This archived article was written by: Morgan Verdi
Jeff Spears is the new housing director at USU Eastern. He has some great plans and ideas he hopes to contribute to the school. Spears was born in Chicago, Ill., and moved to Price, Utah, when he was 15.
He attended Carbon High School and debated for Joseph Carver at the College of Eastern Utah (now USU Eastern). “Debate was the sole reason for me going to college and has also been a passion of mine.” He attended SUU for a bachelor degree in criminal justice and the University of Kansas for his master’s in social work.
“At Kansas, I had the opportunity to serve in a housing higher education graduate position and loved my time with the students. I decided to come back to my hometown and apply for the director of residence life and student conduct based on my experience in Kansas. I also have family in the area and love the community here in Price.”
Spears doesn’t dislike any housing rules per se. He said, “I’m not sure I have a least favorite housing rule. I think the policies and procedures at Eastern serve a purpose for the well being of the students. However, we are currently reviewing some policies and procedures to see what other institutions are doing.”
He has some big plans while he is at Eastern including wanting to develop a sense of community and identity for each residence hall. He said, “This process will begin in the summer with Facebook pages, pre-planned programs during orientation week and building specific themes/identities that are created by the students.
“I also want to bring a residence hall association to USU Eastern. RHA would serve as the voice of the students and address concerns in the residence halls.
“Finally, I want to update the website to provide more information for housing and dining services. This would help not only with recruitment, but also give first-generation students a sense of what campus living is all about prior to coming to campus.”
Spears continues, “I want to bring new ideas to residence life and build upon the community already developed by the organization. I also would like to fuse a programming relationship between dining services and the RAs. Becky Archibald does an amazing job with being a student advocate and has some big ideas for programming through dining services.”
The great attitude and approach of other people had an influence on Spears’ desire to become the housing director. “I really like the staff. Dr. Alex Herzog has a very student-first attitude in terms of housing and always considers how decisions would impact community.
“The hall directors and RAs always bring the concerns of students to the forefront and are real leaders in their residence halls.
“Sharon Jones is the pulse of housing; she has a great rapport with the students and is very knowledgeable about policies.
“I think housing has the ability to grow as an organization and create a new identity on campus in terms of social, educational and community programs.”
His favorite part of the job is the students. “I love learning about the life stories of the students. I also enjoy seeing students in housing make those lifetime connections with one another. Some of my best friends are people I met at CEU.”
His least favorite part of the job is the paperwork. “Even though it’s not something new to me because as a therapist and a social worker there is much paperwork involved,” Spears said. “Sometimes, it seems like there is paperwork to fill out and then more paperwork. I am still learning that process and hope to navigate successfully through all the forms.”
Some changes may come about eventually Spears said, “We are currently reviewing the visitation policy. Again, we are just reviewing the policy at this time. My hall directors have contacted 37 schools and are preparing a report for consideration for the administration.”
His plans for the future include working on his clinical hours for his LCSW and maybe starting a therapy practice down the road, but for now, he says, “I want to focus on my primarily role at USU Eastern for the time being: housing, student conduct and dining services.”