Thursday, October 20, 2016

Faculty in Residence is a humbling experience

By academic educator standards, I live a rather odd existence.

Instead of exiting from campus at the end of the workday, I walk deeper into the student community.

I am a Faculty in Residence at Appalachian State University. I have been living in and among students for seven years. My home is a small apartment, embedded within a residence hall on campus.

As FIR, I have a responsibility to integrate with student activities and guide students to explore learning outcomes that are part of our residential housing curriculum. We strive to assist in how students process daily challenges, work among diverse communities, and craft their futures.

It is an awesome process to be part of. To in some way offer perspective that adds value to the journey.

For example, consider last evening's event. I promoted a service project where students crafted birthday cards for Hospitality House, our city's transition organization for the homeless. Over 15 students attended, to put their thoughts and best intentions into the cards. Through our efforts, residents at Hospitality House will have a special moment on their special day.

Next week, I will be working with our Active Living residence life community on another service project. I am a co-founder of Active Living, which has become the university's #1 demand RLC. I am proud to be associated with this group. We explore the mental, physical and emotional aspects of the active lifestyle.

Our service event will require a servant's heart. We will be cleaning a smoking area, picking up butts and grooming the surrounding landscape. When there is a need to serve, these students step forward.

FIR offers insights each day. My paradigms can be adapted. Seeing our society through the lens of emerging young leaders is not always comfortable, but necessary. On quite a few occasions, the students teach the teacher.

My role continues to grow and morph. We are never standing still in serving the student body through university housing. My identity as FIR is cherished and I am grateful for these opportunities.

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