December 6, 2017
We are excited to share updates about happenings in University Housing with our alumni and friends. We hope you enjoy this newsletter. Please stay tuned for more updates and new opportunities to be involved with University Housing during the coming year.
Q & A with Dr. Kowalski
We sat down with Dr. Gerry Kowalski, Executive Director of University Housing, prior to his retirement to reflect on his experience in University Housing. We are grateful for all Gerry has done in support of University Housing, the University of Georgia and our residents since he joined University Housing in 2006.
What part of working in University Housing will you miss the most?
I will miss the students who we serve and teach. They are outstanding, capable and talented (despite the “developmental opportunities” some experience) and represent hope for the future. Right alongside the students, I will miss our staff and the wonderful qualities and attributes they demonstrate daily in service to our students, one at a time. I will miss wishing everyone “HHD” (Happy Hump Day) and the unplanned encounters and conversations that made me smile along with terrific colleagues.

What is the most valuable thing you have learned during your time in University Housing?
The most valuable lesson for me during my time in University Housing was the recognition I could “let go” of duties into the hands of capable and professional colleagues. That reduces stress in challenging times. During my absence for heart surgery more than four years ago, I reflected on that lesson often since then and with tremendous gratitude.  

What are you most proud of about University Housing?
The points of pride for me during my tenure at UGA are legion and too numerous to mention. Rather than try to bullet out a list of accomplishments and achievements, allow me to emphasize that I am most proud of the team we have developed. We are not perfect and we often disagree. Yet, when a big project or activity faces us, we pull together to make it successful because we are focused on our students and mission. I look back over 11.5 years and I am so grateful that I worked side by side with incredibly dedicated and talented colleagues to accomplish the challenge du jour .

What things are you most looking forward to in retirement?
In retirement, I look forward to spending time with my wife and traveling to see our sons and daughters, extended family and friends. Gina and I just celebrated our 32nd wedding anniversary. For that milestone, she sweetly gave me a map labeled “Gerry and Gina’s Adventures” into which we can push pins for the places we will see, the friends we will visit and the encounters with new friends we will have.  On my 62 nd birthday, I will buy a lifetime pass to visit the US National Parks. I will dabble with my golf game, read a lot, learn about photography and look out for opportunities in the community. We will take advantage of living in and experiencing the remarkable college town that Athens is.  

What message would you like to share with alumni and staff of University Housing?
The biggest part of my message to alumni and staff of University Housing is thank you. I appreciate and value how much you have enriched my professional life. The move to Athens in 2006 has transformed the lives of each member of our family and for that we could not be more fortunate. We have something special here in this department. The laser focus on students is evident everywhere and the steady dedication to the mission is probably the biggest collective asset of our department.
I am confident that the teamwork and dedication will continue into the future. In that spirit, I encourage all alumni to consider MAKING A DONATION to our staff appreciation and recognition foundation accounts. It is only with private donations that we can pay for activities to recognize and appreciate our staff.  

Finally, please know that I hope to stay in touch with you. My email ( ) will remain active for personal use. I would enjoy hearing from you and what is happening in your life.
Russell Hall renovation offers a peek at the past
In May 2017, University Housing closed Russell Hall to begin a $44.5 million renovation project. Russell Hall will reopen for fall 2018 with updates to the lobby, student rooms, bathrooms, laundry and kitchen areas, along with renovations to climate control, plumbing and electrical systems. 

During the removal of the hall’s built-in furniture, construction staff discovered a myriad of artifacts dating back almost to the hall’s opening in 1967. Found objects include old report cards, hand-written letters, parking citations, hand-drawn fraternity party invitations, student IDs (some genuine, others not), a 1990 spring break vacation flier, photographs, post cards, a schedule of Greek recruitment activities from 1988 and Red & Black newspaper clippings. The oldest item found so far is a 1972 Georgia football ticket coupon book.

Although the interior of Russell Hall will look brand new in the fall, these artifacts are a reminder of the history and memories that many residents made in its halls.

Alumni Spotlight: Jillian Martin
We are pleased to recognize Dr. Jillian Martin in our December alumni spotlight!

