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K-State Today

December 15, 2011

House rules: Housing and dining services staffers receive recognition at annual conference for hard work

Submitted by Communications and Marketing

Staff with Kansas State University's housing and dining services spend much of their time making life convenient for those they serve. At a recent conference, these efforts were applauded through various awards to recognize the accomplishment of the department's shining stars.

Staff members attended the Upper Midwest Region of the Association of College and University Housing Officers' annual conference Nov. 9-11 in Topeka to learn from other institutions and accept several awards, said Kevin Cook, assistant director for departmental initiatives for housing and dining services.

"The UMR-ACUHO's mission is education, research and service to the college housing profession," Cook said. "Staff members from Kansas State University attend this conference annually to learn the best practices from other institutions and to learn the latest trends in higher education and college housing."

Some of these trends and innovative practices originate from Kansas State. Cook said awards were given to staff members for their professionalism, creativity and ideas. Award winners included:

* Abby Bauer, assistant residence life coordinator in Moore Hall, received the Outstanding New Professional Bachelor's-Level Award, recognizing housing professionals with less than three years of experience.

* Andy Thompson, residence life coordinator in Marlatt Hall, and Adam Isley and Alejandra Vaca, assistant residence life coordinators in the Strong Complex, were recognized for presenting one of the top five best programs at the conference. The trio's program highlighted the "Where's the Fun and Stronger Games" programming series in their hall communities. The same group and program were recognized as the top program for first-time presenters.

* The departmental initiatives team received the Social Justice Action Award for its creation of the Multicultural Resource Center in the Kramer Dining Center, the development of the Diversity Education and Leadership Seminar program and the mentoring of the Housing Leadership Scholars. The team consists of Alex Abendschein, Ebony Benson, Allyson Plattner and Shelia West, all assistant coordinators for departmental initiatives; Christina Hurtado, coordinator for student development; and Cook.

Cook said these awards validate the work that housing and dining services does for K-State students living on campus.

"To be recognized by peers in our field is very humbling," he said. "This gives us an opportunity to celebrate our colleagues and their accomplishments."