Monday, March 10, 2014

Mi Casa, Es Su Casa

This time next week, Mansfield will be on Spring Break. Students will be at home with family, friends and pets or vacationing in the sun. When we return, we’ll be entering the home stretch until summer. Most things will be hectic for another week or so and then begin to slow down, but only for students. For many offices, this is when the year starts to pick up.
            Bonnie Phelps, the Management Technician in the Housing and Residence Life office, is just about to enter one of the busiest times of year. Spring break means e-mailing all students living on campus about leaving the residence halls to go home
and then shortly after we all return, housing selection begins for next year. Plus, Bonnie is in contact with all of the new students about registering for housing and answering all of their questions about what it’ll be like when they arrive in August. Don’t forget she’s in charge of making sure unhappy students get room changes when possible. It can’t be easy to manage solving problems and troubleshooting housing selection.
            “I do wish sometimes students know that it’s not always easy to complete their room change,” said Bonnie, “Every change affects someone else down the line, so it’s more than just making the change on paper and giving you new keys.”
            Room change requests and student complaints about on-campus living have been low this year though as all students are now living in suite-style residence halls. Many have our own rooms and most importantly, we don’t share a bathroom with more than one person.
   “There have been a lot less complaints about bathrooms and rooming in general now that we’ve transitioned.” Said Bonnie, “But my favorite part about working for this office is getting to interact with students. When I started working on campus eight years ago, I was hired for an eight week temporary position in the Student Accounts office. I’ve worked in three other offices on campus in temporary positions before coming to Residence Life and Housing as a permanent position and I’ve been offered to move elsewhere on campus. In the end, I wouldn’t have had as much student interaction in other offices and I like that my job allows me to impact students
and to have them impact me.”
            Bonnie makes a huge impact on students whether they realize she does or not. She runs housing selection, puts in the formal room changes and every e-mail you receive from, is sent by Bonnie.  So every time you get instructions on how to close up before returning home for a break, or a gentle reminder of how your parents, grandparents and friends can send you treats and money, you’re hearing from Bonnie. And from an RA’s standpoint, she’s truly a life-saver. She answers all our questions, and deals with all of our concerns without ever showing she might be frustrated with us. Knowing how many questions all of us students ask her on a regular basis, that can’t be easy either.

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