Resident Advisors (RAs) are an important part of student life. One can serve as both a friend and resource throughout the stressors we face on a daily basis. Another equally important part of the residential life team are the Resident Life Coordinators (RLCs), who assemble the staff and work closely with them to ensure that residential life operations run smoothly. This year, Colorado College was lucky enough to welcome Luis Valdez of Santa Fe, N.M. as the new RLC for Loomis.
Valdez attended school in Albuquerque, N.M., and eventually ended up as a Residence Director at Portland State University. He’d always dreamed of seeing the Northwest and, while he loved his time there, a desire to live somewhere sunnier and closer to his family drew Valdez back to the Southwest. Though he was very familiar with New Mexico, Valdez said CC was particularly “intriguing.”
Valdez applied for the RLC position at CC in 2015 among a fairly competitive pool of applicants. When Valdez contacted CC again this past year, there was another opening for the RLC position. He fell in love with CC all over again upon reapplying, especially after working in higher education.
The previous RLC occupying this position assembled a strong staff before her departure. The staff is comprised of a mixture of mostly sophomores and some juniors, coming from all facets of campus life. The Loomis RAs for the 2017-2018 year are Kristie Shirley, Lili Uchida, Anna Gilbertson, Beau Carlborg, David Figel, Isabel Young, Jordan Ellison, Nicole Chaney, Sophie Quick, Will Haslett, and Anthony Rodriguez.
Valdez was extremely happy and fortunate to inherit this team. “Throughout training I remember being consistently more and more impressed with the staff in terms of their depth,” said Valdez. He reminisced about his first impressions of them as “great people”. By listening to them ask questions, give answers, and approach problems, he really got to know them. Valdez went on to say how often people allow the RA job to consume them, but that these students are self-aware. “They know the job, do the job, but also have their own lives,” he said. Valdez is also able to see their personalities flourish in how they approach the position. He provides expectations, not guidelines, so that the staff members are able to approach situations how they see fit and in congruence to who they are as people.
Valdez is thankful for the CC students taking advantage of every opportunity. He is a huge advocate for a healthy work, life, and self-care balance. He appreciates that the staff are multifaceted in that “they have multiple identities to wear and they don’t let this one engulf their others.”
As far as what makes an ideal RA, he values communications skills. People often assume RAs must be extroverted, but the staff, in the eyes of Valdez, is a great mixture of extroverts and introverts. They are of high integrity and intentionality and he appreciates people that don’t take things too seriously, which makes this group particularly strong. “I try not to make it feel like a desk job,” Valdez said. He wants to have fun with his work and believes one should be able to have an in-depth conversation and then turn around and also have a sense of humor.
Valdez emphasizes that the staff puts their hearts into their work to lead to success. That is how relationships, programs, and communities are built. The passion behind those running these communities is what makes it flourish. Valdez’s appreciation for his staff is mutual. David Figel, the 1 West RA whose residents’ doors are decorated with dog memes, was quick to say praise Luis. “You can really interact with him—both professionally and unprofessionally—very easily,” Figel said. “This makes the work relationship much stronger because you can go to him for more personal advice too.”
As mentioned, part of the reason Valdez moved back to the Southwest was because of how close he is with his family. The value of close community is important for his team and residents, and many Loomis RAs put Loomis as their top choice specifically for its strong sense of community. Valdez is still new on campus, so if you find yourself in Loomis, stop by and say hello.