My leadership journey with Housing and Residence Life

Kalyn Johnson is a columnist for the College Heights Herald. 

Kalyn Johnson

Leadership opportunities within Housing and Residence Life at WKU are abundant and are very adaptable to almost any major. If you’re a economics major or an English major, there is something for everyone within HRL, because the experience they give students are what they make them.

My leadership experience began in the fall of 2013 on the 25th floor of Pearce Ford Tower. Residence Hall Association have organizations within the residence halls called Hall Councils. Being a freshman, I wanted to be as involved as possible on campus and make an impact within the hall community.

So, I joined hall council fresh out of M.A.S.T.E.R. Plan. I become the floor representative for the 25th floor of Pearce Ford which launched my leadership career within Housing and Residence Life. The following semester I joined Western Leaders and become one of 70 individuals to insure the 2014 MASTER Plan was one to remember.

I saw all of the hard work that went into creating the social programs for MASTER Plan and decided to run for Socials Chair for the Western Leader Advisory. For two years I was able to plan and implement programs for two MASTER Plan programs. Not only have I been able to attend four conferences while on the Western Leader Advisory board (WLAB), but I have networked with individuals across the region and nation.

While being a member of the WLAB, I was also nominated to be a member of the National Residence Hall Honorary. I had no idea what the organization was or if it was something I even wanted to be apart of. After asking around I found that The Big Red Chapter National Residence Hall Honorary, NRHH, is a premiere honorary association with the National Association for College and University Residence Halls. NRHH an organization based on leadership and scholasticism with strong values of service and recognition

Two months after being inducted, I was appointed to the Associate Director for Philanthropy position within the NRHH chapter. Through my work, I was able to implement the first Service Week for WKU NRHH and I was able to create and give out the first Service Award. The ability to serve my campus community was something that I wanted to do since completing MASTER Plan. This opportunity was everything I wanted, but I wanted more. Service wasn’t enough. So, the spring of 2016 I wan for the Director of Big Red NRHH, campaigned on retaining members and making NRHH and open and relaxing environment. With majority vote of the general assembly, I became the Director.

I’m currently the Director of the Big Red Chapter NRHH, co-Logistics Chair for Western Leaders Advisory Board, maintain the social media accounts for the Downing Student Union, work part time at DSU, maintain the Instagram for the WKU Professional Writing Program and am the co-programing chair for the Southwest Hall Council.

HRL has given me the opportunity to attend conferences every semester since my sophomore year at WKU. They found value in everything I wanted to achieve in dealing with students and bettering their residential life experience. They supported all of the insane ideas I had and were the to support me even when no one else would.

My experience in leadership has been short, successful and it all started in Housing and Residence Life. My advisers have shown me how to grow into roles, stand-up for what I believe is right and continuously grow in all of my endeavors inside and outside of HRL.