The 2014-2015 year can be defined as a time of adjustment and adaptability for the Office of Student Housing. In the Fall 2014 semester, we were at 90.2% occupancy. In the Spring 2015 semester, we were at 83.6% occupancy. We had a total of 11 new staff members join our team; three were new graduate assistants and eight were full time staff members from administrative assistants to maintenance and custodial staff. The Office of Student Housing also had some bigger challenges. We lost Harry Murdock II, our live-on maintenance supervisor, very unexpectedly. We also had two hall directors unexpectedly leave the university mid-Fall semester. On a brighter note, we congratulated Associate Dean of Students, Debra Gentry, on her retirement from the department and the university after serving for 24 years. Assistant Director for Residence Life, Rikki Turner, was appointed Interim Executive Director for Student Housing following Debra Gentry’s retirement.
The Office of Student Housing shared some additional challenges during the 2014-2015 year with others on campus. Overall there was a decrease in the enrollment numbers at the university which translated to another year not meeting 100% occupancy on campus. This translated to the third year of budget constraints impeding upgrades and renovations to certain areas in housing. A challenge that has been an issue for Jeff Newton, Systems Specialists, has been the persistent wireless access issues for our students. Jeff has been working on this issue since he joined the housing family almost 5 years ago.
Through all the of the challenges our office faced this year, there were several success as well. We sent our first ever student group on an Alternative Spring Break trip focuses on serving others during Spring Break. We continued to improve our student satisfaction rate with Residence Life staff. And we made further partnerships with faculty and staff to bolster student success in our living learning communities. Those highlights and many others are outlined in the following sections.