By: Rachel Hall
Beth Sculley, a resident from Newburgh, N.Y., has taken the role of North Staff Community Coordinator. Sculley began her new job on Nov. 18 and, prior to coming to Viterbo, Sculley was a full-time graduate student at Boston College in Chestnut Hill, Mass.
“I was really looking at small Catholic schools” and “Viterbo fit that profile,” Sculley told Lumen.
Viterbo is the smallest college (with 1400 full-time undergraduate students) in which Sculley has been employed, but she finds the environment to be quite welcoming. “People are very nice, very friendly. [Viterbo’s] certainly a very tight knit family. People know your face, not just your name from an e-mail,” Sculley said.
Sculley attended Le Moyne College, a school in Syracuse, N.Y. with an undergraduate population of 2,800, where she graduated with a bachelor’s of arts in sociology. She received a master’s of arts in higher education with a Catholic university leadership concentration from Boston College, which has an undergraduate population of 8,700.
While at Le Moyne, Sculley was a resident adviser, writing tutor, research assistant and teaching assistant. Also, Sculley was a summer conference manager for the Office of Residence Life (ORL) at Loyola University in New Orleans, La.
“I spent the two years immediately after graduating from college serving in the Jesuit Volunteer Corps. The Jesuit Volunteer Corps is a full-time volunteer service program for recent college grads that is focused around four values: simple living, community, social justice and spirituality.
“Through the program, volunteers are placed at an agency or a school where they work full-time for the year,” Scully said. “I worked at Cristo Rey Boston High School in their corporate work study office my first year. I worked my second year in Detroit at a program called Boys Hope Girls Hope,” Sculley said.
Originally, Viterbo planned to have someone selected by Oct. 1, Vickie Unferth, director of Residence Life, told Lumen. However, the search took more time than anticipated.
The interviewing process was made up of three components: the initial screening, a telephone interview and an on-campus interview. After the search committee reviewed over 20 applicants, Sculley was selected as the new addition to the ORL.
Sculley made the move to La Crosse via car. “I really had the freedom to move anywhere” and the move “was a chance to explore a part of the country that I haven’t had a chance to explore before,” Sculley said.
She has noticed a few differences between the East Coast and Midwest. “I definitely notice the upper Minnesota accent” and “the people, in general, are much friendlier here. There’s a much more relaxed lifestyle” Sculley said.
“Particularly when I am driving or waiting in line at a store, I notice people are just much less in a rush here. They are just more willing to take their time. I am actually learning to be less aggressive and more patient when I am driving.
“Also, at stores and restaurants, I have noticed people who wait on you are just more chatty and willing to talk and answer questions and have less of an efficiency approach,” Sculley said.
Another difference between the East Coast and Midwest lies in the values, Sculley said. “When I came back from my interview at Viterbo, people were asking me how I liked La Crosse, and the first thing I said was ‘it seemed like a great place to raise a family.’
“La Crosse seems to be a relatively safe place, with low crime, compared to other places I have lived. I have also not noticed the large disparities in social class and wealth to the same extent that I have observed in other cities,” Sculley said.
Sculley is still trying to distinguish what is unique to the Midwest versus Viterbo, and Wisconsin in general.
However, Sculley is learning more about Viterbo’s policies and the students as she works. “[The job]’s getting better every day,” Scully said. She feels like “more and more a part of the students and staff here” as she is “getting to know people.”
At Viterbo, Sculley’s role includes supervising the north staff (Bonaventure, Treacy and Clare buildings), coordinating freshman move-in, sending out the monthly parent newsletter, participating in on-call nights, responding to emergencies and handling room switches and meal plan changes, Unferth said.
A community coordinator must have great attention to detail, work as part of a team, be creative, like working with students, be flexible and available, easily adjust and interact well with staff and students, she added.