What would you ask every Housing Director in the state?

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October 25, 2012 by pmilleredu

This past Friday I was at the Kansas Housing Officers Meeting hosted by Pittsburg State University. I had never been to this meeting before so I did not know what to expect, I just knew that we would all be talking about rates and would tour Pittsburg State (they have a gorgeous campus by the way).

It was great to see people I used to work with and be a part of a conversation from each state school in Kansas. I loved seeing people from Housing come together and give updates on current projects, proposed rates for next year and to talk about issues they are working through on their campus.

To my pleasant surprise, most of the agenda was spent on discussion points that any school could add to the agenda that we would all provide our input, thoughts, suggestions and perspectives on. Those questions ranged from how campuses are handling the increased use of bandwidth of Netflix to Domestic Partner Policies.

During one discussion point someone made a comment to the effect of “At some point we need to all just hold hands and jump in”. They were talking about making major changes on our campuses and having all of us band together and jump in to make that change. Productive change doesn’t just happen by accident it is an intentional process that can be difficult or carry fear from others along with it. They saw this group as potential allies for making change happen in the face of that fear for the good of our students. The idea of different housing departments at institutions that compete for students coming together to talk change and collaborate was great.

However, since I was not entirely sure what this meeting would look like, I hadn’t prepared any questions. So my questions to you all are:

  •  If given the chance to ask just one question to all the Housing Directors in your state, what would you ask them?
  • What would you like to see your peer institutions come together to change/challenge?

Narrowing it down to one question would be difficult but I would ask: What are our actual expectations of students? If we expect them to learn and be challenged towards growth by living in the halls what, specifically, are we doing to make that happen? In other words, where are people at in terms of Learning Outcomes or residential curriculums? I know that’s technically 3 questions built into one, but it is my blog so I am cheating a bit.

As far as my change/challenge piece we started to address it, but left it a bit unanswered. I would like to see us all push more for co-ed housing and move toward gender-neutral housing and bathrooms.

The annual KHO meeting is a great opportunity to get find out where your peers are and to work towards innovation, change and collaboration. The issue is that it is only an ANNUAL meeting. The good news is that we can ask these questions at any point; we just don’t always think about it. The biggest take-away from this meeting for me is that we should collaborate more and set up regular conference calls, Google+ hangouts, Spreecast discussions, or even go old-school with a mass email. If each of us comes up with one question and then reaches out to our peer institutions we will be that much closer to “holding hands and jumping in” because when we work together and have support we can do more. When we want change, we need allies and what better allies than our peer institutions?

You can bet I will be asking my question and finding allies for my change initiative before next year’s meeting where I will be arriving with a new list of questions.

If you have a question or change/challenge that you would like to see, please feel free to share it and post!

As always, thanks for reading and keep on learning!



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