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Residence Life director candidate outlines vision

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Logan Cook
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Residence Life is in the process of interviewing the final two candidates for the permanent Executive Director of Residence Life after the previous director left last semester.  The candidates were chosen by a large committee of university faculty and staff.

“We did first-round Skype interviews with the top-tier candidates, and these two just impressed the committee,” said Amanda Kraus, co-chair for the search.

“[The search committee was impressed with] the way they spoke about student development, diversity and generally seemed like they would be the best fit for the position based on the needs of our department,” she said.

Interim Executive Director of Residence Life and University Housing Nicholas Sweeton was the first of the two to give a presentation at an open forum in the Student Union Memorial Center’s Kiva Room on Thursday, Jan. 12.

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The forum was a presentation by the candidate, followed by a Q&A session from those who attended.

Sweeton, who has 21 year years of experience, presented his main goal involving emergency management and student safety. 

“I wanted to present on something I had a mastery of and that I have passion for,” Sweeton said. 

He discussed the psychology of emergencies, organizations of an emergency response and how to implement his emergency strategies. 

“I would like to shore up the training of our staff for emergencies,” Sweeton said.

During work at other institutions, Sweeton organized multi-vacancy emergency simulations that contained actors who were injured and needed help getting out of the building. He said local fire department, police and others responded and the goals set were put into practice.

“I think that is the next stage for emergency management … doing that and doing actual simulations, so that people can practice these in a somewhat close to real world setting before the real world thing actually happens,” Sweeton said.

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Besides emergency initiatives, Sweeton hopes to hire staff that are “committed to helping us with that portion [social justice] of our mission and vision,” of how to make things more affordable for those in different economic classes to be able to live in residence halls and to create a new building that is “an entrepreneurial, innovative hub for our students to work in and live in.”

“Like he said, the biggest priority is making sure students are safe,” ASA Coordinator Karla Cruze-Silva said. “It is our job as a staff member to really make sure they are safe. Students think it’s a little bit funny or silly what we do, but it’s important.”

Cruze-Silva said that Sweeton’s emergency protocol is important and his presentation was well-planned.

“It is sincerely a huge honor to be a finalist for a position of this level at an institute of this caliber,” Sweeton said. 

“So thank you, thank you all very much.”

The second candidate, Edwin Hamada, will give his presentation on Jan. 23 in the Student Union Memorial Center Kiva room at 11:15 a.m.


Follow Kylie Warren on Twitter.

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