Meet the Housing Directors
Thursday / May 20, 2021
You are taking a big step in your future and attending college. You have also decided to have the WHOLE experience and live on campus. The teams at Marshalltown Community College and Ellsworth Community College want you to have the best experience you can. There are two people at the campuses that are there specifically to help you with housing. Meet your Directors of Residence Life & Student Engagement for ECC, Josh York and MCC’s Chris Brees.
Tell us about yourself and how you got to ECC/MCC.
CHRIS (MCC): When I attended college I had such a great experience and enjoyed it so much that I knew I wanted to give back to students and make sure they had the same great educational interaction that I did. It drew me back to the college system.
JOSH (ECC): I’m originally from Nebraska. I earned two degrees from Wayne State. BS in Human Service Counseling and MSE in Higher Education; and Doctoral hours in Student Affairs Leadership at UNL. I was the Director of Housing/Student Engagement at Mid Plains in North Platte, NE for over seven years when I heard about the position at ECC. I interviewed on a Friday and found a place to live pending an offer and received that offer a few days later.
How long have you been at ECC/MCC?
CHRIS (MCC): I came to MCC after over 10 years of experience at Southeast Community College in Nebraska, William Penn University, Drake University and Grandview University. I took a break from education for a short time but quickly discovered it wasn’t for me and returned to education. I’ve been at MCC for almost 10 years and 6 years in residents’ life.
JOSH (ECC): The 2021-2022 academic year will be my second year on campus.
What do you like about your job and working in residents’ life?
CHRIS (MCC): I’ve always been the person that likes the school supply aisle. You know it means it’s time for something new and exciting and the fall brings a great energy. When you are helping students move into their room they are trying to be all strong and tough and when this becomes their home you see them on a different level. We get to have a different type of relationship with them and see more of the “real” them. I get to see the good, bad, and ugly of who they are night and day with no judgments. I am the parent to them while they are on campus.
JOSH (ECC): I really enjoy the overall different dynamics at ECC. There are more students than my past positions and the population of students is different. I have three amazing assistant housing staff members that are all either assistant or head coaches. It’s been great as this gives me a chance to see a different side of those staff members.
What made you choose to go into residence life at a college?
CHRIS (MCC): We all have a calling. When you leave this life did you make an impact? Residence life and student engagement is where I am at my best. I can offer more to students and it helps keep me young. I can make an impact on a student’s life and be there for them. At a community college we serve a vast array of students. Sometimes we are the last hope for students and sometimes we are the best option for students. We get to help them figure that out.
JOSH (ECC): When I was an undergrad I was part of the activities board. I really loved the activity side. I earned my degree and learned about higher education and student affairs. I did some job shadowing and internships in the area…I was hooked!
What do you think are the benefits of living on campus?
CHRIS (MCC): Living on campus can really help you develop and create relationships. This is the “honeymoon period” and gives you an opportunity to progress. It’s an opportunity for you to learn more about yourself and slowly ease into the real world and prepare you. You will laugh, cry, maybe experience your first heartache..all these emotions but you don’t have to do it by yourself. That’s what is so great about living on campus because there are people here for you.
JOSH (ECC): There are so many benefits but here are my top five reasons why I think you should live on campus at ECC.
- Overall success. When you live on campus you don’t have to drive to your classes and campus, you don’t have to find food to eat, you have immediate accessibility to everything ECC offers.
- Social engagement. You automatically have that social network of those living around you.
- Statistically speaking, you will be more successful. It goes back to social life and better access and being able to have the assistance that you need just steps away.
- You are an adult and you get treated as an adult but you do have staff here to assist and help you navigate situations.
- You have no excuse not to go to a student engagement event. Midnight movie, 9 pm breakfast during finals, yard game event outside Gentle Student Center. Again…these events are just steps away and FREE.
What else do you want students to know?
CHRIS (MCC): Everyone should know we have rules, policies, and regulations, things that are required. We have structure but it’s good structure. We stress it’s an educational part of your experience. You are the one that manages your apartment, it’s your experience. We like to see the pride people take in their building, room and friends. It’s an everlasting education that you’ll get living on campus. Take the opportunity if your life affords it. For a year or even a semester. Be a part of that.
If you aren’t living on campus, still visit. Activities are not just for residential students but for the whole student body. Come be part of it. Take full advantage of everything that is offered at MCC.
JOSH (ECC): I am always open to ideas on how-to make ECC campus life better. If you have a suggestion on remodeling or changing how we organize the students, let me know. Student engagement is my favorite part, I am always looking for new ideas. Bringing speakers to campus or someone that can relate to their background. Or bringing a speaker that has gone through some of the same things that they are currently dealing with. Residents life is great!