Student activities director applauds campus involvement

By Joshua Schoenecker-Prilliman, Guest Writer

I have been fortunate during my time at Newman University, not only as a student from 2010-2014 but also as an employee for the past two years. What has made my time special has nothing to do with where we are in the world but everything to do with who it is we share our spaces with. 

During my short time here so far, I have had the pleasure of working with some of the most amazing people I have ever had the luck of meeting. I was very fortunate to run into Newman President Dr Kathleen Jagger at my last place of employment before Newman, and I was even more lucky to fall into a position as a Newman admissions counselor that allowed me to work with Christy Hawks (dean of admissions) and Georgia Drewes (senior associate director of admissions.) As part of that team, we were always the most successful when we worked together to make our visions come to life; when everyone picked up their piece of the load and carried it to the finish line. 

I am sure it was no easy task when Christy, over a few months, convinced me to apply for my current position. It takes a lot for someone to be willing to give up an employee from their area of campus, but she felt like I belonged working alongside Dean of Students Andi Giesen and Director of Multicultural Engagement and Campus Life Katherine Reynoso. 

I have worked with members of the Campus Activities Board – Sal Romp, Kaylie Kovach and Adrian Muhabuki – to create events and experiences that students will love, including the St. Newman Celebration, Breakfast and Bingo, the Color Run, and most recently, our Second Annual Trivia Night as part of Giving Day. 

I say all this because all of these things have taken a whole group to make them all successful beyond what we planned; beyond what we had prepared for. The CAB team has taken hold of the vision I have had for Student Life, and they have run as far and as fast as they can while working with anyone who wants to bring the campus together. 

Candace Davis from Academic Affairs came out in the depths of winter to throw color on runners during the Color Run in December and made her way to the basketball court in January to play dodgeball with the coaches and students – and then proceeded to pay for a table of students to play trivia. People like James Sanny from University Relations and Theatre Director Mark Manette helped create the intro video to Trivia Night, and Andi, her husband Bill, Interim Vice President of Enrollment Management Ron Headings, and Director of Adult and Professional Studies Teresa Wilkerson gave their time to keep scores straight for a few hours, and all the while, there was a large number of Newman faculty and staff that all came out not only to test their pop culture knowledge alongside students and the larger Newman Community beyond our campus but also to also support a Student Life event. And Father Adam and Emily Simon of Campus Ministry have always been willing to lend a hand in whatever event CAB is planning, even the yet-to-happen bonfire. 

It all comes down to the fact that we all need each other to succeed, and we all need each other to grow beyond our current state. The real reason anything succeeds here is that we are all there to be a part of it, and we are all willing to pitch in because the university does not work without all of us doing just a little more. 

Without everyone believing in the vision, nothing can truly grow because then we are forced to grow apart into smaller and scattered communities. My job has been life fulfilling because of who I have gotten to work with and work alongside. 

So to anyone who has helped make my job easier and fulfilling, I thank you from the bottom of my heart, and I can not wait to see what we all do next! I could not have done any of it without all of you being willing and able to participate, and I can not thank you all enough for making my job the most special position I have ever held. 

Newman University is not special just because it exists. It is special because of the people we get to share it with.

PHOTO: Matthew Fowler, A&E Editor