Saint Mary’s names new hall director
Colleen Zewe | Tuesday, August 29, 2017
Alyssa Trelstad became an honorary belle when she joined the Saint Mary’s Residence Life staff as the hall director for McCandless Hall.
“I think that all the people that make up Saint Mary’s make it special,” Trelstad said of her new workplace and home. “The students, staff, and faculty create a community unlike any other.”
The hall directors live in their dorm buildings and act as a resource for their residents, according to Trelstad. Trelstad said McCandless Hall presents unique challenges to the hall director as it is a first-year only dorm, but for her, this makes the job even more exciting.
“I am excited for the opportunity to impact the lives of the first-year students,” Trelstad said. “I would argue that the first year of college brings about a concentrated period of growth and development for students. For most, it is the first time they are living away from home. For many, it is their first experience living with peers. Finding a way to foster growth, allow for mistakes, and advocate for positive decision making will be a challenge.”
Prior to coming to Saint Mary’s, Trelstad earned a Bachelor of Science in Kinesiology from the University of Minnesota-Twin Cities. She is currently completing a Master’s in School Counseling and Mental Health Counseling at Indiana University South Bend, she said. Trelstad believes her experience as a community advisor at the University of Minnesota prepared her well for her new job as a hall director.
“Residence life is a unique opportunity to know students beyond the classroom,” she said. “The residential life piece of a college experience teaches students life skills like responsibility, independence, organization and empathy. Being able to watch residents flourish, especially first-year residents, is a privilege.”
Trelstad found out about the hall director position from a current student while working together.
“This summer I worked at Starbucks with a Saint Mary’s student,” Trelstad said. “She told me about it and I applied that night.”
Trelstad’s other job experiences also include living in residential settings. She interned and worked in the science faculty at boarding schools, she said. Most recently, Trelstad worked at La Lumiere in La Porte, where she taught Anatomy and Physiology, coached rowing and worked in the dorm, Trelstad said.
As hall director, Trelstad works with the resident advisors, ministry assistant and “Belles Connect” assistants to foster a community within the dorm, she said. She said she is excited to work and grow close with her staff, and believes they will make the first-years’ experience an excellent one.
“The mission of Saint Mary’s College describes a residential community where women are prepared to make a difference,” Trelstad said. “To engage these young women with one another, provide a life-long support system and engage each belle to be her very best for herself. I am excited to see the creativity and dedication that the McCandless staff has already demonstrated blossom to make this the best year yet.”