination Policy. RCs and RAs also will partner with other organizations on campus to create interesting programming for students.

Outside of planning, the staff also manages the summer housing process. About 30 students who are either taking summer classes or are employed by the university require housing in the summer. Most of those are assigned to the Senior Apartments. The university also provides temporary housing for music graduate students, who are on campus for six weeks in the summer while taking classes.

France HallAdditionally, the Res Life team conducts its annual formal assessment of each of the residential facilities, spending time identifying high-need areas such as changing out carpeting or furniture or painting and other minor repairs.

“There’s a lot of focus on facilities in the summer,” Zeno says. “We work on that in between camps in close cooperation with Krammes Service Center. We definitely keep each other busy.”

By Aug. 1, the Res Life team will be in full swing. Four new residence coordinators will have arrived in late June to assist with planning and prep work.