Waynesburg University is home to 10 student dorms, five of which are underclassmen and the remaining being upperclassmen. Within those dorms, there are five Resident Directors overseeing activity and building connections with students. Lauren Bailey, Resident Director of South, East, West and Pollock, described her responsibilities as maintaining safety and comfort in the residences halls.
Each Resident Director has to have a secondary role as part of their job outside of their duties as Resident Director. Matt Pioch has three titles, in comparison to the others who have two titles. Pioch works as the Resident Director who oversees Thayer Hall as well as the Resident Director for on-campus housing and also works as the Director of Housing.
Lauren Bailey is the Resident Director of SWEP as well as a Campus Ministry Assistant.
“My main job is split up in two directions,” said Pioch. “From the director of housing perspective my main job is essentially managing all the housing assignments as well as making changes from year to year to accommodate numbers of students.”
As Resident Director, his main job is to maintain safety and health within the residence hall and on-campus houses as well as foster development and growth in a student body. Pioch puts in around 20 hours a week but, he says, that number all depends on the season.
“There are times in Sept. and Oct. which are the least busy time in housing. So, I would say those 20 hours I’m in the office, but it’s not the same workload as now. Housing selection can easily mean somewhere around 30 hours a week in the office,” said Pioch.
To manage all the responsibilities on his plate, Pioch uses flexibility whenever it is possible. To keep work and home separate, he tries to keep all of the paperwork and housing work in those 20 hours per week. After those hours Pioch tries to make his resident hall a priority.
“Whether its meeting with my RA’s or being a presence in the hall, or even being involved in activities and things on campus, participating in life with students. So, that’s kind of the more evening role I have, so that can be me being in Thayer from 8 p.m. to midnight.”
“I’m fortunate enough to have a wife that goes to bed early because so she commutes up to Pittsburgh for work, and she’s usually getting ready for bed by like 8 p.m., which means I have this evening all in front of me to go out and do things,” Pioch said. “With the RD side of things, while it is work, it’s also not work in the sense that you are spending time with people and building relationships.”
Pioch, with all responsibilities included in his job, spends around 60 hours a week working, sometimes more and sometimes less, but it all depends on that week’s events.
“[From] a director of housing standpoint do note we work really hard to provide the best opportunities for students and sometimes the things we change don’t necessarily look like we have students at heart but every decision I make when I’m in this office is trying to make things that both work for the university as well as provide better opportunities for the students on this campus.”
Tyler Webb, Resident Director of Martin Hall, unlike Pioch, does not have three jobs, or even an official secondary role. This position helps him have the free time to help Pioch where ever he needs it. Webb explained the role he has apart of housing,
“Hours depend on the week. As of late a lot of my office hours have been helping out in some way, getting data ready and collected with where students are at. So that when things come in we are ready to go and ready to know who can get what type of housing and see what students are requesting.”
Webb is preparing to start working towards a masters degree in counseling through the university alongside his wife beginning next semester.
“One of the things I wanted to do was wait a year to get a sense of what it looks like to be an RD in Waynesburg, this job is more relational, meaning a lot more of a resource rather than an office job. For me it is all about managing the time, so in the mornings and afternoons when I will try to get the work and office hours done,” Webb said.
With hope in mind of starting the Counseling program he had to get used to the hours and work it takes to be a Resident Director.
“My weeks are more front-heavy. Mondays [and] Wednesdays [are]office hours in the morning. Tuesdays are staff meetings in the mornings. Certain events can pop up, there is always something going on so hours always depend. It’s a nice blend we have some flexibility and structure. Just hanging out with the guys is a part of my job, its my way of developing the relationships with a big ping pong tournament in Martin, so we are trying to build community, offer fun activates for guys, it is not hard work but its still part of the job.”
Though he lives in the Martin dorm, he’s not alone. He’s joined by his wife Lyndsay Webb, and tries for their own sake to keep work and home separate though it is hard sometimes.
