Sitting down with the new director of Residence Life, David Stuebing, it was clear to see that the smiling man in the well-tailored, deep blue suit has a lot on his plate. Given the stacks of paperwork on his desk, and the knowledge that the Housing Lottery for the Fall semester is impending, this is no surprise.
Born and raised in Zambia, in central Africa, Stuebing came to the United States and attended Purdue University in Indiana. In his words, “fresh from boarding school in Kenya, that was kind of a study abroad experience.” Stuebing also said that with his special circumstances, “I have a soft spot in my heart for students where going home is more complicated.”
In his time at Purdue, Stuebing moved from major to major, through engineering, then computer science, then graduated in psychology with minors in anthropology and organizational leadership. He then continued at Purdue to get his Masters in Education with a focus in college student development. “I gave myself a liberal arts education at a technical school,” Stuebing said.
He got his start in Resident Life as a resident advisor. As part of his programming, he and his residents took part in Purdue’s “Adopt-a-Sport” program and became the Women’s Volleyball team’s biggest fans. What was once an underdog team at Purdue, is now one of the bigger contenders in the division and Stuebing credits that in part to the morale boost and sportsmanship of the fan section he helped to cultivate. “It just kind of became a perfect storm and spiralled up into something great,” Stuebing said.
Stuebing went on to become a youth pastor in central Pennsylvania and worked as an intern at Messiah College after finishing his graduate program. Then he moved on to Washington College in the Eastern Shore, as an assistant director of Residence Life where is he served for seven years. “This gave me a lot of experience in creating what we want to see,” Stuebing said. He described his time at Washington College as “tumultuous” and “full of transition,” something the Wesleyan student body is familiar with, as Washington College also rotated through a handful of directors of Residence Life in Stuebung’s time with them. “Working through those dynamics set the stage well for being here,” Stuebing said.
Going into the housing selection process for the fall, David offered some insight on this year’s model and the challenges of this year’s situation. Residence Life will be continuing with the StarRez system that was integrated last year in order to maintain the most fair practice for all students. He also made note that the selection process will be completed before finals week this year in order to alleviate student and staff stress. Stuebing did acknowledge that there would be some students who are inevitably upset by the results of the lottery, but had an optimistic point of view. David said that students “need to know how to have those conversations,” whether it be between incompatible roommates or suitemates, or between student and RA, he believes these are valuable learning experiences that prepare students for the challenges of the real world. “Everything we do should be preparing students for life beyond college,” Stuebing said.
For students he has three tips, and one request. 1. Clear all holds from the business office — fast 2. Register for classes as soon as possible. 3. Plan ahead and have a backup on backups to avoid ending up on the waiting list.
Finally, David wants students to know this: “if anyone sees my toddler, he loves fist bumps, so he would love it if everybody fist bumped him.”