While most faculty, staff and students hunkered down during the polar vortex earlier this February, Brittany Royce and her fellow residence hall directors were on campus and on-call to ensure the students who live in DePaul residence halls were safe.
“The whole time I was praying for no pipes to burst, which happened in one of the halls here last year,” she says. “Luckily, this year was pretty uneventful. We put a lot of effort into communicating with our residents about how to prepare, to keep the water running and about other steps to ensure no issues popped up.”
Since 2016, Royce has been the residence hall director and resident education administrator for Corcoran and McCabe Halls on the Lincoln Park Campus. Every day, she handles a variety of topics and issues in a wide-range of student communities.
“Corcoran is a traditional freshmen building – community-style bathrooms, kitchens and lounges,” she explains. “While McCabe, which is the building with St. Vincent’s face on it, is upperclassmen apartments. Not only are the living situations different, but also the questions and concerns of freshmen versus upperclassmen are like night and day. It’s a fun and challenging mix of helping freshmen find their footing in living on their own for the first time -- doing laundry on their own, navigating two campuses, making friends – and upperclassmen looking for resources to build their resumes and find internships, or managing the stress of working and going to school full time.”
Beyond support for students, Royce also handles student conduct issues in Corcoran and McCabe, manages and provides support to the halls’ resident directors and assistants, and advises the Residence Hall Council, the student body government for the residence halls. She also works with the Division of Student Affairs on event development and implementation.
“Interacting with students, both residents and our RAs, is the best part of my job and is something I’ve always loved,” Royce says. During her undergraduate career at Loyola University, Royce held a number of positions – orientation leader, interning in the academic advising office and working as the vice president of the residence hall council – that introduced her to the world of Student Affairs.
“We have a lot of autonomy as residence hall directors at DePaul, which is great. We don’t have to stick to a cookie-cutter style of operation,” she says. “We know what works in Corcoran or McCabe won’t exactly work over in Monroe or Seton. We’re able to mold our communities to what works best for that particular student body, which is where that interaction and relationship building can really come into play.”
After receiving her master’s degree from Western Illinois University, Royce knew she wanted to work in an urban environment at a school with a strong mission. A former colleague mentioned she should look at DePaul, and she’s been here ever since.
“It is so rewarding to see how students grow and change throughout the year, both personally and professionally,” she says. “I know how transformative those experiences were for me as an undergrad, so building relationships with these students and being part of their development is truly amazing.”