My UMR with Will Harmon - Director of Residence Life

Authored By: Mamisoa Knutson 09/03/2019

Will HarmonWhat is your role at UMR?
I am in charge of the residential life program. I work with occupancy management, hiring, supervision and training of the residence life staff. My department creates programming for  students that provides them with opportunities to step out of their rooms and apartments. This is vital to invest in the social aspect of college life as well as the educational aspect.

What brought you to UMR?
I was looking for my first professional job when I discovered UMR. We have family and friends in the Rochester area which made it even more enticing. I discovered UMR at 10 p.m. while I was applying for jobs. I sent in an application and they called me back in three days. I’ve been here since the fall of 2015. 

Why did you decide to do the work you are doing now?
I had four years of residential life experience in my undergrad; I was an RA and then a senior RA. After college, I took a year of soul searching and learned that higher ed administration was what I wanted -- I enjoyed students, college life and first gen college students. All of it felt rewarding and I felt a sense of gratification that I wanted to help others find. Housing is where the heart of the campus lies. Some of my skills are best used there. My organization skills lend itself to the unique problem that is in higher education housing, which is a need for programming and community support.

What is one of your favorite things about UMR?
I think the size is excellent. The amount of actual face-time our students get with faculty is great! It’s easy to convince people to help here at UMR. Faculty are enthused in getting involved in residence life and student life where students need help the most. I hope students notice how important this is and how it creates great opportunities. 

What is one interesting fact about you that you want others to know?
I’m really into dungeons and dragons. I lead a gaming club here at UMR. I play ultimate frisbee competitively. Both my parents are deaf so I know sign language well.

What hobby would you get into if time and money weren’t an issue?
Cross country hiking or backpacking. I’ve never had the chance to do the Appalachian trail and would love to try that.

What’s the best way to start the day?
Preferably at 8 a.m. with a warm cup of coffee and silly youtube videos.

If you could convince everyone in the world to do one thing at one point in time, what would that thing be?
Have the difficult conversation you’ve been needing to have.

What advice do you have for UMR students during their time here?
Often times I see students not being willing to think about who they are and what they are in life. There’s a lot of pressure for students to conform to others’ desires. While we have to pay attention to fiscally important choices and make career choices that are responsible, getting down to what you want in life, what you’re talented in and finding a career that is applicable to both is also important.