By Isabel Pease
Dan Moon (left) greets students during the House Calls eventOn an ordinary Wednesday evening in the middle of October, having freshly baked cookies delivered to their door was a welcome treat for freshman Leah Brown and her roommate. The fact that they were hand delivered by the Associate Vice President for Academic Affairs and Dean of Undergraduate Studies Daniel C. Moon, and the Director of Admissions Karen Lucas was pretty cool, too.
It was all part of the University’s first House Calls event where 89 faculty and staff members visited every first-year student’s room on campus to check in, see if they needed anything and answer any questions they may have. If the students weren’t home, they left a doorhanger with key information.
“I think this is awesome,” Brown said of the dorm visits. “It’s nice to know that they care.”
The event was a collaboration between the Provost’s Office, Enrollment Services and Housing and Residence Life.
Bob Boyle, director of Housing and Residence Life, said it is important to provide opportunities for students, particularly first-year students, to feel connected and comfortable on campus.
“It sends a message that it’s not just business as usual at UNF,” Boyle said of the House Calls event. “There are a lot of people here who care.”
In addition to the cookies, the two-person teams were equipped with lists of pertinent phone numbers, as well as raffle tickets for free UNF swag.
“House Calls was an incredible, collaborative partnership across the University community that was successful beyond our expectations,” said Cathy Cole, marketing and communication director in Enrollment Services, who coordinated the event. “The event was so successful and the response from students and volunteers so positive, that we will most certainly be hosting House Calls again – most likely each semester,” Cole said. She said that staff was able to follow up with many students on questions they had and challenges they were facing.
“House Calls is a critical university-wide initiative that helps with two of our performance-based metrics — retention and graduation rates,” Dan Moon said.
“During the two-hour event, faculty and staff engaged with students in their on-campus homes and gave them a chance to really connect outside of the classroom in a meaningful way. It is through activities like these that we are able to make a difference in the lives of individual students and help them to understand the resources they have available to them, the personnel on campus to assist them and that they are not alone during their four-year experience,” he said.
“They can start, stay and finish strong through programs like this.”