Freshmen and transfer students are not the only new faces on campus this year. Northwestern College’s Colenbrander “Coly” Hall gained a new resident director, Brian Follett, after saying goodbye to Cody Hughes of four years.
NW is not new to Follett, as he attended NW and graduated in 2018.
“I pursued a double major of business administration and religion – now biblical and theological studies,” Follett said. “After graduating here, I went to Denver Seminary and earned a Master of Divinity with a concentration in Chaplaincy.”
Follett first visited NW when he was junior in high school. He wished to go to a Christian college, he but was uncertain about NW until his visit.
“I visited NW as a second choice,” Follett said. “I came apprehensively because I don’t like cold weather or small towns. But after my visit, I knew I was coming here. The way I felt in my visit – staying in Coly – made me feel like I already belonged. Everyone during my visit, whether it was a student, professor or coach made me feel known and was incredibly kind. My entire experience at NW and specifically my time as an RA really shaped me into who I am and is the reason I am back here as an RD.”
NW has many positive memories for Follett because this is where he met his wife, Madison Raska.
“Madison is two years older than me and was my orientation group leader when I was a freshman,” Follet said. “We dated the four years I was a student and got married the summer after I graduated in 2018.”
Madison graduated with a public relations degree and now works as the assistant manager at Terrace View Event Center in Sioux Center.
Follett’s original goal after college was to be a chaplain; however, during seminary, Follett felt called to become an RD. His time as a North Suites resident assistant made him realize he wanted to pursue a college-relational ministry. So, when a position at NW opened, Follett applied.
“How cool is it that I can be present and walk alongside college students as a job,” Follett said.
Follett compares moving into his new position to his freshman year at NW.
“I remember my time here at NW and one thing I remember being so amazing as a freshman was how quickly I went from feeling scared in a new place to feeling this deep sense of belonging and that I was home,” Follett recalled. “When I came into Coly and the guys started filling the rooms, the same thing happened. My RAs helped me get acclimated and were supportive in many ways.”
Follett enjoys connecting with his residents with various Coly activities, and his residents enjoy it, too.
“It’s very reassuring to be able to work with someone that is excited about investing and developing relationships with his students,” resident assistant Misael Bruzzone said. “Brian and Madison have both been amazing mentors and getting to know them has been a real blessing.”
In addition to the Follett’s, they also bring a new bundle of joy to campus: Ozzy the Cavachon.
“Ozzy is also pretty great,” Bruzzone said.
Another resident assistant in Coly, AJ Schaefer, appreciates Follett’s willingness to try new things.
“What makes Brian a great RD is that he is passionate about other people’s passions – no matter what it is,” Schaefer said.
Follett echoed the same sentiment about his enjoyment of trying new things and listening to other people’s interests.
“So far, I enjoy walking the halls and getting to have conversations or play various games with the people here,” Follett said. “Whether it is playing Madacascarts in Bandana Beau Risley’s room, playing surviv.io with the guys in the basement or challenging guys in ping pong, it is so amazing to get to connect with everybody here.”