Feature: University Housing Employees

By Domi Watkins

 

Students at the U of I have the luxury of living in one of the six residence halls on campus (Ikenberry Commons, Pennsylvania Avenue Residence, Florida Avenue Residence, Lincoln Avenue Residence, Illinois Street Residence and Busey-Evans) or private certified housing. University Housing offers students endless opportunities to work with them. Below are interviews with two University Housing employees about their experiences.

 

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Name: Grace Park

Year: Sophomore

Major: English with Secondary Education Minor

Desk Clerk since August 2016

 

Q: Why did you decide to apply as a desk clerk for University Housing?

A: “Well, I needed a job. That was my primary motivator, but I applied specifically to the front desk because it seemed like a lot of fun with TONS of person-to-person interaction– I also had two friends, Domi and Valeria, who were (and still are) desk clerks.”

 

Q: What is the atmosphere like behind the desk?

A: “I’d say it’s very relaxed. There might be clerical duties we have to perform, but at the same time, we’re still able to do our homework/eat/joke around with one another. It’s also nice when residents and other housing staff chat us up, so I’d say that there’s quite a bit of energy. We also have a pet fish, and he’s adorable! He adds a lot of color to the desk, literally and figuratively.”

 

Q: What are some challenges that you face?

A: “I think the most challenging thing is time management. Working at the desk means that you’ll have shifts that might be at hours like 1-4 AM or 4-7 AM. Knowing when to plan around your shift is crucial, but that can be difficult to do when you’re additionally attempting to study for exams or write papers, or you have events you want to attend with friends.”

 

Q: What about the job makes it a rewarding experience?

A: “I think it’s very satisfying to know that you were able to help residents out, small things like directing them to the computer lab to print, or recommending board games to check out and play. Like I had mentioned before, the amount of human interaction we get as desk clerks is definitely what makes the job so lively and rewarding.”

 

Q:  What is your funniest memory of working as a desk clerk, whether it was between desk clerks or the residents?

 

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A: “Speaking of fish… the current fish we have at the desk, Acif, is actually our second. Our first fish, Fica, was tragically killed when one of our desk clerks *cough cough, Domi* was cleaning his fishbowl and filled it with too cold water. We cracked jokes and made memes about Domi for quite some time, because even though it was sad, it was also pretty hilarious that Domi, in an attempt to help, accidentally killed Fica. Domi is MUCH more careful with Acif now!”

 

 

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Name: Jessie Louis

Year: Sophomore

Major: Accounting

Residential Advisor since August 2016

 

Q: Why did you decide to apply as a Residential Advisor?

A: “I decided to apply as a Residential Adviser because one of the RA’s that lived in my building pushed me to look into applying. I was interested in not only learning more about social identity, but interacting with and serving people who all have different backgrounds than myself.”

 

Q: What is the atmosphere like at Lincoln Avenue Residence?

A: “I love the atmosphere at Lincoln Avenue Residence Hall! It is mostly quiet, but there are groups of residents always studying and hanging out. I prefer LAR over Ikenberry residence halls because of the dining halls we have. You can practically live your day without having to go outside to get to the Ike to eat. Our dining halls are also a lot less crowded than the Ike.”

 

Q: What are some challenges that you face?

A: “Some challenges I face are residents choosing to use alcohol and drugs in their rooms. It is important to establish the Student Code so that you run into less problems than if you did not choose to do this. I also face the challenge of not seeing all of my residents consistently because of them or myself getting busy (studying and eating at other halls, going to the gym, hanging out with friends that live in other places).”

 

Q: What about the job makes it a rewarding experience?

A: “It’s the little things about the job that makes it a valuable experience. I have enjoyed getting to know not only the residents on my floor, but residents in the whole building. For example, I had a long day on Wednesday and I run into a large group of my residents and we all decided to order Chopstix together. We listened to music and finished up some last minute homework all while satisfying our appetites! I have gotten to know a lot of residents on other floors by hanging out at the front desk and creating the BalLARs GroupMe, a group chat where people can say when they want to go play basketball.”

 

Q: What is your funniest memory of working as an RA, whether it was between desk clerks, fellow RAs or the residents?

A: “My funniest memory of working as an RA was when Sai (An RA for Leonard Third Floor who is a sophomore) asked Brittaney (RA for Shelden First Floor who is a senior) how old she was – outrageous, right? My staff has become very close and we have a ton of inside jokes, and those are pretty funny.”

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*Image Sources:

All photographs courtesy of Domi Watkins

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