A “day in the life” of a Community Director

Ellie Lowe, Contributing Writer

Most students have probably heard of the Residential Education program. For those who have not, Residential Education – often referred to as ResEd – is an office on campus designed to help students become engaged in the community, and ensure that each student’s experience with residential housing is fun and constructive. ResEd is composed of residential advisors, six community directors and a Director of Residential Education.

Plenty of students likely wonder what it’s like to contribute to ResEd’s complex and comprehensive services. To provide an in-depth look into this job, Jillian Padilla, the community director for Roberts, Trax, Kress, and McDonnell, has shared with the Bucknellian an average day in her life.

Padilla starts her by making coffee and checking up on students who have been placed into quarantine. Owing to the COVID-19 pandemic, the job of a community director has evolved; not only are they charged with helping build community and watching over residence halls, but also with helping students who are quarantining or in isolation get through that difficult experience. This part of her day includes seeing if a student is ready to be released, sending check-in emails or phone calls and answering any questions these students might have regarding University quarantine policy.

After checking in with quarantined and isolated students, Padilla then has a daily meeting over Zoom with the other community directors (CDs). During this time, the CDs check in with IT, Student Health and other members of the University that help support students.

The bulk of Padilla’s day is spent checking emails, answering student questions and having one-on-one meetings over Zoom with her residential advisor staff. She also spends a lot of time checking in with facilities to ensure all four of the buildings she oversees are running smoothly. 

“My favorite part of my day is chatting with the RAs and seeing how they are doing, how classes are going and how they are building community in their residence halls,” Padilla said.

The pandemic has made most people’s days — whether they be students or faculty and staff — heavily reliant on Zoom software. Although Zoom has become useful during this pandemic, it has also complicated campus interactions and building community in a socially-distanced world. 

“Since switching to Zoom, it’s harder to see staff around campus. Getting to know new staff members, being a [source of] support and helping them through challenges is what I look most forward to,” she said.

With the semester now in full-swing, many students, faculty and staff alike are feeling the weight of clubs, extracurriculars, and schoolwork. CD Padilla has found that balancing a work-life balance is important. To achieve this, she has found that having a morning routine helps make it easier to start the day off on the right foot. For her, this includes waking up and reading, drinking coffee and walking her dog Benny; she also likes to write a list of things she wants to do to make sure she’s checking in with herself throughout the day. 

“I make sure to tune in with myself so I can always be ready to be a support and available for my staff and the residents,” she said. 

Although Padilla and the rest of the ResEd staff have taken on a different role throughout the pandemic, they want students to know that they are still here to support them.

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