Mya Sedwick, Campus Carrier staff writer
After five years, area coordinator Stephen Wyatt is finally leaving his legacy at Dana behind. Beginning as a resident in 2005 and eventually becoming a resident assistant during his time as a student, it is safe to say current area coordinator Stephen Wyatt has a history with Dana Hall. When he took the job back in fall of 2014 he said it was pure luck that he was assigned to oversee his old residence hall.
With his departure, Wyatt said he wishes that his replacement realizes the uniqueness of the position, in not only the overseeing of Dana, but Thomas Berry and Mountain Campus as well.
“How lucky they are – I mean obviously I’m a little biased to Dana, I’ve been loyal to it forever – to get to work with a group of students that’s trademark is energy and passion for the job,” Wyatt said.
In his work with student staff, Wyatt said that their passion makes his job easier. The students have the heart for the job and the area coordinator position is meant to help student workers develop and harness that energy in order to fulfill their potential.
He said he hopes that, in his absence, the RAs continue to create and implement innovative programs for their residents. One of the biggest parts of an RA’s job is to build meaningful relationships with the residents on their hall, and Wyatt said that is something the RAs employed all across campus do well. This is an aspect of the job which benefits these students post graduation where they will also have to work to build meaningful relationships regardless of where they end up.
According to Wyatt, the pursuit of new opportunities is never-ending with higher education. Though he was not actively searching for a new position, an opportunity crossed Wyatt’s path that would allow him to advance in his career while also moving his growing family closer to home. However, with this new position Wyatt will not participate in as much program planning as he has done in the past which he says is one of his favorite aspects of his current job.
“I’ll definitely miss Late Nights. I think students really love them, but really I love setting up for them and watching it come together,” Wyatt said.
While part of their job description might be to put together enjoyable programs like Late Nights for the residents, area coordinators have a much larger responsibility, serving on-call 365 days a year.
“Should there be a campus wide emergency like the death of a student or a power outage or like a tornado, those are the people who are ready to kind of pounce and support people,” Assistant Dean of Students for Residence Life, Lindsay Norman said.
Currently, there is no definite plan for what the future has in store for Mountain Campus, Thomas Berry, and Dana residents in terms of their area coordinator. Norman and Lindsey Taylor, Dean of Students, have been in conversation about what would be best suited for the students and the program as a whole. In fact, it has not yet been decided that an additional Area Coordinator will be hired at all. Norman and Taylor are taking the time to determine if a different position could be created which would better serve the needs of the students.
Regardless of the decision that is made, any addition to the staff would benefit from having experience working with college students as well as an understanding of the role a residential college plays in the development of its students. When colleges require students to live on campus there is a different dynamic between students and residence life staff members.
“There is just a different level of support and development that we have a task of providing to students,” Norman said.
While a decision will likely be made before students leave for holiday break, it will not be announced until after they return for spring semester. Although a level of uncertainty follows his absence, there is one thing Wyatt’s colleagues know for sure, he will be missed.
“I know he’ll be missed a lot because he is super supportive and he is always there for the staff,” sophomore, McKenzie Darnell, Dana RA, said.