VSU has a new housing and residence life director.
Dr. Ricky Clark joined the university in January and plans to make several changes.
Before Dr. Clark joined Blazer Nation, he worked for housing at Mercer University for 13 years. He received his bachelor’s degree in history from the University of Southern Mississippi, his master’s in college student personnel administration from the University of Central Arkansas and his doctorate in educational leadership from Mercer University.
Dr. Clark has devised numerous plans to make the residence and living atmosphere more suitable for VSU students. He hopes for students to begin forming community relationships with each other and be given opportunities for new experiences.
“We have several lounges, kitchens and other common areas in the residence halls for students to collaborate,” Dr. Clark said. “I would like housing staff to host floor dinners, game nights and study sessions to contribute to social and personal development and create memorable experiences.”
He wishes to create a welcoming environment for fundamental friendships, saying spending time with peers outside of class is important to form strong bonds.
Students living on campus already have occasional meetings with their resident assistants, regarding their experiences during the school year that focus on potential improvement and academic success. Dr. Clark now wants to conduct surveys to ensure students enjoy the quality of their living conditions.
“We value our students’ experiences and want to allow them to offer suggestions, concerns and ideas regarding what they would like to see while living on campus,” Dr. Clark said. “I plan to create a satisfaction survey and host focus groups to gather feedback.”
Student safety is also a top priority for Dr. Clark. Making sure that students living on campus feel safe and secure is important to him.
“I would like our students living in the residence halls to be active participants in creating this safe environment,” Dr. Clark said. “I would like for our students to report any suspicious activity, safety concerns or potential hazards to the housing staff or University Police Department. I want to make sure residents are aware of our emergency response procedures, including fire drills, inclement weather and other crisis responses in case of an emergency.”
With the abundant changes occurring at VSU, costs are shifting for housing. Many options for living are increasing in price for the next school year.
“Much research and analysis go into the decision to increase rates,” Dr. Clark said. “Campus housing facilities must be maintained so that they are safe, functional and conducive to student living and learning. A university is also subject to inflation and rising costs of goods and services, like utilities and labor. Housing operations can be adversely affected by these rising costs. Renovations of existing housing facilities are necessary to improve university housing options.”
Written by Jenna Arnold, Staff Reporter. Photo courtesy of VSU.