B is for Beaver, B is for Belonging

By: Christina Ferrari 

This summer I waved farewell to Chi-town and hit the Oregon Trail. I am interning with University Housing & Dining Services at Oregon State University to coordinate their First Year Experience initiatives set to kick off in the fall. This is my first experience working at a public institution and I must admit in a matter of days it’s stolen my heart. Not only is campus itself literally stunning with rich, lush flowering bushes and trees that are taller than six story buildings (not kidding), but the people here are some of the most dedicated and passionate folks I have ever met.

The staff in Residential Education has welcomed me with open arms and though it’s only been a matter of weeks, I feel fully integrated into the Beaver family. Probably what I’ve been most impressed with is the student staff and their commitment to their peers’ college experience. OSU is on the quarter system which means I’ve had the privilege of attending Resident Hall Council meetings, observing conduct hearings, and assisting with programs all aimed at building an on-campus community. The opportunity to witness life at a land-grant institution and to learn from the students that call this campus home for ten months out of the year is amazing. Some days are a marathon of meetings with some programs sprinkled in. Whether it’s a community standards board meeting or an on-call situation, the student leaders are committed to making everyone feel welcomed and valued—including the oddball Chicagoan who came into the picture on week seven of the term.

While my knowledge and experience of campus life is limited, it seems very clear to me that the staff of the department, from its director to RA, are deeply committed to community. I had the opportunity last week to meet the Vice Provost of Student Affairs, Dr. Larry Roper, at the spring department meeting. In our short conversation and in his address it became clear to me that community is at the heart of what the institution is about. A sense of belonging, a sense of purpose, and a drive toward the greater good—that’s what everyone is working towards creating and sustaining. As this campus prepares to welcome the 2013 first-year class and instates a live-on requirement, I have no doubt that this on-campus community will only thrive. I am blessed and honored to be a part of envisioning the future and contributing to this community.

Student Affairs - the First Years

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