by Skye Donaldson
The residence hall of Alma Gatewood is full of freshman, and college freshman can be scary.
What can be scarier is living with them. Resident Director Brandon Langeland is the perfect person to reign in all these freshmen.
The Job of a Resident Director
He oversees the living arrangements for 132 residents, most of who have never lived on a college campus before. New environments yield experiences; whether the experiences are good or bad depends on the resident and sometimes even the resident director.
Langeland checks security tapes, checks the late night log, confirms fix-it tickets are getting taken care of, fills out paperwork, reads community interaction logs, and settles disputes between residents. And on top of that, he is always on call.
Langeland handles all these duties, while also interacting well with students. Though that isn’t to say that after almost three years, there isn’t a healthy amount of stress in his day-to-day life.
“When I find out [how to unwind], I will let you know,” Langeland said jokingly.
For a job such as his, it is tough to find ways to relieve pent up feelings. Everyday is filled with residential issues, many of which could probably be solved by the residents themselves, which makes them even more frustrating. Disputes must be settled and unhappy residents are to be heard, paperwork has to be filed and policies must be upheld.
Housing arrangements are to be made — which is important so that roommates mesh well with each other instead of pulling out each other’s hair. “I stress about that perhaps more than I should because I know what an important thing it is to have a really good roommate. I want to make sure that everyone is teamed up with their new best friend,” he said.
A Part of the RC Community
Langeland takes part in RC’s SOS Team, which aims to help students with academic success and life in general. He works with ACE Lab personnel to find ways to help students who need any kind of assistance.
He works in Student Development and works closely with campus minister, Chris Shields to better allocate campus ministry’s focus on students. Langeland is also a liaison to the theatre department, where he teaches a class or two. On top of that, he acts with the Professional Actor’s Company.
Before Langeland came to RC, he worked as a physical therapist at ATI Physical Therapy. While at ATI, he worked as an adjunct, teaching part time. Langeland was looking to find a full-time position at RC and found it finally at the Resident Director’s position. Now, he is at the end of his third year at RC.
Overall, he says staying fresh and cool is a matter of balance. For Langeland, it is sometimes a matter of not thinking about any one subject for too long. Sometimes, it is a matter of taking your mind off certain things and his friends and family work well for this.
Help Around Campus
His beagle, Minnie, helps with staying sane. Minnie likes to lick the hands of anyone she meets. Langeland says, “She’s very melodramatic and takes it very seriously when people get mad at her.” When Langeland gives any impression of scolding or punishment, she hides from him. But she does work well with the residents and provides a homey atmosphere.
With everything that Langeland does, his resident advisers can help out with things he can’t cover.
Bringing the Community Together
Senior accounting major and current resident adviser, Sarah Tomkowiak said, “No other RD have I known opens their door during open house or during the day to have residents stop by to talk if they want. He also will hear something in the lobby and come hang out with us. To him, we aren't just students he has to babysit, but people who are worth taking the time out to get to know and spend time with.”
Langeland’s inclusiveness comes as no surprise; Brandon is a man of family. With friends and family scattered across the nation, he still finds time to talk with close friends and visit family.
Brandon has the innate ability to connect with students by using what he knows about them and their habits to benefit the student as they travel through their freshman year.
Junior ministry major John Hogan puts it well when he says, “[Brandon] has a servant heart and a lot of caring for everyone.”