The Office of Housing and Residential Education hired a housing operations coordinator and area coordinator—two new positions—to help improve the campus experience for incoming and current students.
The revamp of the office comes after a tumultuous housing selection process in spring 2019, which saw StarRez, the college’s housing software, crash after it was introduced in spring 2018 to smooth out the application process. The two hires, Area Coordinator Isaac Newsome and Housing Operations Coordinator Chris Muchata, help fill out the office.
Newsome said his role at Emerson is to assist with the supervision and coordination of the residential education program, which involves training resident assistants, mentoring residence directors at Little Building, and assisting with first-year students in their different needs and problems.
Newsome said his main goal as an area coordinator is for students to feel like they are engaging with the community without feeling left out.
“It is really a passion of mine to help first-year students feel like they have a second home,” he said in an interview. “So they come here and it’s like you’ve got to ask yourself, ‘How do we make this student feel more like at their home? How do we make this truly fun and engaging?’”
Newsome previously worked at Boston University as a residence hall director before coming to Emerson. He said he wants to create more opportunities and activities within campus life for first-year students, especially international students.
“This is a way international students can have conversations about their culture with domestic students so they can learn about it, as well as feel closer to home,” he said.
He encourages first-year students to challenge themselves and to not be afraid to demonstrate their talents and abilities.
“As Howard Thurman said, ‘Don’t ask what the world needs. Ask what makes you come alive, and go do it,’” Newsome said. “What the world needs is people who have come alive. [Students] make this place vibrant, so don’t be afraid of keeping it lit up.”
Chris Muchata, the new housing operations coordinator, said he works hand-in-hand with Associate Director of Housing Operations Kendra Stokes and helps the community with moving in and out of the residence halls, room changes, and everything to do with students’ experiences.
“Seeing that I’m still new and working on adapting to everything, we pretty much divide the work with Kendra so I do more of the ‘surface level,’ day-to-day operational things,” Muchata said in an interview with The Beacon. “For example, I’m in charge of the room change process and reviewing those applications. I’m still learning a lot of things that have to do with residence life.”
Muchata said he is also in charge of the training and selection of students for the Welcome Desk Program for the tap desks in each residence hall. He said he is looking forward to revamping the housing selection program and improving the housing portal for students.
Muchata worked at Wentworth Institute of Technology as a residence director before coming to Emerson.
He said students should not be afraid to make a big change to solve a problem or challenging situation they may be having.
“The best advice I got as a student from my residence director in college was, ‘You have to get uncomfortable if you want to get comfortable,’ and that advice has stuck with me for the past 10 years,” Muchata said. “You grow from failure and you will be told many times no, but it is really how you pick yourself back up and grow.”