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Anggie Gabriel receives state housing award

Southwestern Michigan College William M. White Residence Hall Manager Anggie Gabriel returned from the Great Lakes Association of College and University Housing Officers with the Outstanding Entry Level Professional Award for Michigan presented at GLACUHO’s annual conference in Indianapolis. GLACUHO spans four states, Michigan, Illinois, Indiana and Ohio. Its more than 40 Michigan institutions include Ferris State University, Grand Valley State University, Michigan State University, University of Michigan, Western Michigan University, Central Michigan University and Andrews University.

Gabriel, 26, White Hall RHM since July 1, 2015, provided continuity and leadership during the transition between Jason Wilt, who had been housing director since SMC’s first residence hall opened in 2009, to Housing Director Jeffery Hooks’ January arrival.

Hooks nominated Gabriel, who has a master’s degree from Grand Valley, a bachelor’s degree from Kalamazoo College and studied abroad in Rome in 2011.

“Jeff told me he nominated me, but I never thought I would win,” Gabriel said. “This is the first time I attended the conference” Nov. 12-14. “Entry-level means five years or less fulltime experience working in housing or residence life.”

“Like many professionals in this field, I fell into student affairs,” said Gabriel, who grew up in Grosse Pointe. “When I originally went to college, I was determined to be a psychology major and ended up in history. I wanted to be a Latin historian. One of my mentors recommended I look into student affairs because I was highly involved in my campus. I went to an MCPA conference (Michigan branch of ACPA — College Student Educators International) and got my Grand Valley degree in college student affairs leadership.

“What I really love about it is making a daily impact in people’s lives,” Gabriel said. “One of the things I love so much about SMC is that it’s a small department, so I get to work directly with 130 different students and help them navigate who they are and where they’re going with their lives. I never thought I was going to fall in love with housing and residence life as much as I have while working here at SMC. This is not about me, but rather the students I serve.”

As RHM, “A large portion of what I do is meet with students to talk about their academics. As a community college, our students sometimes come in academically or socially unprepared for a large four-year institution, or they’re looking for a better financial option. I get great opportunities to talk with them about how their classes are going, have they connected with their professors, do they need extra tutoring and how to navigate the college process, since many are first-generation college students. I help them figure out who to talk to at the CPC (Career Planning Center).

“Another portion is safety and security of the building,” Gabriel said, “making sure things are clean and put away and doors that are supposed to be locked stay locked. Also, the social aspect of putting on educational, engaging programs.”

Gabriel found useful conference sessions on gamification to engage students and how to create a more student-based selection process for RAs (resident assistants on each floor).

SMC RHMs also include Alicia Wicks, Thomas F. Jerdon Hall; and Tiffany Lockwood, Keith H. McKenzie Hall.