New Campus Life department encompasses responsibilities of Residence Life and Student Activities

Sarah Carracher

News Editor

The 2013-14 Wooster school year begins with its fair share of departmental changes. This summer saw the combination of Residence Life and Student Activities into one larger collaborative office called Campus Life.

The two departments will operate as independent departments housed in one accessible office space, in a model “similar to APEX,” according to Associate Dean of Students Christie Kracker’s recent newsletter. Though each department will maintain its individual duties and responsibilities, they will work together more often than before.

The change is “primarily due to these two offices being direct reports to my role as Associate Dean of Students,” explained Dean Kracker. “These two areas began working closely together a year ago when Student Activities moved to me as a direct report, but this summer we have physically brought both teams together in one office space.”

Though both departments have kicked off the year with empty director positions, Kracker is optimistic about the new collaborative effort.

“The relationship between these areas will be fostered by being with each other and working together on common goals of community building and student engagement in campus life,” Kracker said. “The concept of Campus Life is similar to APEX in that there are separate offices working collectively together to provide services to students.”

Campus Life departments have become common in recent years at colleges similar to Wooster for reasons unique to small, residential campuses.

“It is a great way to provide services to students while aligning resources and packaging initiatives. On a residential campus the concept works very well.”

In addition to the combination of the departments, Residence Life has seen a huge staff overhaul with almost entirely new members, including the campus’s two area directors, who oversee most campus residence halls and houses. The staff has a renewed commitment to making its resources accessible to students.

“I think students will see an increase in access to Residence Life staff members and resources that both offices can bring to the campus center,” Kracker said, adding that students now have access to a Residence Life staff member on weekdays from 5 to 10 p.m. at the department’s new location in the ground floor of Lowry.

“The new Residence Life staff and the returning Student Activities staff have a shared commitment to student growth, leadership development, student engagement and student satisfaction,” she continued.

The collaboration comes after what seemed to be a particularly stressful summer for Residence Life, as the department tried to find housing for approximately 140 students who were put on a waitlist at the end of the 2012-2013 academic year.

As a solution to the housing shortage, the Rubbermaid Hall and the Culbertson-Slater House were converted into student housing. Safety & Protective Services has moved into the Luce basement until a more permanent home for the department can be found.