Have you ever seen very young children running around on campus, walking in the residence halls, or even eating in the Commons? What some students may not know is that a select few of professional staff live on campus with their families. These families include children and animals, in the residence halls and the upper campus apartments. These professionals are here to maintain your constant safety and helping needs.
Mark Turnbough, father of two-year-old Henry, is an Area Coordinator living on campus with his wife, also an Area Coordinator, Jen Turnbough. Mark says he appreciates the respect students give to him and his family. He claims that he is in the student’s environment, and they should not worry about him and his family being around.
Jen Turnbough said she is, “very appreciative of the opportunity to have a family and a pet on campus. It is a very unique set up, but because of the family-friendly environment of the department it makes it a lot less stressful, and makes it feel like I am giving up less of my personal goals to do this job.” Jen also stated she likes the ability to expose Henry, her son, to a diverse group of people and opportunities living on a university campus.
Ben Staub, an Area Coordinator living on campus with his wife and two young daughters claims that students, “mostly make positive differences, even students that I meet with for negative reasons. Interactions with 99% of students are positive and I feel very comfortable having my kids and wife out and about.”
Jen Raup, a former Area Coordinator on the university campus had positives and negatives of living on campus. One thing some students may not realize about on-campus positions is the different sense of independence for the professionals. According to Jen, you have to ask to make changes to your living environment. She has also had instances where students and parents entered her apartment thinking it was something else. However, for her, living free was extremely beneficial and often outweighed any negatives that occurred.
When talking about her son Sam, Jen Raup said she was a little scared with riots occurring right outside his bedroom window on occasion. She said Sam likes the idea that he has “been to college” and is only eight years old. The Raups live off campus now, and according to Jen, Sam preferred living on campus to their current off campus house.
According to Mark Turnbough, his son Henry does not really comprehend that he lives in a different environment than most children his age. To him it is just a normal thing. Henry thinks that his “home’ is the entire residence hall they are currently located in.
Ben Staub stated that he believes living on a university campus brings his daughters out of their shell faster due to the openness of most college students. However, he said there is not much interaction with children their own age living on a university campus.
According to Mark and Ben, they both believe that there are pros and cons to living on campus. They both agree that not having rent is a great positive. Ben says that it is nice that there are police so close by, reliable maintenance, and up to date facilities. Mark likes the extremely short commute, and says there is never a dull moment. He also says it is nice to be somewhere where there are constantly things happening, and that they can be involved in the activities. Jen Turnbough pointed out, that the campus has a “compressed city environment because you are living in such a close proximity to all of your resources and also have cultural, artistic, educational, and social events at your fingertips”.
A negative they claim is the difficulty of having a home life compared to a work life. They literally live at work, and it becomes hard to find a balance between work and home. Their coworkers also live on campus, so they create great bonds outside of work with those people as well. Another negative according to Jen Raup is the feeling like the space is not yours since it technically belongs to the university. She said staff or maintenance would need to come into the apartments occasionally for various checks, such as fire safety checks. When you are not living on campus, you are not encumbered by the various procedures such as these. Everyone agreed though, the positives outweigh the negatives of living on campus.
Students are on campus professionals jobs, so they do not want you to feel as though they are not accessible. You can most certainly ask to pet their dog, or talk to their adorable children. They are a part of this campus community just as much as the next person or student on campus.