The New Face of Housing

ResLife endures rapid staff changes

DyAnna Grondahl

It was a whirlwind summer for the Residential Life staff. After a number of employees left for new opportunities, two members of the department were left to keep everything together.

But things are looking up for ResLife, as they are now fully-staffed. Here’s a look at what is in store for students this year, and a view of the future of housing at the College of St. Scholastica.

Elliott Johnston, the interim director of ResLife, is currently running the show, as he has been in partnership all summer with Louanne Johnson, the ResLife operations specialist. The new hires include Brittany Heilmann in the apartments and Shae Nehiba in Somers. Heilmann, Johnston, and Nehiba are all in temporary positions, so the search is on for full-time staff members for next year.

The staffing issues began in April when Katie Wieliczkiewicz left her position as the coordinator for first year living in Somers Hall for a position in Washington. Then in May Mickey Fitch, the previous director, also left. ResLife was down three employees after another, Lexie Generous, left the department in June. Generous served as resident director, and remains the Safe Campus Intervention Coordinator on campus.

ResLife had a busy summer hosting tenants for many events including conferences, sports camps, long-term renters, students, and the influx of individuals brought to Duluth for Grandma’s Marathon. Johnson and Johnston solely managed ResLife over the summer, but added two new members to the staff to make sure the school year runs smoothly.

“The hardest part about working at ResLife this summer was that it was really unorganized,” said Shayna Schafter, a member of the summer housekeeping staff, “but it wasn’t so much that employees should blame Elliott. That disorganization was understandable because of the transition.”

Shae Nehiba, area coordinator for first-year living, began employment about a month ago, as did Brittany Heilmann, area coordinator for the apartments community. Nehiba was an RA as a student at CSS, and later worked as a hall director at Saint Mary’s University of Minnesota in Winona. She also worked in student activities at the University of Mary in Bismarck, North Dakota. Brittany was not an RA as a student, but during grad school she was a fellow for ResLife at Washington University in St. Louis. She came back to St. Scholastica because she missed it.

While the future of ResLife may be in the air, the department continues to work on figuring out where and how things are going to go next year, and see what happens.

“Those are the kinds of conversations we are having in the upcoming weeks,” said Heilmann. “What do we want the face of Res Life to look like?”