Meet Your New Resident Directors

Meet+Your+New+Resident+Directors

Students living in Campion and Xavier Residence Halls may have begun to notice some very important new faces within their buildings. Perhaps they have seen them on RHA’s “Potty Publications” or caught glimpses of one newcomer’s canine companion, Stacey the greyhound. These recent additions are Armina Khwaja and Sara Essember, Seattle University’s two new Resident Directors (RDs) who, though still in the midst of training, are beginning to make themselves known to their respective communities.

The new Campion Hall Resident Director, Armina Khwaja.

Khwaja, the new RD for Campion Hall, grew up in Atlanta, GA. and has served as a Resident Director for both Texas A&M University and Northeastern University in Boston. Khwaja sees Seattle U as a refreshing change.
“I wanted to come to Seattle University because I wanted a new experience.” Khwaja said “It’s smaller, religious, a very strong mission- centered institution and all the schools I’ve worked at have been larger, research based institutions.”

The new Xavier Hall Resident Director, Sara Essember.

Essember, the director for the Xavier Global House, Logan Court and Yobi Apartments is originally from Massachusetts and livedjust north of Boston. She is no stranger to our campus, having completed a NODA internship at our very own Seattle U during graduate school. Her background in student development includes academic advising at Southern New Hampshire University and before that, being a Resident Director for the University of New Hampshire.

“I realized I really missed that work,” Essember said.

The induction of new RDs is an important change for students living on campus, as they not only represent a fresh perspective on how a residence hall is led but also work in tandem with many student leadership positions on campus. Groups that the new RDs will be in contact with include but are not limited to Resident Assistants (RAs), Desk Assistants, Resident Hall Councils and the Executive Council for the Residence Hall Association— all student leaders with a very direct impact for the on-campus housing experience.

“They each have their own unique qualities that will leave an impression on residents and their experience living on campus,” said Ryan Lim, a sophomore marketing major and RHA Executive Council member. “I look forward to working with them to build new traditions within their communities.”

Khwaja and Essember’s interaction with the student community is not limited to student leaders. Their position within the residence halls allows them to not only be a regular part of events within in their building, but also permits residents to reach them more easily. In describing the dynamic with her residents, Khwaja alludes to what one of her professors called “The social accessibility of being a Resident Director.” In other words, the ability to interact with residents on a daily basis both within and outside of her role.

“I can come home and if there’s a program going on after dinner, during personal time, I can stumble upon a bunch of residents and hang out with them,” said Khwaja, “So it’s like, how unique that you don’t have to drive an hour back to campus to interact with your students.You do right when you walk outside your door.”

The role and responsibilities of a Residence Director not only vary by day, but are also widely different depending on the residence hall in which they operate.

“It’s kind of unique that Seattle U has such a focus on the individual approach for each building, and what that building’s identity is and what the residents of that building are learning,” Essember said. “So we can customize what programs look like, and what we think bulletin boards should look like, and what conversations should look like.”

Khwaja described the importance of Learning Communities in creating a more personal environment and sense of belonging, while Essember brought attention to Xavier’s strongly established sense of identity and community. Despite the differences in their buildings and their unique responsibilities, both RDs emphasized the importance of creating community and helping residents find strong, genuine connections to their peers and their campus.

For students with questions or concerns regarding housing or those want to get better acquainted with these new staff members, the easiest way to get in contact with them is through their office hours, held between 9 a.m. and 4:30 p.m. For residents of Campion, Khwaja can be reached in her office in Campion 116, while residents of Xavier, Logan Court or the Yobi can find Essember’s office in Xavier 180A.

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