From housing forms to student activities to parking passes, Alli Den Boer does it all. You’ve probably seen her name across many of the emails that come into your inbox daily. She is the woman behind the curtain at Northwestern that pulls the strings on more than you probably realize.
As the student life administrative assistant, Den Boer is in charge of helping students with anything pertaining to student life as well as assisting her staff members in the student life department. Some of her daily tasks include answering student questions, recording meeting minutes, assisting campus security and maintaining housing records. Den Boer is also the friendly voice of NW behind the number on our website. When people call in, she is in charge of directing them to the place they would like to go or the place they may not realize they actually need to be.
But her role also changes with the seasons. August is one of her favorite months.
“I love seeing all the work I did throughout the summer come to life,” Den Boer said.
She also enjoys August because she is able to interact with all of the incoming students and their families as she takes their new ID photos.
Christmas is additionally a favorite season of hers. Most of November and December is spent wrapping up the work done at the beginning of the fall semester and starting new projects in preparation for the spring.
“It’s such a neat blend of closing chapters for some students and starting over for others, and campus is just beautiful that time of the year,” she said.
Den Boer often works with residence life staff and the campus ministry team to coordinate and disperse information about the various events on campus. Although she has been at NW for a little under two years, her impact has not gone unnoticed – especially by her coworkers.
Barb Dewald, associate dean of Christian formation, said, “I like Alli and find her to have a joyful spirit.”
“I love how Alli’s presence radiates hospitality, compassion and patience,” said Caylan DeLucia, resident director of Stegenga Hall, “She is incredible.”
This spirit of patience and compassion is perfect for her position. Den Boer also deals with parking tickets or greeting students before disciplinary meetings.
Though others may find this to be a less than appealing part of a job, Den Boer said, “I try to keep the experience as positive as possible and create a comfortable space for each of our visitors.”
She knows that though students may be upset, that is most likely coming from a place of anxiety or confusion.
Regardless of the reason, she is so happy she is able to work with students on a daily basis. Den Boer’s desk has quite a bit of foot traffic despite it being tucked away on the second floor of Ramaker.
“During the summer or when students are on break, it is nice to work without interruptions, but I really do miss the interaction with students during that time,” Den Boer said.
When she can, she also likes to see students at chapel services. Den Boer enjoys the short break in the week to listen to a message and to hear the many talents of NW students that are featured at various chapels. If you don’t see her there, stop by her office any time with questions, comments or just to say hello.
“I really love how much I learn every day on campus and to no surprise, a lot of the lessons learned are from student interactions,” Den Boer said.