By Rusty Tuders, Assistant Resident Director
In 2009, I transferred to Union as a 22-year-old freshman. I graduated in 2013 and started working as a first shift security officer. I held this position for nearly two years before taking my new position in August as the Assistant Resident Director of the Heritage Complex. I have learned so much about Union in each of these positions. The more I’ve learned, the more I’ve come to love this university that I get to call my home.
A Word From A Former Student
Looking back on my time as a student, I think my advice can be summed up with two words: Get involved. During my freshman year, I joined a church and started helping out with their youth group. My sophomore year, I became a Life Group Leader, joined the Student Activities Council and went to Honduras on a GO trip. My junior year, I stopped doing Life Groups so I could join Residence Life as an RA. That year I also went to Southern Illinois University on another GO trip. My senior year, I continued Res Life and SAC, and I went to Tampa on yet another GO trip. It was not always easy to be as involved as I was, but I would not have changed anything. Another thing I learned in my four years here: Our faculty and staff legitimately care for our students. I couldn’t afford to live on campus my sophomore year, so Dr. Jackson opened his basement to me. Dr. Poe had my class over to his house to discuss the culture relevance of a really bad sci-fi movie as our final. SAC puts on an event during the spring called Be Our Guest in which faculty and staff open their homes to students they may or may not know. You can sign up for these and get a free meal and guaranteed entertainment. Do it. Seriously, they want to get to know you and care for you. This is, by far, the coolest thing I have found about Union. You just don’t see that at other universities. Take advantage of it.
A Word From A Former Security Officer
These guys are awesome. They are not “out to get you,” despite what some may think. They are here to serve you. Make friends with them. If you see them walking through a building, stop and talk to them. You could buy them coffee. My first year as an officer was a hard year, and we had a lot happen. I was so glad to have a team that jumped into action when they were needed. Dr. Ben Mitchell described life as a security officer very accurately: “It’s like flying. Long moments where nothing happens, interrupted by moments of terror when turbulence hits.” We have good officers here. I really enjoyed working with David Stivers and Kyle Long. They look and act tough on the outside, but inside they are big teddy bears. Get to know them.
A Word From Your Assistant Resident Director
I am new to this position, but I know by now that this is what I was made for. I love getting to do life with students. I just keep waiting on someone to call me and say, “Rusty, you need to get a ‘real’ job. I can’t believe we pay you to do this.” Seriously, I have the best job. That being said, here’s my advice to you: get to know your ResLife team. Your RA is here for you, and so are your RDs. This is more than a job to us. Our day consists of meeting with students and sitting in meetings where we talk about how to meet more students. All of your RDs will usually have their doors open to students. If you don’t know where our apartments are, ask the RA at the desk. Some of us have families that would love to meet you as well. My wife is just as passionate about students as I am. So, like I said before, get to know us!