Augustana’s Center for Campus Life experienced a 35 percent increase in campus leadership applications in February.
“Our applicant pool was large, in every sense of the word,” said Assistant Director of Campus Life Julia Price.
After reviewing 148 applicants, Augustana’s Center for Campus Life offered 94 students leadership positions. One in every three students did not receive an offer this year compared to one in every five students last year, Price said.
“We just didn’t have enough positions for people who we felt were qualified for the job.”
Though Campus Life could not offer every applicant a position the staff still wants to provide students with leadership experience.
“We welcome anybody, whether or not they applied, to sit down with us and brainstorm with them other ways to get involved,” Price said. “We want to support students who want to be leaders.”
Campus Life also selects students as alternates, giving them another chance at becoming a Viking Advisor. If a student chooses not to accept their offer, their position will go to an alternate.
Price said alternates should not feel discouraged about not receiving an offer. “We sent alternates letters because we felt they could do the job.”
Not all students accept their offers. Students often have strong preferences about which community they would like to advise. When students do not get assigned to the community they prefer, they sometimes reject their offers. Other students choose to embrace the unexpected results.
Originally, freshman Kale Hellman wanted to be a Viking Advisor on the flexible housing floor. “To have a space where you can just be yourself and have a support group was really important to me,” Hellman said.
Her decision changed when she realized that she could not be both a Viking Advisor and a Viking Guide as a North Side Viking Advisor. Campus Life honored her preferences by offering her a position on the South Side.
“I get the best of both worlds,” Hellman said.
Megan Lindely, a junior Viking Advisor, has been a Viking Advisor on both sides of campus. Next year she plans to be an advisor in the apartments.
Lindely was inspired by a Viking Advisor during her first year at Augustana.
“I saw her give herself without reservation,” Lindely said. “And I thought, that’s someone I want to be like for other people.”
Last month marked Lindely’s third and last time applying to be a Viking Advisor. Lindely’s willingness to reapply stems from her appreciation of her colleagues.
“I’m truly inspired by everyone on my staff this year,” Lindley said. “Being with such great people makes me want to be even better.”
Sophomore Viking Advisor Annika Schull applied to be a South Side Viking Advisor because she wanted to ease first-year students’ transition to college living.
“South Side VAs are a student’s first connection to Augustana,” Schull said.
Hellman, Lindely and Schull all applied to be Viking Guides because they wanted to assist students.
Schull remembers her first day as a Viking Advisor and said, “It’s the little things that matter most. I had students move in when we were still training, and I had no clue what to do. I was sitting in my room, getting stuff done, and one of them came up to me and asked for a screwdriver.”
“It was my first realization that I was the one who had to find the answers and if I didn’t have the answers, I would direct people to the answers.”
The Viking Advisor position, Schull said, is more than another experience to put on a resume.
“I don’t think a lot of people realize how much it does change your life,” Schull said.