Foto Friday: From Parking Lot to Housing

I decided on today’s photo after a conversation with a friend on Twitter (Shoutout to @Ben_Huff!) about my experiences with Housing.Now to be upfront, I have limited direct experiences with Housing but what I do have is quite unique. My undergraduate campus was 100% commuter when I was attending. With only about 6,000 students at the time, we were one of the smallest public colleges in Michigan.My final year as an undergrad I began my first professional job with the college as an events specialist for our campus’ Institutional Advancement Division. That year, the university announced that it had finally been decided to build our first residential hall. While we were all ecstatic about the decision, the decided location broke the hearts of many of our campus community. It would be built…over the most popular parking lot on campus….and thus is where the photo comes into play. 🙂

Courtesy of Brian D. Proffer

Courtesy of Brian D. Proffer

As all college students, staff and faulty member know, parking is a premium on our campuses, and UM-Flint was no different. When the decision to build the housing facility on the lot, protests, petitions and “conversations” exploded across campus. I was on the ground floor of the planning and executing of the event. We muddled through the protests, concerns and petitions to eventually host the Groundbreaking Ceremony in July of 2007. In commemoration of our heartbreaking loss, our T-Shirts commemorated our long time and dearly departing parking lot with the phrase: “Love what you’ve done with the parking lot”.

Courtesy of Brian D. Proffer

Courtesy of Brian D. Proffer

The day itself was festive and perfect for an outside celebration that marked the beginning of a new phase, and even dare I say era, for the University of Michigan-Flint. And the biggest task I had was designing and putting the ribbons on our shovels (which for some reason was quite a process to get designed and approved). But don’t they look beautiful? 😉

Groundbreaking 2007 003

Courtesy of Brian D. Proffer

Shortly after that ceremony, budget cuts rained down from the state capitol and I lost my job with our Special Events Office but was quickly picked up by the Office of Student Life for the purpose of building the foundation for resources and programs for both our growing commuter population and soon to be residential population.

While I never was able to live in a residence hall or work within a residential hall office, being a part of the planning, preparing, creation, programming and transitioning to a residential campus is a unique and treasured experience I will always hold near and dear.

So there you have it. Today’s Foto Friday and also my unique experience with Housing and Residential Life. 🙂

Until next time!

Peace, Love and Pandas!

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About bdproffer

I am currently the Assistant Manager for the University Activities Board at Michigan State University. After earning my B.A. from the University of Michigan-Flint, I entered the Student Affairs profession. After a few years in the field, I returned to school and earned my M.A. in Educational Leadership-Higher Education Student Affairs from Eastern Michigan University. In my spare time I blog about my thoughts and musings on current issues in higher education, student affairs, web 2.0, LGBT issues and general life inspirations and observations. I also volunteer for Kappa Sigma Fraternity.
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