After four years of faithful work at Northwestern, Cody Hughes, resident director of Colenbrander Hall, and his wife Brooke Hughes will be moving on from NW next fall.
Hughes, a NW alum, said that being an RD was a part of his career plan since the end of his junior year at NW. During his time in Coly, he was greatly influenced by his own RD, Dustin Hamm, and eventually took a job as an RD at Geneva College after graduating NW in 2015. In December of 2016, he learned Coly was looking for a new RD, and the rest is history.
A native to Coly, holding the RD position there has been very special to Hughes.
“Sometimes when I walk down the hallways, I think back on who used to live there during my time,” Hughes said. “It wasn’t too long ago that I was a student sitting in my RD’s apartment. This isn’t unique to Coly as other halls have it too, but I like to think of the Coly guys being a part of a special lineage that you can trace.”
Hughes has learned many lessons during his time at NW. The first is realizing the importance of stories in understanding others and living in community with them.
“Stories can impact us greatly, especially when we are able to listen to someone tell their own story,” Hughes said. “I hope my guys see me as someone who wants to hear their story and perspective. I’m not perfect and I don’t do this all the time, but it’s something I try to be about.”
The other major lesson Hughes has learned is what he calls “posture.”
Hughes shared how posture is “not how we physically sit or whatever, but how we embody conviction and truth. Throughout the last 10 years or so, this is an idea that I have felt particularly convicted in.”
At NW, Hughes will be greatly missed by his co-workers and Coly residents that he leaves behind. Junior Kirby Willats, residence assistant of the basement of Coly, explains just how intentional Hughes has been with his residents.
“The best thing about Cody is the genuine interest he takes in our lives,” Willats said. “He loves Coly and the guys in it and wants to get to know every guy, and he cares for every one of us.”
RD of Hospers Hall Michael Simmelink has known Hughes since middle school.
“Cody is much more comfortable living in the complexity and gray areas of life,” Simmelink said. “I want answers and black and white. He’s helped me be more empathetic.”
For the men in Coly, adjusting to a living space without Hughes will be different, but his legacy will remain.
“I believe Cody’s legacy will be how he interacted with the guys,” Willats said.
Fern Smith Hall RD Natalie Wheeler believes that students will remember Hughes’ furry companion most.
“I think his legacy has to be something revolving around him being the ‘father’ of Odin Marlon Hughes, his dog, and all he’s done to incorporate Odin into the resident life family and Coly brotherhood,” she said.
As for what the future holds, Hughes is not entirely sure.
“I could see myself working in higher education after this, and Brooke could always be a nurse,” he said. “We are also considering some ideas outside of our careers in higher education and nursing.”
Whatever comes next for the pair, NW will always value the impact Cody made on Coly and the campus as a whole.