Elizabeth Amico, FCRH ’05
HOW LONG AT FORDHAM: Right after graduation, Amico began working part-time in the “Res Life” office, managing the University’s summer conference programs. As a student, she had lived in Loschert Hall, where she gained experience in residence hall management by serving on the student-member Residence Halls Association. That experience helped her earn a full-time position.
WHAT SHE DOES: Amico and her staff do all of the placements for the 3,300 students who live in the Rose Hill residence halls. Her office also works closely with custodial services and facilities operations to maintain halls year-round.
MATCHING PEOPLE: “We contact all students admitted with housing and have them fill out an application which also includes lifestyle questions—do they consider themselves a day person? Night person? Are they neat? Do they like to hit the snooze button on their alarm clock and, if so, how many times? The majority of our incoming freshmen don’t know who they want to live with, so we have a program that matches them up based on their profile questions.”
ALL IN THE DETAILS: “The top three things we focus on are smoking/nonsmoking, cleanliness, and sleep and study behaviors. If a nonsmoker can smell smoke on a roommate’s clothes, it can be frustrating. Or, similarly, we have athletes who are rowers who are getting up at six in the morning; if you are someone who wants to be in the library until 3 a.m., and your roommate gets up at six, I would say that’s a major problem.”
A BAD MATCH: “If a student is having a roommate issue, our resident assistants (RAs) encourage them to speak to their roommates about it. Our RAs are trained in a roommate mediation process. When the students move in, they actually sign an agreement among themselves, including who is going to buy what, whether borrowing is allowed, etc. The RA goes back to that original agreement to see where the conflicts are. If necessary, we will swap a roommate, but we try and teach the students how to work through the problem because they need those life skills.”
THE LARGER PICTURE: “Our office tries to help develop the students as individuals. When they come in as freshmen there are many things they have never done—right down to laundry, cooking, or living with other people. Even communicating face-to-face, in this Internet age, is a skill they may not have developed. While it’s great to talk on Facebook, you have to learn how to live with someone, and how to work through not-so-great relationships. That goes for res life, work, or social gatherings. We look at the larger picture, which is developing yourself through those relationships.”
MOVE-IN DAY: “It is actually my favorite day of the year at Fordham. The entire Residential Life staff is here from 6:30 a.m. through the night hours making sure that everyone has a pleasant move-in experience, [and]that various Fordham community members collaborate to give our new students and families the ultimate welcome into the Fordham family.”
LIFELONG LEARNING: Amico, a native of New Jersey, is earning her master’s degree in elementary education from the Graduate School of Education. She hopes to graduate next year in a field that has provided her with insight into the ways in which the new generations of freshmen are growing up. “The degree has actually helped me to understand our students better,” she said.
— Janet Sassi