Residence Life employs more than 200 students to prepare for fall semester

More than 200 Central Michigan University students worked for Residence Life this summer to prepare campus for the return of students this fall. 

This summer, student employees painted, inspected rooms and repaired furniture. They also conducted large-scale projects such as flooring replacement, plumbing maintenance and the creation of appliances through wood shops.

"I always laugh when people ask if it's quiet on campus over the summer," said Kathleen Gardner, director of Residence Life. "This is actually our busiest time in terms of prepping the facilities. In addition to that, we're hiring new professional staff. We lay eyes on every part of operation over the summer to prioritize projects and whatever the need is." 

Larger projects students helped with include the repainting of all student suites in Celani Hall, the installation of new bed frames in Saxe Hall and the replacement of all shower drains in Kessler, Campbell and Kulhavi halls.

Student employees work under one of eight designated building maintenance workers around campus. Dave Jarosiewicz, who is a maintenance worker in the Towers, worked with 44 students over the summer — split up between 10 crews. 

"A lot of work goes into this, but thankfully I have a great crew," Jarosiewicz said.

Maine sophomore Kenneth Hall works under Jarosiewicz as the student manager of the Campbell Hall wood shop.

Hall and his team of eight have worked over the summer on one of Residence Life's largest summer projects: the creation and installation of more than 4,200 wooden railings to decrease the risk of students rolling out of bunk beds in their sleep.

After students leave campus at the end of the spring semester, Residence Life staff inspects empty rooms to determine what repairs need to be worked on during the summer season. 

"(The summer) is a short time frame, but we do as much as we can in that time frame," said John Kassuba, assistant director of Residence Life. "We have to work around the schedules of summer camps and conferences too, which can sometimes make it challenging." 

Of the 200 students that work over the summer, about 75 remain on staff for the fall semester.

Residence Hall Directors 

After students return to campus in the fall, Residence Life's focus turns to fulfilling what Gardner calls "student initiated work orders." Gardner said those work orders include any additional maintenance that students request while living in the dorms, such as lights not working or plumbing needing to be fixed.

Residence Life will also use the summer to fill any vacancies in residence hall director and resident assistant positions. In cases of vacancies, CMU puts out a call nationally requesting applicants through organizations that cater to student services.

There are 19 residence hall directors employed by Residence Life — 18 in on-campus residence halls and one for the Northwest, Kewadin and graduate housing apartment complexes. Of the current RHD staff, four are returning from last year.

Newly appointed residence hall directors began their training in mid-July, with returning directors training during the first week of August.