Steal This Job

Dorm Doyenne: Community Director

By Danny Freedman
Thursday, December 22, 2005; 6:53 PM


JOB: Community director at George Washington University

SALARY: Around $30,000

EDUCATION: Bachelor's in social work and master's in higher education student affairs from Southern Illinois University

WHAT SHE DOES: Clemens and her staff of 22 coordinate residential life for 1,600 students in four campus residence halls. She orchestrates events, such as "Late Night With the President" -- a Q&A/dorm-pride rally for the freshmen with the university president -- and supervises activities like trips to embassies or New York museums. Tightly-packed communities also need a referee (one of her dorms, Thurston Hall, holds some 1,049 freshmen). Clemens helps defuse roommate conflicts "that get fairly intense," links students with counseling services and confronts emergencies, from drug use to attempted suicide to non-functional key cards. "I've seen it all," she said -- and she just started in July.

WOULD YOU WANT HER JOB? Not if you don't love the student lifestyle. Residing in a dorm is required, and Clemens both lives and works in Thurston. But if you can hack it, there's free cable and Internet access, and taking classes is almost free.

HOW YOU CAN GET HER JOB: You'll need a master's or equivalent experience, usually in higher education student affairs or counseling, though other community directors at GW come from backgrounds in art, American studies and public health.

FOR MORE INFORMATION: American College Personnel Association

This article originally appeared in the Express on December 20, 2004.

© 2005 The Washington Post Company