Role of Staff
The University Village Staff facilitates community at University Village. The mission is fulfilled by Village staff in the following ways:
- Connection - Connect residents to Notre Dame, South Bend and each other.
- Assistance - Assist residents and help them help each other.
- Safety and Cleanliness - Strive for a safe and pleasant environment and encourage residents to be socially responsible.
Village staff connects residents to Notre Dame, South Bend and each other by making residents aware of campus and South Bend events and resources, creating and maintaining community spaces throughout the complex for residents and through programming
Making residents aware of campus and South Bend events and resources - Village Staff promotes select campus and South Bend events by announcing them through the University Village Message weekly email sent to residents at the end of every week. Village staff prepares a resource guide that orients residents to resources such as energy assistance programs and state Medicaid information (especially important for international residents who do not qualify for all state Medicaid programs). A new interactive website, open only to Village residents, will launch at the end of June which will feature a section updated by resident volunteers announcing various activities around campus and in South Bend along with a section providing information about resources for families in the community.
Creating and maintaining social spaces throughout the complex - Over the years Village staff has created and maintained a variety of community spaces throughout the complex. Some of these spaces include an exercise room, community garden, cooperative clothing exchange, communal BBQ grills, soccer field and, of course, regular maintenance and updating of the Beichner Community Center. A virtual, but equally important, community space is a google group only open to Village residents called the Barter Board. The Barter Board is used for communication amongst residents. Residents use it for a variety of purposes. A few examples; asking for a cup of flour, looking for a babysitter, giving away a piece of furniture, asking for a doctor or mechanic recommendation.
Village Staff organizes a variety of programming throughout the year with the primary goal of connection. Many programs are purely social but other programs are provided to encourage residents’ spiritual, physical, emotional, professional and intercultural development. The diagram below lists a sampling of programs offered in the past two years at the Village:
Village Staff assists residents and helps residents assist each other during moments of crisis such as a serious illness or major transitions such as moving in or the birth of a baby, as well as more regular concerns such as lockouts and maintenance issues.
Moments of Crisis - Most residents at the Village are far away from networks of support such as family or friends so that, when a crisis hits, the Village community frequently becomes their primary network of support. Depending on the situation Village staff may provide direct assistance to the resident such as transportation to the hospital, communicating with relatives who are out of town or coordinating assistance from residents in the community willing to help. At times Village staff refers residents to appropriate resources in the community such as local counseling services with affordable rates or campus resources such as the shirt fund when financial assistance is needed.
Major Transitions – New Babies and Welcoming New Residents - Village staff organizes residents to provide meals for 1-2 weeks to families who have just welcomed a new baby. For families moving into the Village there is a comprehensive welcoming program. The welcoming program includes providing essential household materials to residents arriving directly from overseas such as an air mattress and basic grocery supplies, arranging a current resident welcoming family for each new family that moves in, arranging help unpacking the moving truck and organizing a weekly store shuttle for residents who don’t own a car (primarily international residents). The picture below provides a graphic representation of the welcoming program for new residents:
Common Concerns - Village Staff assists residents with common concerns including maintenance problems, lockouts and community life concerns such as maintaining quiet hours. Village Staff provide 24 hour coverage 365 days a year to assist residents with maintenance issues and lockouts. During regular office hours Village Staff enter maintenance requests into the University AIM system and they follow up with assorted university departments if needed. Lock outs are also handled by the office during regular office hours. After hours and on the weekend residents contact an onsite, on-duty, staff person via the staff emergency cell phone when they have maintenance emergencies or lockouts. Community life concerns are generally handled by the Rector, Assistant Rectors or Community Assistants depending on the situation. Each situation is unique but generally the Village staff person handling the situation will communicate with all parties involved and then work with them to find a solution.
Safety and Cleanliness
Village Staff strives for a safe and pleasant environment and encourages residents to be socially responsible. This work happens in the areas of maintaining common spaces, educating residents about rules related to the physical environment of the complex and steps they can take to prevent crime in the complex as well as apartment preparation.
Maintaining Common Spaces - Village Staff works with University Housekeeping staff to ensure that common spaces in the buildings such as building hallways and community spaces are clean. Village Staff works in a similar way with University Landscape Services. To encourage a community minded atmosphere Village Staff organizes periodic complex cleanup days in which residents participate. Village staff also identifies better ways for residents to organize their personal belongings in common areas so that residents can help maintain a clean and orderly complex.
Educating residents about complex rules and preventing crime - Village staff educates and enforces rules that maintain a safe and clean environment. This is done at the new resident orientation in August, in regular communications such as the University Village Message weekly email and Village Life monthly newsletter and through personal communication with residents not aware of regulations regarding the physical condition of the complex and their apartment. Monthly inspections are conducted throughout the complex to identify any areas of concern and apartments are inspected every two months to ensure there are no safety hazards. Village Staff invites NDSP to speak at new resident orientation with a primary emphasis on crime prevention. Throughout the year NDSP officers are invited to speak at Building Representative meetings to reemphasize crime prevention measures. Finally, Village staff educates residents through a variety of communication mechanisms on ways to keep the community safe.
Apartment Preparation - Village Staff is responsible for requesting, coordinating and checking the work of several university departments with distinct responsibilities related to preparing the apartments to be in the best condition possible given budget restraints imposed by the University. The apartment preparation process is complex. Village staff spends 4-5 hours collectively preparing each apartment. This number does not include the work of housekeepers, maintenance workers, etc. The diagram below illustrates the role of Village Staff in apartment preparation: