Monthly Archives: July 2016

Letter from the President- July

Hello WACUHO – happy summer!  I hope that you all are enjoying, or will enjoy, a vacation this summer – a respite from all the committed effort that we invest as housing professionals!

In response to recent acts of violence in the US I sent out a message to the membership last week.  The Executive Committee will be discussing ways that we can appropriately support and act in response to this current climate.

It is my great honor to serve as your President this year.  I hope that you’ll let me, or any member of the Executive Committee, know how we can serve you more effectively.  To this end, we are continuing our work with the Strategic Plan.  I’m excited about the projects we are continuing to work on this year; in particular, exploring a central-office or administrative support function and looking more closely at our awards.  I expect we’ll have an update for the membership at the annual business meeting with these projects.  In upcoming meetings of the Executive Committee, we’ll settle on other aspects of the plan that we’ll pursue this year and assign members to task groups.  If you are interested in serving on one of these groups, or any WACUHO committee, please sign up using the committee sign up form:– be sure to scroll down to the work group selection.

To that end, with Tyler Miller joining the Executive Committee, we had need to fill his position as chair of the Strategic Planning Task Force.  We are delighted to announce that Emily Sandoval of USC accepted this assignment and will continue leading the effort this year.

You will see the call for membership in this newsletter – we encourage you to renew early to avoid any non-member issues with signing up for RAPS or a WoW drive-in this fall.  Be on the lookout for more information from these committees on their upcoming events.

Best to all of you in your efforts to serve conference clients, turn your facilities, orient students and assign them to rooms, train RAs, and in other ways prepare for the start of the school year!

Working together –

Awards and Recognition

Greetings members of WACUHO!

The WACUHO Awards and Recognition committee has been listening to your feedback and one of the things we have heard is that we should be doing a better job communicating with our members about the award process, timeline, and criteria.  We know it is early, but we wanted to send out a list of all the different awards and scholarships we offer so you, as a professional, can set a goal to apply or work on nominations for these awards throughout the year.  Hopefully this could even become part of your professional development plans for 2016-2017!

On behalf of the WACUHO Awards and Recognition committee, feel free to reach out to us so we can put you in touch with the various committees who decide these awards each year.

First off, let’s look at some scholarships offered each year to help professionals attend WACE:

  • New Professional Annual Conference and Exposition Award
  • Diversity and Affirmative Action Award

These scholarships provide $650 to the recipient to attend WACE.  It covers registration, and any remaining funds can go to travel and/or lodging.

Additionally, for the past two years, we have awarded a Women of WACUHO scholarship to attend WACE.  It is possible that this award will be offered again this year, but this has not been finalized.

The deadline to apply for these scholarships (and the other awards below) will be February 15, 2017.  Start planning now for these opportunities!  More information will be coming on how to apply.

Second, there are scholarships to attend other national conferences:

  • National Housing Training Institute (NHTI)
    • If you are selected to attend NHTI, WACUHO will provide $1000 to be split between WACUHO members attending. This award covers registration, and any remaining funds can go to travel and/or lodging.
    • Deadline to apply for NHTI through ACUHO-I is generally early February. It is a very competitive process.
  • ACUHO-I New Professionals Scholarship
    • $1000 is awarded to cover registration, and any remaining funds can be used for travel and/or lodging.
    • Deadline to apply for this scholarship will be February 15, 2017. More information will be coming on how to apply.

Third, there are awards given out at WACE each year:

  • “Best of the West” Program – $2000 is awarded for the best program at WACE each year in order to attend ACUHO-I. $1000 of this is from WACUHO (in memory of John Yarborough), and $1000 is from the ACUHO-I foundation.  These awards should fully cover, or come very close to covering costs associated with registration and travel.
  • WACUHO Institutional Diversity award – awarded to the institution for exemplary work in the area of inclusion and social justice – beyond recognition, $100 is awarded to the institution.
  • Charles L Miller award – given to a long standing member of WACUHO for their dedicated service and leadership to our organization. In honor of the awardee,  a $250 donation is made to the ACUHO-I Foundation.
  • RW Gang award – given to a corporate friend of WACUHO who has made significant contributions to our organization. In honor of the awardee, a $250 donation is made to the ACUHO-I Foundation.
  • WACUHO Volunteer of the Year award – Special recognition given to a committee member of the Association who has made a significant contribution to the success of their committee and WACUHO. WACUHO Committee chairs make the nominations for this award to the Awards and Recognition Committee.

