Northeast opens new residence hall, welcomes new residence life coordinator


NORFOLK – Fenway Park is more than just an iconic baseball park in Boston. It’s also the name of Northeast Community College’s new residence life coordinator for the campus’s recently opened Path Hall.

Originally from Indiana, Fenway Park explains that while he is indeed a Red Sox fan, he doesn’t consider himself an expert on them. “Some people think, ‘Oh, you’re a Red Sox fan, and you’re named after the stadium. You should know every stat, every player and watch every game.’ And I don’t have time for that. I’ve been in school and everything,” he says with a laugh.

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Park recently graduated with a Master of Arts in Higher Education from Geneva College in Beaver Falls, Pennsylvania, where he specialized in working with first year students as a graduate assistant. He says he oversaw Geneva College’s freshman welcome week and orientation and also developed first year curriculum for a learning and transition course, which he also taught. “My heart has always been with working with freshmen and sophomores.”

In his role as Northeast’s newest residence life coordinator, Park will meet with students, work with resident assistants and student assistants to develop programming and ensure a safe environment in Path Hall.

The 63,000 square foot residence hall can accommodate 191 students, and the adjoining 30,000 square foot dining facility, Hawks Point, provides space for approximately 450 students. Named for Dr. Bill Path, who served as president of Northeast from 2001-2011, Path Hall joins Simon and Burkhardt Halls and the two student apartment complexes to offer approximately 540 beds on campus.

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Park says that while it’s unusual for a residence life coordinator to start a new job in a brand new building, he’s excited to see how students will acclimate to Path Hall. “I really think they’ll be able to call it home because they have a great living space.”

The new facility includes single bedroom and double bedroom suites, with four residents living in each suite. Study lounge spaces are available on all three floors, and a communal kitchen area on the first floor is situated near a laundry room.

In addition to student and private dining areas, the dining hall includes meeting rooms, a student lounge, exercise space and a wireless, open computer lab. A convenience store also offers students access to late night coffee, snacks and other personal supplies.

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As a residence life coordinator, Park is particularly interested in encouraging more students to choose to live on campus, and in co-curricular study, student learning that goes beyond typical college coursework. “What kind of programs are we doing so students are learning outside of the classroom as well?”

Park says he was also drawn to Northeast’s student-centered approach to education. “The College’s mission of student success really aligned with my education philosophy. It’s really important that we are setting students up to be successful,” he says. “I’m coming to Nebraska for this position I’m really excited about. And the school’s doing really great things for their students.”

When he first arrived in Nebraska, Park says people asked him what he thought of the drive up from Omaha. His answer? “I loved it.” Park grew up in a rural community in Indiana, and “when I came out here for my on-campus visit, I just felt at home.”

And that’s exactly the message Park hopes to convey to the new residents of Path Hall. “Creating a sense of community, a sense of belongingness. You’re here, we’re happy you’re here.”

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