Presidential ‘sleepovers’ in student housing

The sleepovers didn’t include traditional pajama party activities like curling each other’s hair…

Georgia (Aug 9, 2005) — Presidential ‘sleepovers’ in student housing

Frances Weyand

Abstract

Contact: Frances Weyand‚ 770−423−6203 or fweyand@kennesaw.edu

The sleepovers didn’t include traditional pajama party activities like curling each other’s hair and watching scary movies until dawn‚ but with pizza and popcorn flowing‚ 74−year−old Kennesaw State University President Betty L. Siegel spent five nights in student housing last spring‚ learning what students want out of a college experience.

The discussions revolved around issues such as the advantages/disadvantages of the physical layouts of their living space‚ what their academic experiences are like and extracurricular activities.

“This was her idea‚” Director of Residence Life Michael Sanseviro said. “The president really wanted to hear directly from the students about their experiences.”

Siegel learned about a desire for students‚ faculty and staff to have more opportunities for interaction. That wish played out over the summer in a series of “Fabulous Friday EdVentures.” The classes — fun only‚ no grades involved — included activities such as a history hike up Kennesaw Mountain (a Civil War battle site) and a crash course in conversational Spanish. The Friday classes were open to all KSU students‚ faculty and staff. Another series will be announced this fall.

Sanseviro said the sleepovers “completely underscore the president’s commitment to the students‚” and the students agree.

“I think it was an incredible and wonderful opportunity that the students had to sit down and have dinner with the president of their university‚” Jennifer Roberts‚ a resident assistant at University Village‚ said. “Lots of students at other schools have never and will never see the president of their school. Her actions show that she truly cares about her school and her students.”

Added RA Adam Casey‚ “I have never heard of another president doing something like this. Dr. Siegel truly cares about her students!”

And‚ after 25 years as president‚ with Siegel’s retirement effective Jan. 1‚ it’s that care and commitment the campus community will look for in its next president.

“In my opinion‚ Dr. Siegel’s most significant legacy of the many she will leave at KSU is her absolute commitment to students and the concept of ‘student success‚’” Nancy King‚ vice president for student success and enrollment services‚ said. “Because of her leadership and passionate concern for students‚ we were the first university in the nation to create an entire division focused on student success.

“One would be hard pressed to find any university president in the nation who cares more deeply about the development and success of students than Dr. Betty Siegel. She will be sorely missed at KSU and students especially will be losing a major champion.”

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Kennesaw State University is a comprehensive‚ residential institution with a growing student population of 18‚000 from 132 countries. The third largest state university out of 34 institutions in the University System of Georgia‚ KSU offers more than 55 undergraduate and graduate degree programs.



A leader in innovative teaching and learning, Kennesaw State University offers more than 150 undergraduate, graduate and doctoral degrees to its approximately 38,000 students. With 13 colleges on two metro Atlanta campuses, Kennesaw State is a member of the University System of Georgia and the third-largest university in the state. The university’s vibrant campus culture, diverse population, strong global ties and entrepreneurial spirit draw students from throughout the region and from 92 countries across the globe. Kennesaw State is a Carnegie-designated doctoral research institution (R2), placing it among an elite group of only 6 percent of U.S. colleges and universities with an R1 or R2 status, and one of the 50 largest public institutions in the country. For more information, visit kennesaw.edu.

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