Saint Mary’s President spends night in dorm, bonds with residents
Nicole Caratas | Monday, April 3, 2017
In an effort to better understand the student experience, Saint Mary’s President Jan Cervelli gave dorm life the old college try, spending the night in a quad in Le Mans Hall on Thursday.
“Since I began as President, I’ve wanted to experience daily life in a Saint Mary’s dorm from a firsthand perspective,” Cervelli said. “I received an invitation from juniors Abbie Spica, Sam Allen and Katie Long to join them for a slumber party. It was a great opportunity to see how our students live, learn and socialize in our residence halls and to personally experience if our dorms are meeting students’ needs and keeping them engaged.”
Cervelli said her night included a section event with the residents of the second annex in Le Mans, during which she was able to meet and talk with residents in the hall while celebrating one student’s birthday. Cervelli said she also brought her guitar and performed a number of Joni Mitchell songs.
Spica, who lives in the room Cervelli slept in, said she enjoyed the experience.
“It was so cool to see a social and human side of an administrator,” Spica said. “She genuinely showed that she wanted to connect with us and that she likes spending time with students.”
Cervelli said her favorite part of the slumber party was interacting with students.
“I really enjoyed the gathering of second annex residents, stopping by and checking out various rooms and chatting with students about a wide range of subjects,” she said. “Abbie, Sam and Katie were warm and welcoming and made sure my every need was met, including giving me the most comfortable bed in their room. I learned about their studies, their hopes and dreams for the future and how dedicated they are to helping make the world a better place. I feel a special bond with these wonderful women.”
Cervelli said participating in the sleepover will help her better lead the College.
“I better understand the quality and depth of our students’ connection with one another,” she said. “I saw that the physical structure and layout of the historic building does a good job of accommodating students’ needs but that we need to make continuous improvements to Le Mans and other residence halls to keep the quality high. I learned that students really like living on campus and are mostly satisfied with their living environment and that the camaraderie between residents living on campus far outweighs occasional slow WiFi.”
The sleepover mostly consisted of talking about student life at Saint Mary’s, according to Spica.
“I learned that President Cervelli is not only devoted to helping Saint Mary’s grow as a community, but I also learned that she cares about students on an individual basis,” Spica said. “She wants to know about personal lives of students, and I think that is unique because it makes us feel valued.”
Cervelli said she has received other invitations for sleepovers and hopes to make it an annual event.