New College alum and previous Catalyst editor, Kaylie Stokes (’12) has taken on a position as the newest Residential Housing Director (RHD). For upper year students and long standing members of the New College community, she is a familiar face who was known to be heavily involved in NCF. For new students, she is someone who knows the culture of the school and is evidence of life after thesis.
What are your responsibilities?
“I am supervising RAs [Residential Advisors],” Stokes said. “I will be [one of the] staff on call to respond to crisis situations. […] I work on whatever housing is, whether that is scheduling fire drills or getting ready from next years room draw, sending out a lot of emails, writing up different initiatives and figuring out summaries for LLCs.”
Stokes is looking forward to having meetings with the RAs and getting to know them better.
“A big part of the job is supporting RA staff,” Stokes said. “New College RAs do a really good job of keeping their community safe. […] They are really involved in their communities. […] I want to build on that.”
How did you decide on the RHD position?
“I had thought about applying for it directly after graduation,” Stokes said. “But I knew that I needed a break from New College. […] [I] had to get away and get some space, so I could do the job to the best of my ability.”
Stokes came to visit NCF and was offered a temporary RHD position, so she moved back down to Sarasota.
How does being an alum affect how you do the job?
“I think being a New College alum in a position like this can be really helpful,” Stokes said. “I’m familiar with the campus and a lot of the administration, I know how New College works, and I know the kinds of challenges I’m stepping into.”
Stokes was an RA for three years for graduating.
“I saw a lot of highs and lows with housing,” Stokes said. “But I really enjoyed my time as an RA and thought it was important work.
“I know a lot about how our housing department works already and I can also relate to the RAs that I’ll be supervising about some of [their] specific challenges,” Stoked said. “I really have an appreciation for how passionate and smart New College students are and want to work closely with them, as well as student organizations, to help direct New College’s growth and improvement in a way that satisfies students’ desires and well being.”
As an RHD, what kind of programming will you be interested in putting on?
“I would really like to do a continuing financial literacy workshop,” Stokes said. “Talking about typical budgeting and taxes, but also things like the logistics around credit cards.”
Stokes would explain how to apply and what a credit score indicates, as well as how to finance the purchase of a car.
“I think anything concerning money plays a really big role in students well-being while they are still in school and after,” Stokes said.
Where will you be living?
“In third court,” Stokes said. “My 5th year living in Pei.”
Stokes’ Pei room is more like an apartment than a typical dorm room.
“It has a kitchen, bathroom, bedroom and a living room,” Stokes continued. “It’s pretty nice.”
Is it easy to adjust from living to North Carolina to moving back to Florida?
“I really loved living in North Carolina and would like to move back at some point in the future,” Stokes said.
In North Carolina, Stokes worked at a local coffee shop called Bean Traders. She also worked on a few short oral history projects and took an expansive two-and-a-half month road trip across the United States.
“Adjusting back to Florida wasn’t too difficult since I hadn’t been gone too long and had visited a few times in between.” Stokes said. “I’m definitely not looking forward to how fast it gets hot here, but I’m excited to get to experience Sarasota while not being a busy stressed out student.”
As an RHD, what are you excited about?
“[As an RA] a lot of my frustration came from a lack of institutional support,” Stokes said. “It was a much bigger problem than any specific person.”
“I realized that [now] institutional support [is] really coming to the department in a way that is letting the department grow and be a big support to RAs,” Stokes said.
Stokes cited the four new director positions and the push to hire four RHDs as positive additions.
“There is a lot more power to get things done and be a supportive department for students on campus,” Stokes said. “We will have the flexibility to do the positive things we want to do and not just be seen as a department that only places people in housing and deals with discipline.”
Stokes has been temporarily hired this semester, but she hopes to be taken on as a more permanent RHD.
“I am going to have to go through the student panels and lunches if I want to be hired next year,” Stokes said. “That will probably begin in April.”
She will be going through the hiring process for next year soon. Stokes is interested in making student affairs her career and plans on getting her Master’s Degree in the field.