By Ellyn Fritz || News Editor
Upon her arrival at Franklin & Marshall from Bowdoin College, one of the first programs that Dean Hazlett implemented at F&M was the network of Community Advisors in College Hill Apartments (an off-campus housing option the student body more commonly refers to as “The Lofts”). There is one Community Advisor (CA) in each of the four College Hill buildings, like 520 North Charlotte or 526 North Charlotte, and in the larger building spaces on West James Street.
Just as there are Housing Advisors in on-campus housing, the Community Advisors system is aimed at fostering camaraderie among students living in the College Hill Apartments. Dean Moriarty, Interim Vice President & Dean of Student Affairs, notes that “the Community Assistant Program is designed to have students working with their peers to create community building and engagement activities. While moving off-campus can be very exciting, it can also be lonely and isolating for some. I believe that being active members of the campus community is a big part of one’s learning and development and the intention is that the CA’s will help to facilitate that kind of engagement.”
In past years, College Hill has typically been a very social space for F&M students. When party registration was allowed, it was hoped that residents of College Hill would reach out to their Community Advisors rather than Public Safety when there was an issue. Partially designed for this purpose, the CA’s established presence has previously fostered an environment in which students could navigate conflict with their peers without outside mediation.
When asked whether the role of CA’s has changed due to the presence of COVID-19, Director of Housing Lori Faus spoke on how the CA role is to be a resource for residents. CA responsibilities typically pertain to maintenance repair issues or general concerns, not policing or enforcing social-distancing protocols.
Liz Georgelis, a Community Advisor, spoke on how her role as a CA has been impacted by COVID-19: “I am still able to hold some events for the residents of my building. Although many of these events have to be virtual, we were able to host a small pizza party in the College Hill parking lot the other day where we could play cornhole and socialize.”
Earlier this fall in Module 1, students in the various buildings were contacted by new Housing Coordinators Sarah Ye and Michael Bright for CA recruitment and interviews. Georgelis expressed why she had an interest in applying to be a CA saying, “I wanted to apply to be a Community Advisor to give back to the off-campus community and encourage the residents within my building to engage in a safe and positive manner with one another, especially during these tough and stressful times.”
The only residential spaces without advisors are the College Row apartments. Lori Foust expressed that although the school is not currently planning on having CAs in Crow, that does not mean Franklin & Marshall will not consider them in the future; the college is continuously reevaluating opportunities for community engagement within the student body.
Junior Ellyn Fritz is the News Editor. Her email is firstname.lastname@example.org.