Arguably one of the trickiest parts of planning a safe return to our Endicott College campus has been housing. Assistant Director of Housing Operations Corie Quill has been one of the preeminent figures helping to make sure that transition is smooth and comfortable for all. From the moment when the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic changed our lives and every day since, she has led her team forward with confidence and class, and has also collaborated with others on campus to ensure a bright future for our residential academic community.
Back when COVID-19 first sent our students home, Quill’s office rushed forward to help them get home and stay connected during the period of remote learning. Quill says, “Continuing to effectively operate as a department throughout the fast-paced and constantly changing circumstances, exacerbated by the COVID-19 pandemic, showcased our staff members' adaptability, innovative thinking, and the ability to work as a cohesive unit to achieve a common goal: continuing to support our students remotely and keep them safe as we navigated the transition from on-campus to remote.”
The sudden decision dictated by the world’s state gave Quill’s team an interesting opportunity to design new processes. She explains, “The Office of Residence Life had to design a move out process that would allow our students to return to campus to retrieve their belongings while limiting the number of individuals within our residence halls to promote social distancing and keep students and staff safe. The move-out appointment calendars created to stagger the move-out process ensured that no more that 10 individuals were in a building at a given time. Through collaboration with Public Safety & Campus Police and Physical Plant, our office was able to safely and successfully move-out over 2,600 students in two months.” Quill noted that she will be forever thankful to her staff for helping her achieve the monumental task.
But remote or not, the work did not end when the semester closed. Quill says, “While moving our students out during the pandemic was a major undertaking it was not the only task the Office of Residence Life needed to accomplish. Throughout the remainder of the spring semester our office needed to move forward with large-scale operations such as the housing selection process.”
That process, which typically includes many on-campus educational events about housing options and roommate matching was suddenly an online affair that necessitated new ideas to achieve success. “Our staff was committed to ensuring that our students were prepared for this important process, understood how to navigate the process well, and were provided with necessary resources. They dove into creating step-by-step tutorial videos of the housing selection process and videos of the rooms within our residence halls so that students were better informed when selecting housing. A housing hotline was created so that students were able to text in questions at any time of day and several Zoom sessions took place to answer any ‘what-if’ scenarios.”
It should be noted that several of Quill’s team members are 10-month hires. The work that they put in was well beyond the call of duty, and even so, while those individuals were at home they put in time in other areas. For instance, one is a member of the Diversity, Equity, & Inclusion Task Force and another is an advisor for the Alliance.
Beyond those “typical” efforts, Quill and her team have spent much of the summer working on the next big push—return to campus. She says, “Throughout the summer our office has been working to promote a safe return to campus for our students. The addition of the Wylie Inn as a residence hall as well as our off-campus leased apartments has allowed us to de-densify most of our expanded occupancy spaces.”
She continues, “We have been re-evaluating how our professional staff and resident assistants will continue to support students, host engaging programs, and enforce campus policies while ensuring safety and promoting social distancing measures. It has been a fast-moving and tumultuous several months, but our staff has met these new circumstances and obstacles with fortitude and a willingness to get the necessary work done.”
The Office of Residence Life and everyone at Endicott are excited for the addition of the Wylie Inn & Conference Center. The space is functional and professional, which means that it can offer housing and wide-open space for larger classes. It is a welcome option that we believe students will really enjoy as a part of their Endicott experience.
Quill explaining how the Wylie Inn & Conference Center
will be utilized to house students this fall.“The changing circumstances of the pandemic made the need for more spaces essential. Attaining the Wylie Inn for use as a residential space for our students has been a significant plus for our department,” says Quill.
And with hard work comes career progress. Quill notes, “Another positive occurrence that took place this summer was that we were able to make our Residence Directors ‘Area Directors’ and consider them 12-month employees. As Residence Directors are ten-month employees and do not work throughout the summer months, this presented a challenge for our department to tackle important summer tasks with only an Assistant Director and one Area Director working in the summer. The summer months for the Office of Residence Life are always busy and the additional challenges of a global pandemic made it even more so. Hiring three additional staff members to assist our office in the work that needs to get done has been immensely helpful.”
Of course, we are currently living in a different kind world so though plans are in place for fall, still more plans must be made. Quill says, “We are continuing to prepare for the fall semester as we normally would, but with many unknowns and the understanding that guidelines can change in an instant, we are developing contingency plans for a multitude of scenarios as well as multi-layered policies and procedures in order to prepare for changes that may arise.”
Quill has been leading the efforts, but truly believes the return to campus is a team effort. “This fall semester will be a new challenge that our staff is ready to take on together. It takes a team to successfully overcome these challenging times and this includes the entire Endicott College community. Present circumstances aside, our goal has always been to support all of our students, prepare them for their future, and ensure the safety and security of the entire Endicott community.”
We are thankful for Quill, an essential member of our Endicott community.