Written by Zack Silvas. Media by Whitney Nichols.
Greenville, being the small community it is, has a lot of people who invest their time into the school. From professors to the people who serve our food at the DC and Union, we don’t realize what they have to go through just to cater us. So when we look to who runs our dorm halls and what they do for us on a daily basis, we find that C.R.E’s do a lot. From managing multiples students who live in the dorms to keep up the shape of what the dorm is going to look like, you have to give it up to them and them countless work they put in. I decided to ask Brian Gertler what it is like to be a C.R.E and what he brings to his dorm hall.
The first question I had to ask Gertler was what it was like to be to be a C.R.E. “It’s pretty cool. It’s one of those unique jobs that you didn’t really think exists until like, you’re actually like a part of that community. I didn’t know about it until I went to Greenville as a student, so I applied for it when I graduated. I got it, and I like this type of work. So I’m pursuing [a] similar type of work after [I leave].” With Gertler being able to have his wife with him, he knows that it’s different knowing that they aren’t alone when it comes to the students that also live in the dorm with them. “We just have to set a little bit more boundaries just because we’re worrying about, you know, another person. I’m making sure that they feel comfortable in here too. So we basically have an open door policy. We really let anybody come in and hang out usually. But sometimes you just need to [be alone], like maybe she’s feeling like she wants to get away from people, so sort of like get away from campus or will, you know, shut the door and for a day and just hang out together, but we have to just be aware of like how [we are both feelings [and] just like how I’m feeling. So I like to hang out with college students a little more than she does.” With Gertler not being the only C.R.E with a wife, he also has two special things that set him apart from other C.R.E’s; his dogs. Gertler believes that the dogs are an icebreaker for most students and will help them through their college experience. “It’s cool cause they sort of connect with a lot of students. Maybe some students had dogs growing up and so having dogs in the residence halls kind of makes it feel a bit more like home. And dogs were just a good icebreaker for a lot of people basically.”
Even with his dogs and his wife with him, he actually wants to leave an impression on the students he lives with for their futures. “So initially my vision was I wanted to just have a really fun environment and just do a lot of things and have a lot of events. And then this year sort of turned into a lot of students [who] struggle with like conduct things and breaking the rules I guess and a lot of noise complaints and things like that. So a lot of what we’re focusing on with our staff is just trying to help students learn how to live in like a community together and respect one another. So we’ve put out a couple of events where we’ve sort of gone over why we have roles in what, what even the rules are and what’s the benefit of living in a Christian community specifically and why it’s good to think about others when you’re living in a space and not just hear a bunch of rules, you have to follow them or you get kicked out. It’s more like here’s a bunch of rules, we have these so you can live together and we have like a goal for those rules. So that’s sort of what we’ve been focusing on. Like what we want you guys to take away from a living here anyway.” Even with wanting to leave an impression on his fellow students he knows that this will be his last year and knows that he will be leaving a community where he has known the last couple of years.” So, at first it was like, OK, we need to think about, you know, leaving on good terms with people and then it sort of turned into things that we might miss, things that will sort of take away and now it’s just kind of like exciting, like to see what’s the next chapter because me and Katie both went to school here for four years and then we graduated and this is our second year at C.R.E’s and so it’s sort of like, this is the only environment that we know each other. So we just want to go and do something different. We’ve done, we’re not sure what that is, but we have a couple of ideas in mind. Um, yeah. So it’s nice, but it’s also, it’s sad that you know, you’re leaving the community that you’ve come to know for a while. But it’s exciting because it’s like the next step on, you know.”
To say the least, Gertler and his wife will be missing Greenville once they leave next year. This brings up how special a place like Greenville can be and how C.R.E’s are caring for their students and that they are only trying to make your college experience the best.