By Kristen Linsalata
Assistant News Editor
For the 2014-2015 academic year, LIU Post has created a new administrative office to oversee all aspects of campus life. Previously, the Office of Student Life & Leadership and the Office of Residence Life have operated separately, each with its own director and staff. This summer, those two departments have been merged into one department called Campus Life, under the leadership of Michael Berthel, the new Director of Campus Life.
Campus Life is a new way of thinking about the student experience at LIU Post,” said Michael Berthel, who joined the university in 2010 as an Associate Director at the Office of Student Life and Leadership. “Our goal is to make sure that students are enjoying their time on campus, and that includes their time in the residence halls,
at campus events, and in our clubs and Greek organizations. Student Life and Leadership and Residence Life worked closely in the past, and we wanted to formalize that partnership in order to build a vibrant and exciting campus life for all of our students.”
Berthel stated that the main motivation behind making this change was the desire to create more of a team approach in engaging students; as well as addressing all of the needs and interests of students on campus, and creating new initiatives that will benefit everyone. Under this new concept, Residence Hall Directors will now be called “Campus Life Coordinators,” and they will be focusing on providing programs, services, and opportunities that will make attending Post memorable for both residential students and commuter students alike.
“First, I want to make sure students understand the new model and how it will benefit them and the campus community,” said Berthel. “But my main goal, and the goal of our entire office, is to create a vibrant student experience. By focusing our efforts on the student experience as a whole, rather than looking at it in segments, we will be able to better serve all Post students.”
The combined office will now consist of 11 staff members, who will all be based in Hillwood Commons. In August, the Office of Residence Life was moved from Post Hall to the second floor of Hillwood, just above the Office of Student Life.
While Berthel is energetic and eager to start the new academic year as leader of the combined departments, student opinion is varied. Some claim that this is the just the change that LIU Post needs to rejuvenate the campus, the students, and the efficiency of the administration, while others are cautious about its benefit to students.
“I think that homogenizing Residence Life and Student Life into one is a really smart move,” said Katie Gambino, a junior Journalism major “I’m a fan of everything that makes the service of students simpler and easier.”
Others, however, claim that this change was necessary due to the onslaught of various members of the administration quitting, including former Director of Student Life, Alerie Tirsch, and the former Director and Assistant Director of Residence Life, Jennifer Fuoco and Sean Lazarus.
“I’m not so sure about this whole new Campus Life thing,” said Melanie Spina, a junior Sociology major and Journalism minor. “It was hard enough for [Residence Life and Student Life] to serve students before when they were separate and had even more people working for them. Now, with even less employees and only one department, I worry that it won’t be efficient.”
Although Spina is not resistant to change at Post and remains optimistic that it could possibly be a positive change for the campus, she has reservations about the outcome. Only time will tell if this new Campus Life office will transform Post into a more efficient and student- oriented campus.