If you are an on-campus student at Taylor University and have not yet met your hall director, be prepared to find yourself in the director’s apartment with the rest of your wing or floor with a snack in hand.
Hall directors at Taylor share a number of responsibilities. One of these responsibilities is facilitating residence life to create welcoming and encouraging spaces for students to thrive in their dorms.
Each year, wings and floors trek down (or up) to their hall director’s apartment. Hall directors around campus invite their residents into their homes to introduce themselves to new students or catch up with returning students.
Of course, any good tradition is not complete without food.
Some of these traditions include “Pancakes with Gerding,” hosted by Wengatz Hall Director Jacob Gerding, dessert nights hosted by English Hall Director MacKenzie Bedor and “Berg and Brownies,” hosted by Bergwall Hall Director Matthew Beck.
These gatherings have been instilled in hall directors past and present. English Hall’s current hall director has been on both sides of these traditions as student and director.
“I remember going to my Hall Director's apartment in Olson Hall when I was a student!” Bedor said.
At the suggestion of Associate Vice President for Student Development and Director of Residence Life Julia Hurlow, Bedor began to host dessert nights with her residents at English Hall.
Gerding has also used his predecessor as inspiration for meeting with students.
“The idea for doing pancakes in my apartment actually didn’t begin with me,” Gerding said. “The Wengatz hall director who was here while I was the Graduate Assistant between 2018-2020 always did pancakes with each wing in Wengatz and it was something I enjoyed participating in and wanted to continue when I returned to Taylor to work as the Wengatz Hall Director.”
Gathering over a shared space and snacks creates opportunities for students to grow closer with their residence hall directors in a casual way.
This tradition also allows new students to feel more comfortable and familiar with their hall director as well as their wing or floor.
“It’s good to connect with him. It’s really good for the freshmen because it allows a connection to be made between Gerding and those guys,” senior Johnny Miller said.
Meeting early in the year to establish a communal connection with dorm leadership allows an opportunity for all students to feel more comfortable in their halls.
These occasions also create other opportunities of engagement between students and hall directors. Even with busy schedules, hall directors create additional ways to connect with their hall residents.
“I’ve begun a tradition where I have each guy who comes to pancake night sign a Taylor sweatshirt and by the end of all eight pancake nights, I have a sweatshirt full of names representing the guys who live in Wengatz.”
During the school year, Gerding will represent Wengatz by wearing his signed sweatshirt on Fridays and some sporting events.
In addition to sharing sweet treats and homey gatherings, hall directors make efforts to engage with students in many different areas of dorm life.
The job of a hall director varies, from prioritizing safety, facilitating events and working with residence life. When it comes to students, Taylor’s hall directors strive to connect and grow with their residents, oftentimes with snacks.
“I truly consider it a privilege to come alongside the students in the good and the hard times,” Bedor said.