After a year of searching, Seattle University has appointed Daniel Ocampo to fill the position of Director of Housing. Ocampo joins Seattle U from the University of the Pacific, where he was the Director of Residential Life and Student Engagement.
CL: What brought you to Seattle University?
DO: A part of it was returning to a Jesuit university. I went to the University of San Francisco for my undergrad and got my doctorate there as well, and I also worked at Boston College. So for me, there’s something about the Jesuit education that goes with my own personal values. And I just feel that Jesuit schools have been a good fit for me. That’s why I applied, and that’s what eventually brought me here.
New Housing Directer, Dr. Daniel Ocampo, hopes to make improvements to Seattle Univeristy housing.
CL: What do you do as the Director of Housing?
DO: As the Director of Housing and [Residence] Life, it’s basically the overall responsibility for the program of residential students….
We require our first- and second-year students to live on campus, so we have a good number of students that are impacted by their housing experience. So, a lot of it for us is “what should that be like?” and I think for us it’s this opportunity to create a dynamic where we can create a special experience for students…
My hope is that we can figure out a way that we’re not mandating that students have a 12-month lease. There are probably ways that we can get around that, but we have to figure out how that works.
I am very much an advocate of cohort housing, meaning housing all the first-years together, housing all the second-years together and your juniors and seniors together…The cohort housing works for me because then I can hire staff who can program around those needs of the students.
Right now, when we have students who are all mixed in the resident hall, their RAs are just doing programs, but they aren’t necessarily as targeted because you have mixed populations. Whereas if they were all freshmen, they could have catered to the needs of freshmen…Sophomores tend to be that lost year because juniors start to think about leaving, and seniors are leaving. Sophomores are kind-of like “I still need some of this help.” That’s kind of where I want to focus some of that attention.
Some of the other things are developing a program direction for the learning communities that we have. Some are in existence, but I think we need to figure out what’s next for them. I’ve come from other universities that have had really robust program houses and learning communities, but there is a lot of money that goes into them to make them work.
When I worked at Cornell University we had a “just about music” program, but that program had a recording studio and all these amenities that go with that program. We had a performing arts resident college that had a theater and things like that. When we talk about providing these things…What does that actually mean?
CL: Are there any other additional changes that you would wish to see/implement here on Seattle U’s campus?
DO: I’m not here to try and make it more expensive. I’m actually trying to find ways to make it your money’s worth. I’ve been a student and have worked at multiple universities to see what seems to work. I would also love to see more of a class identity here as well…I also need to build my relationship with other places on campus to be able to see where my influence can be made.
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