Finally, the Executive Committee honors a WACUHO member each year who meets the criteria for the Jim “J.B.” Brock “Spirit of WACUHO” award.  No applications are collected or received for this honor; it is given at the discretion of the WACUHO President and the Executive Committee.   

All WACUHO awards and Scholarships have a February 15th submission deadline for nominations and applications.  Again, more information will be coming about the process for nominating, but we wanted to make sure we got this information out as soon as possible.

Look for more information in upcoming editions of WAVES on awards and recognition.  We may even do a story or two about some of the names mentioned above so you can get to know those we are honoring with these awards!

– Awards and Recognition Committee

Recent US Acts of Violence

Hello WACUHO Family:

In recent days we have seen and experienced unspeakable tragedies.  Even if we don’t personally know any of the victims in Baton Rouge, Falcon Heights, or Dallas it is difficult to ignore their impact on our communities.  These losses have stirred an outpouring of words – in the news, on social media, among families, friends, and strangers.  Our communities and our nation continue to struggle to understand and accept these acts of violence.  To the family and friends of victims we express our deepest empathy.  We are saddened by these losses and long for our communities – our nation – and our world to heal to live by engaging each other with greater civility, respect, and peace.

And so we educate; we educate because we believe that things can and will change even when our hearts are broken and we lose faith, or we experience intense anger, or despair at just how much work there is to do.  However, because there is still work to do and until our communities are truly experiencing liberty and justice for all, we continue to educate and challenge systemic injustices.  As housing professionals, we are committed to developing impactful communities and ultimately we hope that this impact reaches far beyond our institutions– marking the relationships and organizations of which our students become a part of after they graduate.

Our inclusivity statement reads:  WACUHO embraces the benefits that are derived from the inclusion of diversity in the Association. Members make significant contributions from all areas of higher education and at every level of responsibility. Various perspectives shared by our members, inclusive of ethnicity, age, gender, religious preference, sexual orientation, differing abilities, race, gender expression, socioeconomic status, or spirituality add a dynamic which enriches the membership and mission of the Association.WACUHO encourages all to actively participate in its programs, events and activities.WACUHO welcomes and values all perspectives and empowers all members to feel valued.  Motivated by what is right and the strength that comes through our diversity, we stand with our African-American and Black colleagues to affirm that BLACK LIVES do MATTER.  And, as professionals who work hand-in-hand with police on our campuses and in our communities, we also decry the senseless loss of five officers who laid down their lives to both serve and protect.

As an Association, we want to support our members in this crucial and challenging work.  This means that we want the community of WACUHO itself to be a place where we are living and experiencing the ideals outlined in our inclusion statement.  We hope that in trueWACUHO fashion that this family will support one another through this time, challenge one another to continue our important work, and to let WACUHO leaders know of ways we can improve our efforts to promote or support this end.

Working together,

Cindy Derrico
WACUHO President

I wish to express my heartfelt thanks to Jeremy Booker, Tyler Miller, Dr. Wm. Gregory Sawyer, and Britney Summerville for their assistance and contributions to the development of this statement.

From the windows to the wall; the intensification of mental health concerns in residential communities and a great resource to com

Rhett Burden, Assistant Director of Housing and Residence Life, Academy of Art University / Campus Living Villages

As the old saying goes, “April showers bring May flowers” and a GIANT sigh of relief for residence life professionals as we exult over closing our buildings. I know that Resident Directors all around the housing world just said “AMEN.”

In addition to our excitement about closing our halls, sharing fond memories, and celebrating the graduates, we get sanctuary from seemingly a semester-long mental health crisis. Whether you’re a res-lifer at a small private, mid-size public, state flagship or large for profit institution, we all share the same prodigious burden of amplified mental health challenges for student population.

Residents with mental health challenges and Housing & Residence Life professionals are beginning to be as inseparable as peanut butter and jelly. My background in Student Affairs Theory and Development affords me wonderful opportunities to converse Chickering’s Theory of Identity Development with colleagues, academics, scholars and interviewers. However, this knowledge of theory lends me little guidance when a student suffers from psychological impairments, is coping with the side effects of Zanex, Calonopen, Zoloft or any number of antidepressants, anti-anxiety, anti-psychotic, and mood stabilizing suppressants or experiencing a complete mental breakdown.

Many of us res-lifers  are autodidactic when it comes to dealing with students who suffer from metal health challenges. The very nature of our profession is to educate, safe-guard and support our residents in any way possible, especially when we see them exhibiting abnormal behavior. Until recently, I felt my colleagues and I were drowning in an interminable pool of students who we just weren’t qualified to help. That’s until the Resident Director team attended the PESI Mental Health Emergency Conference in Oakland, California.