“Being married adds an element so I try to respect her and that I have a wife and a life too,” Webb said. “So sometimes we have to go off campus to disconnect sometimes. For me and my wife, living with 150 guys in Martin is quite the experience and she handles it like a champ, but we love to go out and eat and just get away a little bit.”
Webb adds that he tries to guide the guys of Martin in understanding how to handle a relationship.
“I try to help my guys understand that when you are in a relationship that’s important, so I try to tell my guys if you have a relationship make sure you put some effort into it.”
Giving advice to his residents is not a bullet point in his job description, but Webb says its all apart of building relationships with students and people. Though some days can be long from with a range of 7-13 hours depending on the day, he tries to be as helpful as possible and do his best everyday. This train of thought is not different from any other Resident Director.
Bailey works on relationships everyday with students consistently in her position. Though many students in Waynesburg do not always know what responsibilities the Resident Director position entails, it’s more than just maintaining the safety of the students.
“I have a lot of meetings with students, one on ones, staff meetings, students, Resident Assistants, we plan projects, projecting on campus with all residential halls together,” Bailey said. “Its all apart of the job, but the hours do build up,” Bailey explained.
Bailey is heavily involved with faith on campus, and works as an Assistant Director of Campus Ministries.
“I work alongside and under Rev. Tinnemeyer and Josh Sumpter and working with campus ministry within the community. We are leading students to grow in their understanding of who God is and in their relationship with Jesus Christ,” Bailey said. “That can look like a lot of different things, we do different events, we are involved in chapel, I attend a lot of events, discipleship or building relationships with students and more.”
Bailey says she is consistently busy meeting with people, building relationships and attending monthly meetings as well as events. Bailey says its difficult to pinpoint how many hours per week she does work, because of the amount of work she does out of the 40 written hours her job requires.
“There are parts of my job, as a Resident Director I live on campus I live where I work, so there are hours based on our job but there are hours were we are not required to work, like I’m not required to walk around the halls, and talk to students, attend events in the evenings. Its not required of my job its not apart of the 40 hours, but its building relationships with students,” Bailey said.
Bailey is not alone in this aspect of thinking, Diviney said the same thing when asked about the hours she puts in in a week.
“With the primary responsibility I put around 25-30 hours and then projecting comes up with the other 15 hours. When on call, Resident Directors are doing over 40 hours a week, and so we try to make sure we are at least doing 35-40 hours in a normal week.”
Diviney explained that each RD is on call for 3-4 weeks per semester and is on call for the entire campus.
“It is pretty crazy, I had one on call week where I ended up going to the hospital 5 times. When you are at the hospital it is mostly just waiting, so that week was a lot. I don’t know for sure the hour amount, but I put in my usual amounts, plus the extra.”
In general Diviney’s hours are Monday and Thursday afternoons in the Residence Life office, though she starts her days at 8 a.m. by reading the RA’s duty log from the night prior.
On Tuesday and Thursdays, Diviney does meet with her RA’s and others. Lastly, on Fridays, she works with Chris Hardie to brainstorm ideas for the semester. Diviney’s secondary role is no backseat to her Resident Director’s role though.
“With project management I created a different model for the Resident Assistants to utilize this year, and I added an educational component into the programing. The Resident Directors have authority to adjust the program. But I get all the programing propos
als, the RDs approve all of them, I just have record of when the program is going to be and all the evals.
Diviney said t she gets to keep track of all the data collected and see what pieces of a project went well and what didn’t.
Diviney is not from Waynesburg and does not have any family close. Originally from Detroit, breaking away from the Waynesburg life is hard sometimes because she can not go on weekend visits. Diviney relies on facetime calls, friends visiting and tries to take time for herself as much as possible. She hikes and tries to be outdoors whenever she can to help separate her home life from her work.
Her only request to students is that they come up and talk to the RD’s.
“I feel like sometimes residents feel like we are pretty unapproachable and they shouldn’t bother us, but they are more than welcome to bother us,” Diviney said. “I love it when I am walking around and people are telling me jokes, and opening up that line of communication. I just want them to know that they can come to us as well as their RA’s we are here too.”