Hamline News

September 14, 2011

Javier Gutierrez Talks About How His Team Helps Students Feel Right at Home

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Living on campus can be one of the definitive college experiences, and Hamline's director of residential life, Javier Gutierrez, wants to make sure students can make the most out of it.

With 896 students currently living in a residence hall, apartment, or Hamline-managed house, there is no doubt he is a busy man. Between supervising staff, managing day-to-day challenges, and collaborating with many offices on campus, Gutierrez also takes time to meet with students and hear about their experiences.

“Sometimes they come in for different problems they’re having, but we usually end up building a good relationship,” Gutierrez said. “I really enjoy that my job allows me to work with students on a regular basis.”

Hamline’s residential life policies have for many years included best practices that other institutions are only now adapting. Perhaps most central to this model is inclusiveness. Hamline is a diverse university and creates a welcoming and supportive atmosphere in its residence falls for all groups, from international students to those that identify as LGBT. Students are also offered fun, community-building programming throughout the year.

“We want everyone to be able to call this place their home,” Gutierrez said.

But Gutierrez is perhaps the most proud of his staff; area coordinators, assistant area coordinators, and residence advisors (RAs).

“They’re the ones making impact in students’ lives on a daily basis,” Gutierrez said. “We have an excellent leadership program in our office. Three alums who were on my staff last year have gone on to be hired in student affairs positions at other institutions.”

Larger first year classes over the past several years has led residential life to collaborate with facilities services to convert new areas into living spaces.

“It was a challenge, but also a team effort,” Gutierrez said. “I asked the RAs to help me find places that they’d want to live in. Everything we do is with student input and with the students in mind.”

Want to find out more about living on campus? You'll find more information on the Residential Life web page.