PESI (it’s not an acronym, it’s actually the name) is not the ultimate solution to the problem, but it is a wonderful resource of professionals who want to make a difference and educate those of us that need the help. I highly recommend all housing professionals who deal with students that need a bit more attention or are suffering from challenges they’re ill-equipped to address, to attend a PESI conference.

About PESI:
Since 1979, PESI Inc. has provided cutting-edge continuing education to professionals across the nation in mental health and rehabilitation services. They work alongside the world’s leading experts to create seminars, conferences, videos and books that meet the needs of adult learners. All of their continuing education seminars and products assure that professionals can meet the changing demands of their work by providing practical strategies, methods and interventions.

As a non-profit organization, their mission is to educate and instruct the general public, public organizations, private industry, students and professionals in areas of mental health, substance abuse and mindfulness. They have the most robust continuing education library available anywhere.

Resident Director Testimonials:
Attending the Mental Health Emergencies seminar provided me with the opportunity to learn some of the basic frameworks for navigating and accessing mental health crisis situations. It allowed me to acquire a better understanding of how best to ensure my wellbeing and mental health before and after responding to such situations.
– Mario Fuentez, Resident Director

I really enjoyed attending the Mental Health conference; it made me aware of areas we do not necessarily focus on when it comes to our housing training. I was able to take away information that I can implement and be mindful of when I have student conduct meeting; respond on-site for a crisis; and my overall interactions with residents. Since my field of study is mental health through social work; the information provided helped me to stay up to date with new findings of urban drugs and prescriptions I have not heard of and possible outcomes and effects on the residents. I really think mental health training is vital for our CLV campus and certainly assists with on-call experiences.
– Saasha Lambert, Resident Director

As a Resident Director, we are faced with an anticipated array of medical and mental health emergency crises. In a situation that may not seem as second nature, I feel comfortable in my abilities to assess and respond accordingly after attending PESI: Mental Health Conference. Delving into the world of “crisis formation” and its nuances, such as, precipitating events, perception, emotional distress, and lowered functioning analysis. I am able to dissect residents social behavior/cue’s, mannerisms and react with proper response/insight. I have left with the motto, “low and slow,” when facilitating student meetings, specifically emphasizing the need for slower speech and a lower, non-threatening tone when dealing with emotionally stimulated residents. I feel confident due to the information received at PESI.
– Josh P. Jackson, Resident Director

Going to the PESI Mental Health Emergencies 1 day conference was very important as a support system to my students and for myself. It validated the taxation that occurs when dealing with some of these incidents first hand and also better prepared me on how to approach students in their different methods of asking for help. I believe that these types of conferences and learning opportunities are very vital in the profession of Residential Life as there is an ever increasing trend in mental health concerns and consumption of different substances linked with increasing these emergencies.
– Gustavo Orellana, Resident Director

As you can tell, we think highly of the services PESI offers and truly believe that attendees of their conferences will walk away with more than they walked in with.

You can find out more information about PESI here:

Pictured Left to Right – Academy of Art University, Department of Housing and Residence Life,
Rose Barry, Gustavo Orellana, Saasha Lambert, Mario Fuentez, Josh Jackson

It’s Not too Late to Join a Committee!

So you have settled in for some down time and you are realizing summer is almost over. You either found your next job/new home or are knee deep in preparing for another year on your campus – either way you know you are just itching to be a part of a WACUHO committee and we are eager to have you!

Below are some of the committees which could still really use your help:

– Awards & Recognition
– Time & Place
– Historian
– Mid Level Managers
– Nominations
– Strategic Plan Work Groups 

If any of these are of interest to you please consider exploring further and signing up using this link:

If at any point in time you want more information than our site provides please don’t hesitate to contact me at

2016-2017 Membership Drive

WACUHO invites you to renew or consider initiating a new membership with WACUHO for the 2016-2017 academic year.  We are managing our membership through RegOnline again this year. You may notice a change in your dues this year.  These changes were ratified at the 2015 Business Meeting.  To expedite your registration for upcoming fall conferences, we encourage you to renew before school begins.  The new fees are outlined below. Renew now at .

Prices are based on the number of occupied spaces you have for Fall 2016
0-1000 beds $100
1001-2000 beds $200
2001-4000 beds $370
4001-6000 beds $550
6001-8000 beds $750
8001 beds and up $900.

If you encounter difficulties, please contact our treasurer, Jason Lu at (909) 869-3358 or