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The Northerner

Meet the director of university housing

Susan Neltner

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2.5 months was all the time Matt Brown had to learn the ropes of a new job, look for a new house, and prepare for the beginning of school.

Since June 16, 2003 Brown the new Director of University Housing had a full agenda. He spent his time closing the fiscal year for last year’s budget, working on the final touches of the new residential building and training hall directors for their positions on campus. Amid all the turmoil of the oncoming school year Brown found time to close on a house.

Brown looked at the uproar in a light most would not. “In general, balancing a full-time professional position with a home and family takes a lot of work. The work that I do is important, but it cannot consume every minute of my life,” Brown said.

“I find that there is a strong connection between my happiness at home and at work, but I try to always separate the two. I try not to let work issues affect me at home and vice versa. Buying and moving into a new home actually helps create stability outside of the job. It gets my mind off of work and reminds me that it is important to take care of my family and myself.”

Which is easier than it sounds considering that since the start of his job in June, Brown had to learn everything about his new position. “Basically all the aspects of the operation here,” Brown said. He learned how to control the budget, hire staff, oversee the judicial system, handle any situations that might arise with parents such as the issues that concern them and their child and about the housing policies at NKU.

Many of Northern’s policies are similar to places Brown worked in the past, but where the policies share resemblance the campuses have a different flare. “It’s (NKU) is a little bit different from where I’ve worked before,” Brown said. “I’ve worked on some pretty old campuses.” Where Kansas State University has limestone to look upon, NKU has concrete.

Another difference Brown noted was that when he was in college, he did not have many housing options. “It was pretty much traditional housing with a community bathroom, everyone doubled up in a room, and not as much privacy,” Brown said.

What he enjoys about NKU’s housing facilities is the diversity in the program. Norse Hall offers an apartment style atmosphere with a shared living room, and a bathroom that only four people use. Woodcrest apartments are the regular apartment choice on campus, Brown said.

Kentucky Commonwealth is the equivalent to Brown’s old dorms. “It (Kentucky Commonwealth) is fantastic for freshman,” Brown said. “They are in a community setting and share that community bathroom, and I think they learn a lot of skills.

Brown talked about the University Suites, the new residence hall, where one would be able to find more privacy then the other dorms. Brown grins from ear to ear as he talks about the new dorms. “The previous director left in February,” Brown said. “There were a just a lot of things left in the air about this building.” He added that he had to come in and finish where things were left standing and to see it almost finished is a good feeling.

A good feeling on the inside as well as the out considering Brown sat on a leather couch in the lobby of the University Suites.

“It’s exciting to be here,” Brown said. Not only because the people of Kentucky have a nice Midwest feel, Brown said, but to actually see the University expand in front of his eyes.

Brown is aiding the growth of the University in his own way. He is hoping that next year he can add the first academic theme floor in the University Suites. Brown is hoping that the theme for the first floor would be social justice. Therefore those who are interested in social justice, no matter what major they are from, would take a corresponding orientation class and then experience each other in a dorm situation.

Other plans Brown said he would like to incorporate in the university housing would include a more academic focus. Things he plans include, “some tutoring, study groups, more academic recognition for students, and some sort of intervention.”

Brown added he would like to see things that as far as he knows have not been tried in the past, “We might have an academic fare, sessions on time management, stress management, and study skills.”

While most of Brown’s work deals with the business aspect of University Housing he participates in many of the student activities, in his own way. “The R.A’s (residential assistant) and the Hall Director report to me about activities.” Brown added they are having a freshman orientation, participating in the welcome week activities, and working closely with campus recreation.

As busy as Brown’s schedule has been he has not stressed. “It was stressful, but I’m a low stress person,” Brown said. Brown’s philosophy that helped him survive the change, “Do what you can, and if you can’t don’t stress about it.”

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The Independent Student Newspaper of Northern Kentucky University.
Meet the director of university housing