Thursday, June 8, 2017

Meet the Office: Residential Life and Housing

Welcome to the first of our "Meet the Office" blog posts! Rowan and I will be going around Baranrd interviewing people from offices on campus so you can learn more about the different resources avaliable!

First up we have Courtney Bazan Colvin, Associate Director for Residential Life and Director of the First Year Focus Program, from the Residential Life and Housing office!

Name
Courtney Bazan Colvin 

What’s your job on campus? 
I am the Associate Director of Residential Life and oversee the First Year Focus program, lovingly known as FYF.  I work with our Resident Assistants and Hall Directors and other campus partners to ensure your first year living on campus is a positive experience and provides you an opportunity to learn about yourself and others. 

How does roommate matching work? What materials or resources do you use to match roommates?
Every first year student who is interested in living on campus is asked to answer questions regarding their living styles and preferences (study habits, cleanliness, guests, etc.).  We take the responses that students provide and match them based on the answers.  It’s a very intentional process. 

Why does Barnard encourage students to participate in the roommate matching process through ResLife?
Students have the option to request roommate(s) for their first year experience.  If you choose to go that route it’s really important that you are looking at the living style and preferences questions provided to ensure that you and your potential roommate(s) are compatible.  I would also encourage you to have a conversation with the individual(s) you may live with and discuss what that would look like--how do you deal with conflict? What are you hoping to accomplish your first year? What do you like to do for fun? What are your goals for your first year at Barnard and how will that look for you while living on campus?

Our roommate matching process works--we match students based on the compatibility through the answers that they provide to us.  I encourage students to be open to living with someone you don’t know--that’s the beauty of coming to college and having the opportunity to make new friends and to let that process happen organically.

Whichever you choose, either selecting your roommates after intentional conversations or going through the roommate matching process done by our office, know that there will always be support for students as they live on campus.  Conflicts between roommates will happen, and you have many people at Barnard for support. Your Resident Assistant, Hall Director, and I are all individuals who can help you navigate those conversations and mediate conflicts when necessary.  You’ll meet all of us when you arrive in August! 

What does the Office of Residential Life and Housing do year-round? Do you just assign housing or are there other services your office provides?
Residential Life and Housing is so much more than providing room assignments, though that’s incredibly important!  We strive to create a positive environment to support community development for our students, while allowing each individual to pursue her own personal and academic goals. Our work is very intentional in regard to helping our students achieve success and develop important interpersonal and leadership skills that will serve them for a lifetime.   Our office provides programming, leadership opportunities, and finds endless ways to support our students.

Any advice for incoming first-years? 
My best piece of advice for you is to allow yourself to be open to new opportunities.  Step outside your comfort zone--attend an event you know nothing about, introduce yourself to Barnard student whom you haven’t met, and recognize that next year will be different and that’s a positive and exciting thing.