by Kelly Rogge
Student housing at Kansas City Kansas Community College is changing this semester as the department looks at more innovative practices as it moves forward.
“Since the time we signed the lease with Royal Ridge, David Root has done a fantastic job of enhancing all aspects of the three buildings we currently use for student housing,” said Jonathan Long, dean of student services at KCKCC. “But as Dr. (Doris) Givens has stressed many times, innovation is a vital part of what we do at KCKCC. So picking up where David left off, we are simply continuing to innovate.”
Campus housing at KCKCC can hold about 175 students, 75 percent of which are athletes. It also houses students from other campus programs such as debate.
“We see this as a tremendous benefit for both the Athletic Department and student housing,” Long said. “The coaches, working in tandem with the student housing supervisor and resident assistants, have a tremendous opportunity to provide the residents with both academic and interpersonal support.”
One of the most noticeable changes for students, especially those who have lived in the buildings before, is a more structured environment. Long said this structure will stress community development as well as academic success and concepts such as respect, civility and lending help to a neighbor.
“More than anything else, campus housing provides a student with the opportunity to live in an environment that focuses on mutual respect within a communal living environment,” he said. “Let’s face it, most students entering college today have never had to share a room with anyone, never had to share the responsibility for keeping the common areas clean, or even cook for themselves. These are all life skills that will hopefully make them more capable to being successful in their chosen profession.”
The restructuring of student housing includes a new supervisor of housing, Lisa Griffin. Griffin has an extensive background in student services as well as residence life. In addition, there are six new resident assistants who will live on site, along with Griffin, and help students with any issues or situations that arise. Staff members were required to go through extensive training on community building, conflict resolution, activity planning, utilizing campus resources and how to effectively respond to conduct matters. Training even included responding to maintenance issues such as a leaky pipe.
“Being an RA is a wonderful experience, but can be very challenging,” Long said. “It requires that a student have strong leadership skills, an ability to relate to students from diverse backgrounds, be energetic, and also willing to deal with crisis situations and discipline.”
Long said if it fits into the strategic plan of the college, he would like to see KCKCC consider building a student housing complex on campus in the future. He said construction of a new facility has huge potential in terms of both recruitment and retention of students.
“The students who choose to living in campus housing do so for a reason – they want to feel more connected to the campus, and benefit from a residential experience,” he said. “Research on college student retention has consistently shown that students who reside in campus housing stay in school and graduate. So it only makes sense to do all we can to enhance our current housing program.”
For more information about the KCKCC Student Housing Department, contact Jonathan Long at 913-288-7621 or email firstname.lastname@example.org.
- Kelly Rogge is the public information supervisor at Kansas City Kansas Community College.