Apartment director supervises houses, influences lives

Eric Higgins

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The lives of college students are known for being hectic, but the average student’s schedule is easy compared to that of apartment directors at Grand Valley State University.

Yoel Joa, who is the apartment director for Laker Village Apartments, said one of his many jobs is to supervise.

“Some of the things that we constantly do is that we supervise staff,” he said. “We make sure that they’re doing their duty, they’re providing on-call coverage, they’re doing programming and they’re interacting with residents. That’s part of supervising staff. We also supervise desk operations.”

Ryan Flaherty, resident assistant in LVA, said apartment directors are very important for the housing communities on campus.

“Apartment directors are a fantastic resource and are able to remember the policies the rest of us may have forgotten, and they are able to re-focus a staff when we begin to lose our way,” he said.

Joa, who has been the apartment director in LVA since June 2010, said what makes LVA different from other apartments he has been at are the students.

“It’s different in that when I worked in the freshman area, you have everyone in one contained building, so you had a captive audience pretty much 24-7 whereas here, they’re external entrance apartments where you have to do a little bit more to reach out to people,” he said.

A primary aspect any apartment director’s job, including Joa’s, is to supervise graduate students that work in the different housing areas. The graduate students help supervise the front desk and co-supervise the staff. In addition to supervising them, apartment directors also help the graduate students prepare for their future careers.

When issues arise with the students who live in LVA, Joa also serves as a judicial officer to help correct the problems. If anyone breaks a rule or violates a policy, he has to follow up with those residents to make sure the trouble stops there.

When he is not supervising the staff or dealing with troublemakers, Joa is managing the budget for LVA.

“We also manage the budget for the area, so managing student wages, managing programming purchases, office supply purchases, professional development purchases,” he said. “We control the spending and making sure we’re keeping our cost down.”

With all the responsibilities that Joa has, he said he most enjoys his ability affect the lives of the people that work for him.

“The staff that work for me that are both desk staff and RA staff – I can have tremendous impact on their life and vice versa,” he said. “They can have a tremendous impact on my life, and that’s the best part about my job.”

Flaherty said Joa is a good apartment director because he can handle different situations.

“Yoel genuinely cares about people he meets,” he said. “He also is able to stay calm in any situation and can solve issues pertaining to residents and staff with the utmost skill. He also thinks critically about the residents we have in Laker Village and how we can make their living experience more enjoyable.”

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