Susan Heim Director of Housing and Residential Life, NYIT-Manhattan Office: Student Affairs Campus: Manhattan
Member of NYIT Since: 2001
From NYIT's Weekly Update:
While dorm life may not appeal to everyone, students who opt for it generally describe a special connectivity to and higher degree of satisfaction with the college they attend. As director of housing and residential life at NYIT’s Manhattan campus, Susan Heim is partly responsible for ensuring that a student’s “home away from home” is a safe, nurturing environment that is conducive to learning, living, and making lifelong friends. This former hall director and elementary school teacher attended the University of Florida on an athletic scholarship. In her prior position as NYIT’s director of student activities, she expanded the recreational sports program to include softball, volleyball, dodgeball, and soccer, and even led some of those teams to division titles. Her personal story has strengthened her commitment to community service and, along the way, she has encouraged many NYIT family members to join her in these meaningful endeavors.
What advice do you have for residence hall students? Get out of your room! Embrace new opportunities. Residential life is a great way to share a common experience with peers from other countries and cultures.
What advice do you have for your fellow housing directors? Take time to get to know each student and his/her individual needs. Develop an excellent rapport so the student feels comfortable speaking to you about any (NYIT-related or personal) subject.
NYIT-Manhattan will welcome 32 students from NYIT-Nanjing (China) this fall to the Riverside Terrace. How are you preparing for their visit and what will you do to ensure their experiences in Manhattan will be positive? We’ve been gearing up for the last nine months. We’ve added the eighth floor of the Riverside and are offering new and more affordable living options. We’re developing programs with a focus on diversity, community service, health and wellness, and social activities, and will seek input from the Nanjing students to determine their interests. The Office of Student Affairs recently purchased a cross-cultural simulation game called Bafa Bafa that we will be used throughout the semester.
Describe some of the community service projects you have organized at NYIT. For the past four years, I have put together an NYIT team of faculty, staff, and students to participate in events sponsored by New York Cares. Last year, our students collected supplies for Operation Backpack that were distributed to children living in New York City homeless shelters. This past spring, we raised $800 for YAI/National Institute for People with Disabilities Network, an agency with which I am involved because my one-year-old son, Charlie, has Down syndrome.
Any funny “prank” stories? Four years ago, a few freshmen in the Clark Residence Hall stole the beloved stuffed dog of a fellow resident. They created a fake AIM account (“dogstealer”) and sent the student IMs with pictures of her dog all over Manhattan. The dog rode the subway and hung out at the campus and in the residence hall. The student finally got her dog back the day before she moved out at the end of spring semester.