When student leadership decisions were made last year at the start of the COVID-19 pandemic, little did they realize what they signed up for.
Though the return to campus in August after a long spring and summer at home was met by students with mixed reactions, student leaders came back to campus a few weeks before the rest of the student body for training under abnormal circumstances.
Their meetings were frequently held outside – all while maintaining the proper social distancing and mask wearing guidelines. As students arrived and the semester began, it did not take long for the Personnel Assistants (PAs) and Discipleship Assistants (DAs) to realize this would be a year different than most others.
Nick Dennig, the assistant hall director of Samuel Morris Hall, empathized with the students as he knew expectations weighed heavily on those dedicated to doing their job well while keeping their sanity as college students and friends.
“When PAs and DAs applied to be student leaders last spring it was uncertain all that would take place regarding restrictions for retreats, events and residential living,” Interim Director of Residence Life Julia Hurlow said. “These challenges were quite difficult, yet time and time again our student leaders offered imaginative ideas for events on their floors/wings.”
Hurlow also oversaw the thorough hiring process. Once students determined their desire to apply, they applied on Taylor’s portal and selected their area of interest. From there, PA applicants were asked to prepare for their collage interview. Each collage consisted of 8-12 students who brought items of importance that represented their personal stories.
DA applicants are not asked to go through the collage process. However, Dennig said he and his supervisor Tyler Witzig, hall director of Samuel Morris Hall, encourage the men in their hall to apply for both PA and DA positions, because they see the collage time as a beneficial experience. After collages, individual interviews were held.
Positions for the 2021-2022 school year were announced March 12 and 17.
As of next year, Tyler Witzig will be stepping down from his role as Samuel Morris Hall Director. This was his seventh year serving the men of Samuel Morris.
“We are very thankful for Tyler’s seven years of leadership in Samuel Morris and look forward to welcoming a new hall director this fall,” Hurlow said. “The student leaders of Morris Hall have been so helpful in this transition process.”
Affirming her team’s work, Hurlow continued to say, “The creativity of students and the staff that I work with continues to bring much joy to this meaningful work in Residence Life.”