For years, Albion students were accustomed to getting one email a day from Campus Programs and Organizations (CPO). This semester, rather than receiving their usual CPO emails, students’ inboxes are now filled with emails from the Office of Campus Life.
The introduction of the Office of Campus Life comes from the reorganization of The Office of Intercultural Affairs (ICA), Residential Life and CPO and is based on feedback from students and student organizations.
The integrative Office of Campus Life was created to be more engaged with students and to better address the inequalities and different access to resources and power that were created in the past.
“With our student demographics shifting, it has become clear that we need to create an environment that fosters community, belonging and mattering,” said Leroy Wright, the dean of students and vice president for student development, via email. “We are building a foundation that doesn’t allow inequities to manifest structurally.”
The needs of Albion students are always changing, and the Office of Campus Life plans to adapt its structure to remain prepared to meet the needs of all students. It plans to do this in three different ways, including facilitating individual and collective learning that can be refined and shared from a foundation of community, belonging and purpose.
The office consists of supporting staff members working toward supporting Albion’s diverse student body and organizations. The office wants to ensure that processes are humanized and do not create barriers for leadership development and student organization success.
Wright said he feels that the office reorganization will move Albion toward clearer and stronger accountability and professional expectations within the office. The reorganization is also designed to elevate the role of student paraprofessional leaders.
“As a small liberal arts college, we claim to educate and develop students outside of the classroom. The new organizational structure will offer the possibility to develop both graduate and undergraduate student leaders and create potential pipelines of leadership for the future,” said Wright. “We’re helping students to develop as individual leaders and helping them to develop in terms of the group(s) they belong to.”
The Office of Campus Life has a new mission statement, vision statement and tag line.
The Office of Campus Life provides learning opportunities for all students to belong, engage and lead in a supportive and inclusive environment.
The Office of Campus Life aspires to advance visionary leaders through the power of belonging and transformative experiences.
Tag Line: Belong. Engage. Learn. Lead
Although Residential Life is also now a part of the Office of Campus Life, serious conversations about including Residential Life in the transition have only happened recently for the spring semester.
Trista Geier, associate director for residential life, has only been at Albion for three years but has already seen changes in her department.
“I think there’s been a lot of shifting that’s already occurred with the department, and I think one of the goals from Leroy and Dr. Johnson is that we just keep shifting and we keep changing to make sure we’re meeting the needs of students,” said Geier.
In the last couple of years, Residential Life has changed its mission statement and, more recently, hired three new area coordinators.
“We had two area coordinators leave us at the end of fall, and then we hired three new ones, so it’s kind of refreshing and nice to have four area coordinators where students can have a little more focused attention from that level of position,” said Geier.
While there are currently no specific changes happening because of the consolidation, Geier believes that some of their processes are old and need to catch up with the changing Albion environment.
“We are looking to change things like the room selection process. I think students are used to room selection happening a certain way and we’re looking at really revamping that entire process for the coming years,” said Geier. “I think we are open to seeing how we as a department can freshen things up and get things to where they need to be for students. It puts all of our processes under the microscope.”
She also believes that in the past, student involvement happened from a distance. Because the Office of Campus Life is focused on a student centered approach, units like Residential Life want to involve students and receive student input on anything that impacts the entire student body. Ideally, focus groups will be used to collect information.
“With so many changes going on at the college, that do and do not impact Res Life, there really isn’t a great way to make sure every single student knows what we know. The one piece of advice that I would share is ask questions,” said Geier. “Come talk to us, chat us, give us a call, text us and let us know so we can help and figure out what the next appropriate step is.”
The Office of Campus Life is designed to find and create a better path to support students. Consolidating several units into one will help the staff members work together, instead of apart, to make changes more accessible for students.
“I appreciate the staff members of the Office of Campus Life for their leadership in helping us accomplish our efforts thus far, and I look forward to all the great work they will do with students,” said Wright.