College life encompasses much more than academics.
And during a pandemic, student activities and connections are more important than ever. Harrisburg University’s Student Life team has worked hard to keep students connected, engaged, and aware of existing and new resources aimed at providing students with a community atmosphere.
Recently, the Student Life Team introduced its own series of virtual resources focused on student activities, clubs, housing, and a variety of other engaging opportunities for students outside of the classroom. And, on average, the team has put together 10-15 virtual events a month to provide students with an engaging community atmosphere.
Helping develop and connect students to these enriching experiences and ironing out student life details are responsibilities Residence Life Coordinator Danielle Mathews said she loves. Getting to work with students and know them outside of the classroom is fun and rewarding, even during the most challenging of times, Mathews said.
We recently caught up with Mathews to learn a little more about her, the work of a residence life coordinator and the challenges and opportunities the COVID-19 pandemic has presented to the Student Life Team.
Meet Danielle Mathews – Residence Life Coordinator:
Please see the answers to the questions for the spotlight questions below:
Q: Tell us about your educational background? Where did you earn your undergraduate degree and any other education and what did you major in?
A: I graduated from West Virginia University with a B.S. in Design Studies with a focus in Historic Preservation and a minor in English in May, 2018. I’m excited to start my M.A. in Organizational Leadership at Waldorf University in January 2021!
Q: Where did you work before arriving to HU? When did you arrive to HU? What led you to HU?
A: Prior to arriving to HU in August 2019, I worked at the University of Maryland in College Park as an Academic Program Specialist in the Department of Mathematics. What led me to joining the HU community as a Residence Life Coordinator was my love for working in Residence Life and the fun Student Services team!
Q: Could you describe your role at HU?
A: As a Residence Life Coordinator on the Student Life Team, we work with all things Residence Life and Student Activities. On the Residence Life side, we coordinate room placement, housing conduct, rotating on-call, emergency response, roommate concerns, financial concerns, housing mail delivery and returns, residential programming, network with outside housing partners, and maintain a student worker staff of 12 Resident Assistants. On the flip side of student activities, we coordinate all student groups and their meetings, manage the Student Union, organize campus-wide student events, budget group activities, create calendars, advertise to students, manage social media platforms and websites, and maintain a student worker staff of 10-16 Connection Leaders for first year students. We are truly masters of all trades!
Q: What do you love the most about working at HU?
A: What I love the most about working at HU are the students and the team! Being an RLC, I have the pleasure of getting to know students outside the classroom and see them outside of the academic scope. This means I get to see some of the best and worst of our students, but I always know I have a fun and reliable team to rely on to help solve any problems that come our way!
Q: What do you think makes HU stand out as a University for our students and our faculty?
A: The small, engaged community we have here at HU makes us stand out from the rest! HU fosters a close-knit environment where students have smaller class sizes and the opportunity to get to know the whole community.
Q: Where are you from originally? Where do you live now?
A: Originally, I am not from any one location because I grew up in a military family. I’ve lived in Guam, Virginia, West Virginia, England, Maryland, and Kentucky! Now, I call Harrisburg, PA home.
Q: Any hobbies or activities you can share? Any other life details you would like to share?
A: Some of the activities and hobbies I enjoy are hanging out with friends and family, traveling, spending an unhealthy amount of time on Netflix, cooking, playing video and board games, designing tattoos, writing, hiking, and watching horror movies. Also—Halloween is my favorite holiday!
Q: What are your thoughts on having to switch over to an online model this fall in light of the COVID-19 pandemic in terms of delivering the same quality education to our students?
A: While the switch to the online model was the safest and smartest decision for the Fall 2020 semester, I know so many students and staff miss the luxury of being in-person. It’s been an interesting and eye-opening experience to solve issues we’ve never had to deal with before—like which methods are the best for reaching students and how we can deliver the same student materials in the online setting. Of everything, I think COVID-19 has shown how adaptable our community can be in times of crisis.
Q: Anything else you would like to add?
A: I hope everyone is staying safe during the COVID-19 pandemic and I can’t wait to see everyone in person once again!
About Harrisburg University
Accredited by the Middle States Commission on Higher Education, Harrisburg University is a private non-profit university offering bachelor and graduate degree programs in science, technology, and math fields to a diverse student body. For more information on the University’s affordable demand-driven undergraduate and graduate programs, call 717.901.5146 or email, Connect@HarrisburgU.edu.