The university recently welcomed a new associate director and two new area directors to the Office of Residential and Commuter Life (Res Life), located in Harry C. Moores Student Union.
Associate director Brendan Downing and area directors Rose Troyer and Mandy Lautzenheiser are additions to the Res Life staff, and they talked about how they got involved with Res Life at Capital and why their office is a helpful resource for students.
Brendan Downing, associate director, had previously worked at a public institution and said that he had been looking for a small school in an urban environment, and he wanted to try working for a private school to gain experience with different types of campus environments.
Troyer said she was also seeking a smaller university. She was working at Denison University at the time, which had been her first time working at a small, private, liberal arts institution.
“I very much enjoyed the kind of interconnectedness that you got to have with staff and students,” Troyer said.
Lautzenheiser had been working at an institution in Texas in a similar area director position, but she was looking to move back to Ohio. She said the Texas school was a state school, and it was very research-oriented.
“I was … trying to find, like, a great position where it was very student-focused, very much like high student interaction,” Lautzenheiser said. “And so when I came here and interviewed for the position, I got that feel very quickly.”
How did you get involved with Res Life?
As a first-year at Ohio University, Downing disliked his living situation and decided to become a resident assistant (RA). He later worked at Ohio University as a resident director for four years, until he decided to move up to the next level of his career as an associate director.
Though Troyer was never an RA, she worked with community ambassadors at Ohio University. “The community ambassadors were somewhat similar . . . to an off-campus version of, like, a housing representative,” Troyer said.
Similarly, Lautzenheiser never got to be an RA, but she wanted to have that experience as a staff member. She worked in a similar role as an area director in Texas and wanted to continue in that role.
She said the big draw for her was the amount of student input and the impact she could have on students.
What do you do in Res Life?
As the associate director, Downing supervises the area directors and office assistants and also works on bigger projects for the department, such as the management of keys across the housing system and the hearing of conduct cases.
Troyer is the area director for both Schaff Hall and Cotterman Hall — a first-year and an upperclassmen residence hall, respectively. She works with the RAs to build community, create programs, and address residents’ needs — such as giving out keys.
Similarly, Lautzenheiser works in the same capacity as Troyer, but she is the area director for Lohman — a first-year residence hall — and Saylor-Ackermann, a combined upperclassmen and first-year residence hall.
How would it benefit students to be in contact with Res Life?
Downing said that he and others at the Res Life office want to be there for students as a line of communication, so students can proactively raise any concerns they have and talk through issues to find solutions. In this way, Res Life seeks to benefit students by becoming their advocates, hearing and addressing any issues immediately.
“[W]e have empowered and enabled [students] to resolve issues, to respond to incidents, to really help make their residential experience an educational one, a happy one,” Downing said. “We always welcome students into our office.”