Pioneer Spotlight: Alisha Slowey
Alisha Slowey is the resident director of Bridgeway Commons at the University of Wisconsin-Platteville. Originally from Milton, Wis., Slowey is a two-time UW-Platteville graduate with a bachelor’s degree in communication technologies, as well as a master’s degree in counseling psychology.
Slowey attributes her interest and love of residence life to the experiences that she had with her resident assistant during her freshman year of college. Subsequently, she became more connected to campus, eventually obtaining job titles such as resident assistant and senior assistant. Slowey originally wanted to teach physical education as a career. However, after serving as a camp counselor during her summers, and landing a residence life internship at Grand Valley State University in Michigan, she realized that working in residence life was the best fit for her. This year will be Slowey’s seventh year serving as an RD at UW-Platteville.
How do you feel that your schooling has helped with your job?
I was a physical education major for three years. I ended up switching during the fall of my fourth year to communication technologies, when I only had one year of classes and student teaching left. In terms of the communication piece, that is obviously huge with what we deal with in Residence Life. As a staff, we talk about roommate issues and things like that. Those, to me, are, 90 percent of the time, communication issues. My communications emphasis has helped tremendously with that. Also, the experiences that I have had, and the connections that I have made on campus, help me relate to students. I am able to say, “Hey, I was a student here too,” or, “I have also had that instructor.” To at least have that experience and background gives students a different perspective. To provide historical perspective, I think is helpful. I am the oldest of three and this is a lot like being an older sibling. I like to think that I help them experience new things, see the bigger picture and gain a better appreciation for things.
What are your responsibilities as the hall director for Bridgeway Commons?
I supervise all 16 student staff members that we have at Bridgeway, two of which are senior assistants. We also have a pretty extensive desk. Like Rountree Commons, we are open a little big longer, so there are six desk workers. We also have daily tours where every student that goes on a tour gets to see Bridgeway Commons. We also have quite a few custodial and maintenance people. So, I deal with a lot of student supervision. There are 440 residents in Bridgeway, so we have a lot of student meetings, student conduct issues and concerns, but also hall council, and the student leadership piece as well. I think what we work with as RDs are the day-to-day operations, the management and supervision of people and being a resource. A lot of that is getting to know the students and giving them tips on how to be more successful in college. I also have to be a listening ear with responding to parent concerns or questions. I think that a lot of what I do is being open-minded and meeting people where they are and trying to help them solve their problems.
Which halls have you worked at on campus?
Professionally (as an RD), I was at Brockert first and then I went to Bridgeway Commons. However, I was an RA in Hugunin and a senior assistant in Wilgus. So I have been all over and have gotten to know a lot about campus and people.
What aspect of your job has challenged you the most? In other words, what have you learned the most from?
To me this has been a huge opportunity and I am so grateful to have been able to work with so many different people and the diversity of people. Everybody comes from a different perspective and a different viewpoint and it has really opened my mind. That has given me the opportunity to grow both personally and professionally. Learning how to listen and give advice is huge in this position. Most times, people just want someone to listen and to care and through all of this I do have a genuine care and concern for people, ultimately because I do really enjoy Platteville. So much was given to me as a student and I want to give that back to other students and help them be successful and get the most out of their experience here.
What do you like most about your job?
For me, it’s the people piece. I think it’s that continued rapport that you have with people. When I was in college I had one of my roommate’s sisters end up coming here five years later. Here, you have the family line aspect. I have had staff whose family members now come here. I just ran into a staff member that I had from many years ago, whose brother was at a Pioneer Preview. The tradition is huge here. That is something that I really appreciate and value. It has been neat to be able to invest in that. I have built many relationships from that.
What are the plans with Bridgeway for this upcoming year with all of the damage from the tornado?
It has been really sad to see this happen, especially to this brand new, beautiful building. The plan is similar to what the chancellor has said, which is that we will be ready for students come Aug. 15 when our students begin to return. It might look a little different than what we are used to, but we are going to be ready. I have really appreciated that my staff is on board 100 percent. I have returning staff and they have all been awesome through this unexpected situation. I even had staff come up and help out with things such as laundry. We had students and campers in the building at the time of the storm, but we also had our RA staff who had the opportunity to take advantage of our summer storage program. Because of that several of my student staff left their stuff in their rooms for the summer. They have been fantastic about it and I have been super impressed. I have no doubt that they are going to do a great job navigating through this year after all of this.
What interests or hobbies do you have outside of your job?
I am a big kayaker and I love the outdoors. I enjoy camping, outdoor stuff, snowshoeing, etc. I just like to get outside. I definitely took advantage of, and spent a lot of time, down at Memorial Park. Other than that, I like to spend time with family and friends and go up north. My family has a cabin near Phillips, Wis.
What are you most excited about for this upcoming school year?
Summers are always toughest for me because everybody is gone and what I like most about my job are the people. So, I am just excited for the life of campus to come back and for the students to get back, and to get back into that routine. I do like the break. However, a couple weeks go by and I am kind of like, “I am ready to get back at it!” I like the hustle and bustle of campus during the academic year.
Where do you see yourself in the next 10 years? This can be either realistically or your wildest dream.
I have had this huge desire forever. I didn’t study abroad when I was an undergraduate. I talk to students all the time about regretting that and to take advantage of that opportunity when you have it. So, to do some sort of service work or some type of abroad experience, working professionally, has always been a dream of mine. However, I want to progress through higher education and student affairs and continue to work in this field.
Interview conducted by: Shelby LeDuc, University Information and Communications.
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