By Robby Poffenberger | Assistant News Editor | [email protected]
Among the most prominent issues discussed in the most recent student body election was on-campus housing at Utah Valley University: There is none. In fact, it’s the only four-year college in the state without it.
In order to replicate an on-campus dormitory experience, UVU turns to its REC program.
Resident Engagement Coordinators (RECs) are full-time UVU students who receive a housing scholarship in exchange for working at their housing complexes, where they plan social events and help students learn about the resources at UVU.
Matt Chambers, UVU’s housing program manager and REC advisor for UVU, said only 19 students were accepted out of more than 100 applicants this year.
With the scholarship, housing REC is paid for by the school and the eight apartment complexes that participate in the program—Wolverine Crossing, Village on the Parkway, University Towers, Summerwood, Crestwood, Carriage Cove, The Branbury and Alpine Village.
According to Chambers, the two sides split the housing cost about 50-50, giving RECs the responsibility to work professionally with both parties.
“They’re getting, essentially, a real-world experience right away because they have to satisfy both UVU and the REC program purpose but they also have to satisfy the housing complex and some of its wants and needs as well,” Chambers said.
Nate Horrocks, a recent graduate who spent two years in the REC program, said it’s a responsibility that has shown some colorful results, including a Quidditch match and “real-life Mario Kart.”
“The REC program allows the students to engage themselves, and for the residents to become more outgoing,” Horrocks said. “I think that’s the biggest part – to help them be proud to go to UVU or, if they aren’t going to school, to learn about the university.”
Horrocks said the experience of being a REC helped him become more ready for the professional world.
“For me, the REC program really helped me not only get myself out there, but it taught me so many skills I can use in my life like budgeting, program planning and public relations. It was so much fun,” Horrocks said.
Chambers said he hopes students at these complexes will use their RECs as a resource with school and as a means to become more engaged in their college experience.
“Definitely get connected,” he advised. “Use the events to meet people. … You never know where you can connect people and that’s where these programs really shine, because they connect the students so down the road, they can be more successful.”
Students can learn more about the REC program by visiting UVU.edu/scholarships/rec or by visiting the Housing office at UVU, located in the Student Life and Wellness Center. While the RECs are available as resources all year, the next application process to become one won’t begin until early 2016.
Robby Poffenberger, though not a part of the REC program, works in a similar program as a Resident Advisor at Wolverine Crossing. The REC and RA programs are unaffiliated.