Saint Benedict Hall, more commonly referred to as “Benny,” was teeming with anxious, excited freshmen on Thursday, August 23, 2012 as the Class of 2016 moved into their rooms. Days before the freshmen arrived, Benny’s Residence Life staff moved in. The freshman-only residence hall usually has a Residence Life staff of one residence hall director (RHD), two associate residence hall directors (ARHDs) and 21 prefects, but Benny is currently missing an ARHD and a prefect.
Director of Student Affairs Bob Baum is confident that the unfilled positions will not affect Residence Life’s ability to help “all of the students transition” into their freshman year. “We are not short-staffed,” said Baum. “The staff that we have is good, and all goals are being met.”
“[Residence Life] is continually looking for an ARHD, so [a rehire] is always a possibility,” Baum added.
Benny is currently staffed by 20 prefects instead of 21 because one pod, 1C, is not being used to house freshmen this year, so no prefect was placed in that pod.
Francesca Catalano, the Benny RHD this semester, serves as the chief administrator for the hall’s general staff and operations. This semester, Catalano was going to work alongside two ARHDs, Sam Comfort and Rebecca Williams, but Williams left Residence Life at the beginning of the semester. After being hired for the ARHD position and working through the summer to prepare for it, Williams opted to instead work with freshman and transfer students through alcohol prevention programs. “Basically it was just a role change,” explained Williams, who graduated from SVC this past spring. “Instead of working primarily for Residence Life, I’m working all across Student Affairs under Mary Collins and Bob Baum.” The 2012-2013 school year would have been Williams’ first year on Residence Life staff.
Sam Comfort, a Master’s student at Indiana University of Pennsylvania who has been involved with Residence Life since his sophomore year at SVC, is currently the sole ARHD in Benny. Comfort plans to meet all goals for the year despite the absence of Williams. “Our prefect staff is well equipped to handle issues that do arise, and there is always a RHD or ARHD on call, so all issues are being handled,” Comfort said. “I hope to continue to support prefects in anything they need and keep the community up to let the freshman enjoy their first year experience.”
Comfort served as an ARHD in Benny last year, alongside Deanna Wicks, who is now the RHD of Rooney Hall, and Brandon Weiss, who is now the RHD of Gerard Hall.
“I think the staff in Saint Benedict is very supportive, and there is not a big difference,” said sophomore prefect Aliethia McLeod, adding that, regarding the decreased staff, “it would have been nice with [Williams].” Williams would have lived in McLeod’s pod, 1B, but moved to 1C after switching jobs. McLeod hopes to “support the rest of the staff members and residents in the way [Williams] would have, working as a team to complete what needs to be done.”
Baum stressed the resilience and professionalism of his staff, comparing Residence Life staff to the Benedictine monks who took care of the prep school and its students in SVC’s early days. “They were the first prefects doing the same thing we are doing—making sure people are respected and supported,” said Baum.