Office of Student Affairs moves to Hodson

By Heather Fabritze

Student Life Editor

At the end of December, the Office of Student Affairs temporarily moved their operations to the Student Engagement suite on the first floor of Hodson Hall.

Washington College students could previously find Student Affairs in the Casey Academic Center. Their office was on the second floor and was open to students throughout the day.

With the CAC undergoing renovations this semester, both Student Affairs and the Office of Admissions were required to move operations elsewhere on campus.

The main body of Admissions is currently working out of Barbara and George Cromwell Hall, while the Office of Student Affairs is sharing a space with the Office of Student Engagement.

According to Vice President of Student Affairs and Dean of Students Sarah Feyerherm, the staff were searching for a location that would be “accessible” to students, conscious of ADA, and centralized. The Student Engagement suite was decided to be the best option, as it had the space and capabilities for the four main offices of Student Affairs.

Being able to remain in a shared location was a priority for their staff.

Increased interactions with students was also an extra benefit of operating out of Hodson.

“It’s also centralized in terms of flow,” Feyerherm said. “No one’s going to happen upon our office in the CAC unless they were really lost. And so this has, I think, in that sense, helped us with not only the planned and scheduled events, but sort of the unscheduled interactions – running into people have escalated in a really good way.”

Assistant Dean for Student Engagement and Success Tricia Biles currently shares an office with WC’s Wellness Advocacy Coaches, and she said that she looks forward to interacting with them and other Student Engagement workers. 

Not only does their new location increase these staff and student interactions, it allows for close quarters with Student Engagement.

According to Biles, the Student Affairs and Engagement offices were already “very collaborative” prior to the move – now, they have even more opportunity to work together for the benefit of the student body.

“I think that there’s an energy and a buzz in this space now because there are more people, there’s more things happening,” Biles said. “And I think that’s a positive thing for the idea of Student Engagement and Student Affairs.”

All of the resources that were previously available in the Student Engagement Office continue to be accessible to students this semester. The office of Director of Student Engagement Antoine Jordan ‘12 was also moved to the Student Events Board meeting room.

Renovations to the CAC will likely not finish until the end of the semester. In the meantime, Student Affairs is evaluating whether the move will remain temporary or become permanent.

Feyerherm said that the increased familiarity students have with Hodson is hopefully improving their perception of Student Affairs.

“For students who have been around the space, this feels like a less threatening space because they’ve come in here for activities and events, or making a poster…it doesn’t feel as horrible as it did,” Feyerherm said. “Like, that whole assumption that you’re only going to the Student Affairs office because you were in trouble. Students are [in Hodson] for a billion different reasons. So it kind of takes away that stigma that may have been attached to the CAC space.”

If the change in locations continues to improve the reputation of Student Affairs’ operations, then there is a chance that the office may remain near or central to Hodson.

Photo by Miranda Parrish

Photo Caption: Student Affairs transformed the Student Engagement suite to accommodate both offices.

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