Making a difference

Amanda Bowyer often takes the long way through Brophy/McNerney Hall when she is going to visit one of the students she supervises. Being a residence hall director is more than a job, it’s a 24-7 commitment that sometimes keeps her up late and wakes her up early.

“You never know what you’re going to get or when something is going to happen,” said Bowyer. “You have the quiet days, where you just deal with things as simple as room changes, and then you have days that are exactly the opposite.”

Taking on this position, Bowyer has given up a “normal” life. She stays in an apartment that is right inside the Resident Hall she manages.

“I am on-call 24 hours a day, seven days a week. Even when I go home, I never really leave work,” said Bowyer. “I have my email hooked up to my phone, so whenever someone needs me, my staff or a resident, I will know right away,” she said.

Every day, Bowyer wakes up between 8 a.m. and 9 a.m. for work; depending how late she was awake dealing with a situation the night before.

“When you wake up, you’re not sure what type of day it’s going to be,” Bowyer said.

A day can be classified as a calm day when only minor things happen; no arguments, emergencies, or sudden disputes for anyone to deal with.

On the other hand, most residence halls cannot avoid the tough days. Bowyer said that during those days, it is hard to have enough time to deal with everything. There are constant meetings to attend, emergencies such as fights or substance abuse incidents spontaneously occurring and residents needing counseling or advice throughout the day.

Not only is Bowyer responsible for dealing with situations as they come, but she is also responsible for making connections and forming relationships with students.

“When I need to talk to a resident and I am on my way to see them, I like to take the long way to get to them. Why? Because when I do this, I get to see more students and build those connections,” said Bowyer.

When walking through the residence hall lobby, Bowyer can be spotted sitting playing Euchre or other board games with a handful of residents.

“It may not work a 100 percent of the time, but building friendships with the students keeps a lot of them out of trouble,” Bowyer said. “Instead of going to a party on the weekend, or drinking with friends in the rooms, some of the residents are sitting next to me playing board games; and that is a really rewarding feeling to know I am helping someone make a better life decision.”

Bowyer attended Central Michigan University for her undergraduate degree in Sociology with a concentration in Criminal and Social Justice.

There she worked as a Desk Attendant. This job was something that would help her to make a little extra cash on the side. Little did she know that this job would change her outlook on life.

While working, she observed the interactions between her hall director and the resident advisors living in her building. She was encouraged to apply for a Residence Life position, whether that be a Resident Advisor or a Desk Service Manager (DSM).

Bowyer applied for a DSM position. She continued to hold that position for two years, and then decided to try something different.

Bowyer came to a decision she wanted to apply for a RA position. She got hired and remained a RA for two more years.

“I loved it,” Bowyer recalled. “The chance to get to help people on that type of level was like nothing else I had ever done before.”

Bowyer then attended Texas A & M University Commerce for her Masters degree in Education with a concentration in Counseling Student Affairs. After graduating, Bowyer worked as a Hall Director for four and a half years.

Freshman Mike Pranger said, “She’s a hard working person that takes an interest in her residents. I look at her as a friend that I can sit around and play games with, or go to for advice. I couldn’t ask for a better hall director.” n