Written by Zack Silvas. Media by Ashley Chaney.
Living in a dorm hall can be somewhat interesting at times. From the many people that come in and out to fire alarms going off about every other week. With 150 students that live in Joy and Janssen halls, you have to wonder who is in charge of all of them. Well, that honor is bestowed on Mikey Ward. Ward, who is a GU Alum, is currently the CRE for both Joy and Janssen halls. In order to get the feel of what its like to be a CRE, I had Mikey answer a few questions.
The first question that I asked Ward was how he got to be the CRE of Joy:
“So last spring I was adjuncting in the theology department and John Brittingham was a professor in the Philosophy Department. [He] approached me, and we’ve been longtime friends, and he said that there is an opening in res life and that it was a full-time position and that would be for Joy and Janssen halls. Joy has always kind of held a special place in my heart. That’s where I lived my freshman year and I’ve got the sign on my door *points to sign of CRE parking spot* I stole my freshman year [which] I didn’t realize that at that point that I was kind of cementing my future, but I just entered into the hiring process. I was somewhat content with maintaining the life with my wife and I had in St Louis. I was a barista at a really successful coffee shop and I saw a future there, but I felt the calling of applying and pursuing that and then one thing led to the next step. I remember the day was May 4th that I found out that I would be offered the job. So I had to leave class and I took the call and accepted it and then we moved in June 1st. So it was a really fast process of once I figured out that this is what we’re going to do, to moving back to Joy. So the short answer is I just followed up on a friend’s advice, and the long answer is, in many ways, I feel like I’ve been being shaped for this role the last 9 years of my life. It’s when I take time to reflect on just how many quirks and turns that have led me back to here. I can’t help but laugh or smile at times.”
Ward is actually one of two CREs on campus to has his wife with him. Ward says that he feels fortunate to have Sarah with him. “I feel like the guys in Joy/Janssen are lucky to have her in this role. She is quite the unique person. I’m very honored to see how engaged she is with my staff and the residence. It would be easy for her to stay in the apartment and to have her separate life, but for her to integrate herself into the community she has been able to impact a lot of students on campus.”
What sets Ward apart from other CREs is that he has the responsibility of being in charge of both Joy and Janssen. His number one priority was to learn the names of everyone that lived in Joy and Janssen by the end of the first semester. Even though he feels like he didn’t meet his goal he knows that he has a special group of guys that he is trying to teach. “We got 150 guys who have 150 stories and 150 ways that they were raised. They come to Greenville with different expectations and are confronted with what its like to live in a community, especially a Christian community and a Christian community that has expectations and regulations. I’m gently trying to reveal to the residence that cultivating virtue and habit is a good thing and is better to learn these things now with a roommate then in the future when you’re living on your own or with someone else. There are great lessons to be learned from taking out your trash every week and cleaning up after yourself when you’re in the bathroom.” Ward feels like the current college student gets sucked into the notion of “what do I complete next.” He wants to “continually demonstrate to students that if your struggling that’s okay, you’re more likely than not growing, and growing is difficult.” Ward says, “I try to pull people back in conversations to see the bigger picture of what’s going on and what’s taking place.”
Ward said that Greenville is a special place and that he remembers his core trip his freshman year and his memories of being on the football team. He’s gained many mentors throughout his years and says that he hopes to have a significant impact in peoples life like Rick McPeak and John Brittingham had on his life. Ward wants to touch everyone’s lives that he comes into contact with.
Knowing Ward personally, I can say that he as a person wants to help you out and get to know you a little bit better. Like all CREs, they are here to help you no matter what. Next time you have the chance, sit and talk to your CRE because you might just find out how special of a person they really are.
Listen to our additional questions with Mikey below!