Joy Schmelzer is the new Residence Life Director and faculty member at SNHU.
Schmelzer works in the Residence Life Office located in the Green Center. She introduced herself and her background to fellow staff members and students.
“I was the former director of residence life at Salem State University in Salem Mass,” said Schmelzer. “I love that SNHU is so creative and innovative, [it] fits everything I was looking for in my next position. So I applied, I came for a day interview, and I met so many people here. I felt like this [was] the place I wanted to be.”
As of February 10th, Schmelzer has been officially on campus for fifteen days, while also having fifteen years of residence life experience under her belt. She has previously held the roles of Residence Director, Assistant Director in Residence Life, Associate Director, and Senior Associate Director at other colleges.
Before arriving on campus, Schmelzer shared 25 fun facts about herself with the staff on campus.
“[I wish] they could see me outside of my title. That I’m a person, and I like gnomes, or I have a bucket list, or I’ve [that] swam with dolphins, or all these things. I think that it’s important to know that you can connect with one another on at least one thing,” said Schmelzer. “I’ve had a really positive experience. I didn’t start at a traditional point where most people would start, I mean the beginning of the school year, I started mid-semester. So things have been rocking and rolling, students have been back since January 1st, and even though I’ve started at not a traditional time, people have been super welcoming.”
Schmelzer was an undergraduate at Keene State College in Keene, New Hampshire, where she got her degree in Communication. She then proceeded to get her Masters in Educational Leadership with a specialization in Higher Education Administration at Lynn University in Boca Raton, Florida.
“Fun fact, I actually wasn’t an RA. In Keene State, there was a rule that you couldn’t serve on a community council or residence hall association and also be an RA. It was a conflict of interest,” said Schmelzer. “I chose to be part of the residence hall association and advocate for change inside the building I was living in. I ended up getting very involved in student leadership, so I have [a] student leadership background, but not like a traditional RA. I think most directors of residence life have, so I think I have a unique perspective in engaging students in making change.”
Schmelzer spoke about the importance of viewing your residence hall as more than just a place to sleep.
“I think that’s the difference; a lot of people don’t realize that when you hear the word ‘dorms,’ you think going into Bed, Bath, and Beyond…[and] ‘dorm essentials,’” said Schmelzer. “But we call them residence halls. The difference between ‘dorm’ and ‘residence hall’ is that a dorm is a place you just sleep, [and] a residence hall is where you build a community. So that is my ultimate goal.”
Students are free to visit the Residence Life Office and socialize, as they are not restricted to only needing to have an issue to come in and say hi.
Schmelzer shared these key pieces of advice: don’t be afraid to ask questions, and don’t be afraid of titles.
“Sometimes it’s hard to ask the ‘why’ or ‘where can I get this,’ but it’s worth it. Don’t be afraid to engage in a department you haven’t engaged with before, or ask a question and say ‘hey I really need assistance in this area,’ because there [are] a lot of resources and a lot of willingness to help that students may not even know is there.”
The Residence Life Office is here to help all students living on campus have a positive experience. They hope to create an environment where residence halls are places people want to live, rather than a place they have to stay. They engage with students and the residential community here on campus, and if students communicate any issues or need advice, the Residence Life Office is there to assist.