Meet the Team: Community Directors

April 4, 2022
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*Pictured: All the Carolina Housing Community Directors

Community Directors (CDs) Annie Lundeen, Chase Coleman and Lindsay Knapp recently sat down with us to share their thoughts on what it's like to be a Community Director in Carolina Housing.

Meet Annie

What halls are covered in your community?

Olde Kenan Community (Kenan, McIver, Spencer, Alderman, Old East, and Old West)

How large is your staff?

23 -- including 11 Resident Advisors (RAs), 10 Office Assistants (OAs), one Community Manager and one Resident Advisor Mentor

Describe your job.

CDs have the opportunity to work with a team of undergraduate students to create exceptional on campus living experiences for our residents. I work in Olde Kenan community which is comprised of six buildings and over 450 students. My team serves over 400 upper division, transfer and international students through programming, mentoring, relational development, conduct, advising, and numerous other areas. We assist in an on call 24/7 rotation that provides support to RAs and residents whether it be a facility concern, parent question/concern, resident inquiries all the way up to alcohol poisoning and transports to mental health crisis response. Every day is different in this role some days it includes planning large scale programs to connect residents in our community, other days it admin and meeting filled and some days it simply walking through my buildings checking in on students or walking folks to CAPS, ODOS and other campus resources. The CD role requires a lot of collaboration with other Carolina Housing staff members as well as student affairs colleagues. So thankful for each person that has assisted myself and other CDs in serving on campus residents for the past three years while in this role.

What do you enjoy most about your work?

I really enjoy the connections we are able to make with students given the unique nature of our role. We have live-on roles meaning we live in the buildings with work in, this provides us a unique level of access to various areas of our resident’s lives by being able to assist them in connecting to other resources for academics, career, wellness etc. while also getting to know more about their personal lives, experiences and upbringings. The administrative side of the role is something that I also really enjoy as it is more of the behind the scenes work that ensures students are supported in ways they may not realize is happening or know they need, some may never even know they needed in that moment.

How did you become a community director?

I was a hospitality major in undergrad at the University of Nebraska—Lincoln, during the time I took on a lead role where mentors/supervisors took time to share what they saw in me and opened my understanding to what student affairs as a career is/was. I wanted to continue serving students and was accepted into the higher ed program at The University of Kansas (Rock Chalk!) and interviewed with Carolina Housing at a Student Affairs interview conference—TPE. I truly enjoyed the people I interacted with during interviews and the shared commitment to continue learning how to best serve our students and create exceptional experiences for them while also seeing people and placing value in who they are before what they produce.

What are some of the best things you think students gain from living on campus?

  • Ability to connect with other students (different identities, majors, hometowns, etc.) through organic processes/programs that challenges and develops each person in ways that not having the opportunity to live on floors of 40+ people can.
  • Built in connectors and people who are trained to know the resources or to find someone who can. While this exists for off campus students as well, there is not an RA or CD in house who has the ability to pick up the phone and get connected with any office on campus 24/7 in the same way we can while on call for example.
  • Proximity to campus and the community with free transportation that can get you to Franklin or a grocery store
Meet Chase

Meet Chase

What halls are covered in your community?

With my co-Community Director, we oversee Hinton James, a residence hall with just more than 1,000 students.

How large is your staff?

Hinton James alone has two Community Directors, 25 Resident Advisors, two Resident Advisor Mentors, one Community Manager, and eight Office Assistants. A lot of staff that help make the building operations run smoothly!

Describe your job.

I describe my job as a ‘Jack of All Trades.’ Student supervision, advising, crisis response, event planning, and support are some of the various roles that I may take on in a given day. This year, there has been a much heavier emphasis on mental health and navigating support for students and staff. This has been challenging, but has helped me develop my own skills to help navigate crises.

What do you enjoy most about your work?

The thing that I enjoy most about my work is that each day brings with it a new challenge. While this certainly is not easy, I am often challenged with unique and/or difficult scenarios that do not have a clear answer. Our CD On-Call rotation is a great example of this. One call may be about a smoke detector that has been triggered in a building. Another call may be about a student in the midst of a mental health concern that needs immediate support. With any call, I know that my work is making a positive impact and that having someone that can support students during irregular hours is critical to student success.

How did you become a community director?

I was a student at UNC (Class of ’17) and I was really struggling to find where I belonged on campus. I was eventually offered an alternate RA position the summer before my sophomore year and I finally found my fit. I had great mentors as a student and saw value in the role of a CD with residential support both during and after business hours. I ultimately became a CD because I thought college was one of the hardest times of my life. I wanted to make sure that other students moving to college had somebody in their corner that understood the difficulty that is going to college.

What are some of the best things you think students gain from living on campus?

The number one benefit I see students gaining from living on campus is a sense of community. When students are not in class, there is a very high chance that they are in the residence halls. Helping build relationships and plan events gives students the tools they need to build their support systems and communication skills so that they can be successful living on campus.

Meet Lindsay

What halls are covered in your community?

Craige Residence Hall and Carmichael Residence Hall

How large is your staff?

11 OAs, 17 RAs in Craig, and 10 RAs in Carmichael

Describe your job.

As a Community Director I oversee the Residence Halls I am assigned to. I supervise the RAs and other student staff members. I act as a mentor and advisor to each of my Communities Cogos (Community Governments) also. I do a lot of administration work, I am a member of multiple committees and I also hold 1-on-1 meetings weekly with all my RAs. I lead staff meetings and I also am a hearing officer for conduct cases. I serve on the on call rotation and my job is not a typical 9-5 M-F one. I have a lot of responsibilities and this job is ever evolving with the needs of campus. Every day is different and even when it gets stressful, it stays interesting and rewarding.

What do you enjoy most about your work?

Working with my staff and seeing them grow as leaders. I also enjoy all their creativity with programming and just hearing about their lives, future goals and overall plans and helping in any way I can.

How did you become a community director?

I was an RA when I was an undergraduate at SUNY Brockport and I loved it. I decided to go to Grad school and get my Master’s in Higher Education Administration with a focus on College student Personnel from Concordia University of Portland. Once I received my Master’s, I started applying all over and worked at a small business school back home in NY for a few years as a Community Director before being hired here at UNC!

What are some of the best things you think students gain from living on campus?

  • A sense of community and belonging.
  • The chance to make new friends, some of them that will be lifelong friends
  • The programs, events and free food!
  • Having an RA as a resource to them

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