University Housing at the University of Illinois

Letter from our Director - Alma R. Sealine

The 2015-2016 academic year was full of speculation and opportunities as the major headline was the state budget and funding crisis. In the midst of the uncertainty, University Housing continued its dedication to creating communities that transform student lives. As we reflect on the work of this past year, we are continually reminded of the importance of the undergraduate residential experience within the University of Illinois experience. We have responded to crises, helped students find their voices, become more financially efficient, celebrated the legacy of former leaders, and continued to prepare for the future.

The impact of no state budget was close to the minds of everyone in higher education within the state. In University Housing, we successfully addressed increased enrollment, which led to increased occupancy, not only in the residence halls, but also within our apartment community. Due to our attention to increasing our efficiencies, we were also able to initiate several renovation projects – Pennsylvania Avenue Residence Halls (PAR) individual restroom project, repurposing common lounge furniture, and equipment replacement – to name a few. Work continued on the most exciting building projects, Wassaja Hall, named after the university’s first Native American graduate, Wassaja (Carlos Montezuma). We expect to open the building in August 2016 and are planning a special dedication with the Yavapai Tribe to celebrate Wassaja’s contributions to our campus and the nation.

There were many opportunities this past year that reaffirmed our commitment to the success of every student. Here is a list of just three of those experiences this year. The Central Black Student Union planned a regional conference, Being Black at a Predominately White Institution, which encouraged dialogue and action for our students and staff of color. The Student Dining and Residential Program space (SDRP) became the home to the I-Flag installation of 196 flags from countries that are represented within the United Nations. This was the result of a collaboration between an Ag Ed 480 Collaborative Leadership class and our facilities team. The department also established a Housing Advisory Committee with representation from faculty, staff, and students to help guide the strategic direction of the department.

We had much to celebrate this year, including the success of students within the residential experience, the hard work of our talented staff, and the future that we wish to give to the next generation at the university. Jacob Akstins became the first recipient of the Dr. John E. Collins Community Excellence Award which recognized his contributions and dedication to the residential community. Dawn Aubrey, Associate Director of Housing for Dining Services, was one of six university recipients of the Chancellor’s Academic Professional Excellence Award (CAPE). Also, University Housing received the Governor’s Sustainability Award. It has been an exciting year of celebrations within the department and we are reminded regularly that our greatest strength is the commitment and hard work of our dedicated staff.

As we look to the future of University Housing, we are reminded every day that we will need to find new ways to respond to the changing dynamics within the state, the nation, and the world. We have experienced great accomplishments, and have responded to some great challenges throughout this year. We look forward to the many opportunities next year brings for our students, our staff, our department, and the university.

I would encourage you to read through our annual report to learn more about our many accomplishments this past year.

All my best –

ALMA R. SEALINE - Director of University Housing

Sealine is responsible for leading, planning, and directing the complete operations of University Housing, a unit within the Division of Student Affairs.

University Housing
University of Illinois at Champaign-Urbana

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