With a goal and a plan in mind, Mark Stier, new director of residential living, has set his focus on making things happen in residential living at Washburn.
Stier came to Washburn with the goal of increasing the popularity of living on campus. While the university is already at 83 percent of capacity with 559 of 674 available spots filled, Stier said he would like to see Washburn dorms at full capacity.
“My goal is that three years from now we have a waiting list of students [for the dorms],” said Stier.
While his family is still in Tampa, Fla., preparing for the move up to Topeka, Stier is getting a first-hand look at living on campus by staying in the Washburn Village. Having compared apartment complexes students often frequent around campus, Stier said he could easily say he believed what the university could offer to students would be superior.
“It’s not just a bed and a desk and a place to hang out between classes,” said Stier. “It’s a community, it’s a home.”
Another major advantage students living on campus have is immediate access to all of the university resources, like library and computer capabilities, 24-hour security, not to mention food service and simply being closer to class, said Stier.
“People want to live off campus because they think it is more freedom,” said Stier. “But to be honest, I think you have just as much freedom on campus.”
In the long run, he believed students would actually end up saving money by living on campus. When considering variables, such as food, gas, rent, utilities and time spent commuting to campus, Stier believed it was a financially smart move for students to live on campus.
Previously the assistant vice president of student affairs at St. Leo University in Tampa, Stier said he has 15 years of combined experience in student life in one form or another. What attracted him to Washburn was the size, the fact that it is a public university and the staff.
“The staff portrayed a very family, community feeling,” said Stier. “That’s important in this field.”
For the most part Stier is happy with the facilities available to students on campus. The only one that did worry him were the condition of the two fraternity houses on campus, Kappa Sigma and Phi Delta Theta.
“Students need to be in a safe environment,” said Stier. “I think one thing we need to do is to make sure those two buildings are appropriate for students to live in without having to worry about them.”