Over winter break, the Department of Student and Family Transitions and the Department of Residential Life merged to form a new department, Transitions and Community Living.
With Casey Justice spearheading the new department came new changes to campus. The Resident Assistant title has been shifted to Community Assistants.
According to Justice, “It just kind of made sense to change them to Community Directors and Community Assistants.” Justice said she wants this change to be the first step in a more community-driven living situation. According to Justice, “If you have the opportunity to build a strong community within each of the residential facilities that then lends itself to having students be excited about really wanting to make that facility their home.”
According to Holloway Community Assistant Dominic Lynch, the title change was a shocking but welcomed one. Lynch said, “When you meet people from Keene State, people mention the community. People mention all the time we are a community on campus, but sometimes in our residence halls that was a little difficult to achieve.” Lynch said he believes the new management will be able to assist the Community Assistants in establishing the community feel while maintaining the same standards of the past. Lynch said with Justice in charge, “We [Community Assistants] have been getting better resources and are getting training for what is expected for programs.”
However, not every community assistant feels the name change brought enough change with it. According to Carle Hall Community Assistant Anthony Harris, he feels this “is more of a PR thing than any substantial change.” According to Harris, there are other aspects of the Community Assistant’s job that felt more deserving of change than their title. According to Harris, “A lot of the problems I am interested in when it comes to CA stuff is stuff internally. There are some things in higher ed I find a little questionable and I would like to see change, but who knows.” According to Harris “It’s a good first step if things actually follow if nothing follows after this, I could care less quite honestly.” Following his statement Harris clarified, “I hope Casey Justice kills it. I am all here for Casey. My grievances are not with Casey just with the community living in general.”
According to Justice, she believes there are some aspects of policy for change. Justice said, “I do not necessarily like to make policy changes in the middle of an academic year… and I think there are policies that we would like to change.” However, according to Justice, there is nothing she would want to immediately change this year. Moving forward, Justice thinks the movement of their offices from 48 Butler Court to the third floor of the Student Center suite with Student Involvement will open the doors to more collaboration with the campus. Justice said, “I think it can be very easy to say ‘let’s stay in our own bubble of our resident hall’ when a program that a Community Assistant does with students could be bringing them to an event on campus.” Justice said bringing residents to events on campus will merge the two communities into one.
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