Every year, things change on campus, and this year two of those things are the Resident Directors of Hospers Hall and Colenbrander Hall. Coly’s new RD is Cody Hughes, a 2015 Northwestern biohealth graduate who lives here with his wife Brooke and Hospers’ new RD, Michael Simmelink, a 2014 NW graduate with degrees in Journalism and Religion.
Hughes decided to become an RD after living in Coly all four years of his college career and being a Resident Assistant for two of them. He was also inspired by his own RD, Dustin Hamm.
“I loved what Dustin was able to do for me, and I thought, shoot, if I could be paid to hang out with college students and try to impact their lives and make their experience better, why would I not try to do that?” Hughes said.
Hughes also said it was an interesting feeling coming back to NW with a different role.
“It feels so familiar yet different, with different faces,” Hughes said. “When I left here, I knew who a lot of people were, but I was gone for just two years and there’s just a handful of people I remember.”
What Hughes is looking forward to most as an RD is getting to know the guys in Coly over the multiple years they’ll be there.
“When I was an RD in Geneva, I was in an all-freshman hall, so by the end of the year when I had that sweet spot of getting to know the guys, they’d be moved up to the apartments and next year a new batch of guys would come in,” Hughes said.
Therefore, Hughes is excited to get to spend more time with the guys here. His biggest concern right now is time as he finishes up his Master’s.
“I am just trying to balance spending time with Brooke, spending time with the guys in the hall, and always having this big project that’s going to take a lot of time to get done, so balancing all those things is a concern of mine,” Hughes said.
Simmelink, on the other hand, ended up becoming an RD in Hospers by chance.
I couldn’t be happier that God’s plan was different than mine.
– Michael Simmelink
“I had really enjoyed my four years in room 224 in Coly and I knew if I ever had the chance to be a RD at NW I would take the opportunity,” Simmelink said. “When Dustin left, I threw my name into the hat for Coly.”
Simmelink ended up being offered the spot in Hospers instead, but was not disappointed.
“I couldn’t be happier that God’s plan was different than mine,” Simmelink said.
He also found one thing very weird about coming to campus as an RD instead of a student.
“I’m pretty good with names, so when I was on campus I had a pretty good idea of who most students were,” Simmelink said. “Now it’s like everyone who isn’t a RA or on the soccer teams is a freshman to me.”
Simmelink is really looking forward to further developing the culture and identity of Hospers Hall. However, his major concern as an RD is maintaining his friendships outside the NW community.
“I’ve got a lot of great friends all over the country, and setting aside the time to foster and maintain those relationships while pouring into the dorm is tough,” Simmelink said.
Still, in regard to his relationships here, Simmelink said he has been very surprised so far by the men of Hospers.
“It’s not that I thought poorly of the dudes, I’ve just seen Kingdom moments of guys living and loving in a sacrificial way,” Simmelink said. “I’ve been emotionally moved a couple of a times by what I’ve seen from my dudes.”
NW sees a change in RDs from time to time, but these RDs are also adjusting to the changes that have occurred to NW while they’ve been away. They said they are ready to take on the challenge.