UGA degrees attained:
M.Ed. in College Student Affairs Administration, 2009; PhD in Counseling and Student Personnel Services, 2017

Tell us about your experience/involvement in University Housing.  
I worked as the Doctoral Intern for Assessment and Evaluation, 2013-2016

What is your current occupation and how did your experience in University Housing contribute to your success?
Currently, I work at Washington University in St. Louis as the assistant director for strategy and evaluation. University Housing contributed to my choice to continue to work in administration with assessment and evaluation. I enjoyed connecting with colleagues, creating instruments, analyzing data and providing information to contribute toward the amazing story of University Housing at the University of Georgia. I also carry our approach to inculcating the mission into our work (affordable, comfortable, secure, academic success, personal growth). Financially, receiving the assistanceship was critical in me getting my terminal degree!

What do you remember most about your time in University Housing?
I remember my amazing colleagues, Cube Nation (cubicles where the doctoral students worked) and the great developmental conversations with John Trawick, Dr. K, and Mary Patman!
Video + blog = vlog
Since early September of this year, University Housing has employed three first-year students to capture their experiences through a vlog (video blog) on housing’s YouTube channel.

Sam Mathew (Brumby Hall), Ian Allen (Oglethorpe House) and Allie Merwin (pictured, Hill Hall) each work on one or more videos per month about their experiences at UGA.

So far, Allie has given viewers a tour of her supplemental room in Hill Hall and shown us a day in her life as a student. She also offered some great tips for residents thinking about entering the annual Room of the Year contest that wrapped up in mid-October.

Sam roped his hallmates into entering the Room of the Year contest and took a GoPro camera to RamseyPalooza (the annual nighttime sports and games free-for-all at the Ramsey Student Center) where he captured students paddleboarding in the Olympic sized pool, playing team Xbox on huge screens in the raquetball courts, and the hilarity of bubble soccer (which you need to see to believe).

Ian, the gadget geek of the group, has been using his drone and DSLR camera to document himself checking off all the experiences in UGA’s G-Book, which lists the things students should make an effort to accomplish before graduation—such as ringing the Chapel Bell, enjoying an ice cream cone at the UGA Creamery and attending a game “between the hedges.”

Keep up with Allie, Sam and Ian by subscribing to University Housing’s YouTube channel at

University Housing, in collaboration with Multicultural Services and Programs, hosts a series of monthly and virtual live discussions called #OneUGA throughout the academic year. University Housing collaborates with student-run organizations to host the chats at The Intersection in the Tate Student Center.

In addition to the in-person event, the #OneUGA Twitter conversation is projected on a large screen for participants to watch during the chat. Fall semester topics included:
• Latinx Heritage Month
• Interpersonal Violence
• #TakeaKnee

“As a student, I think the Latinx Heritage Month #OneUGA was successful in bringing awareness of issues Latinx people deal with while celebrating the culture,” said Daisy Gallegos, president of the student organization LISTO, “It’s important that UGA students have the platform, whether electronically or in person, to talk about important topics.” 

To participate, participants may tweet using the hashtag #OneUGA or attend the conversation in person, where lunch will be provided. The next #OneUGA event is January 25 at 12:30 p.m.
Staff updates and retirements
Congratulations and best wishes to the following staff who retired in 2017.

James Aaron -security guard; Waydene Lattimore, Rita Watkins, Annie Nash, Partricia Clark, Reather Heard ; building service workers; Lawanna Laird -IT professional associate; Wanda Williams -accountant; Tim Carithers -maintenance supervisor

We are excited to welcome new staff who have joined University Housing since our last newsletter.

Executive Director's Office

Christy Tweedy -sustainability coordinator

Administrative Services and Communications

Darrel Hormeku- IT Professional Associate; Lynn Smith -accountant; Jonathan Suits -application programmer specialist


Taurus King, Megan Martin, Nicholas Ward, Kentevin Woods -building service workers

Residential Programs and Services

Tonya Collins, Terry Knight -security guard; Dale Jacobs -administrative assistant II- Vincent Morton Jr. , residence hall director
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