Erin Papakostas ‘23
Davidson is currently without a Patterson Court Council Advisor, after former Advisor Erica Urban left the position in July. Urban had served in the role since 2014. Mike Goode, Director of the College Union and Student Activities, said that though a search was conducted for Urban’s replacement, it was late in the typical hiring cycle, and Goode felt that their pool of applicants “was not as good as it will be” when they search again next spring.
Goode began working with Urban last year to pick up some of the work managing the houses, but now he carries out most of Urban’s duties himself, including keeping track of PCC membership, encouraging new members, and educating current ones. While PCC has many moving parts, Goode says he is focusing on one thing at a time. Right now, he is turning his attention to training students to be risk managers.
Goode has had help from others in this transitional period, including Associate Dean of Students Sarah Buchanan and Cathy Horridge, an administrative assistant from the Office of Student Activities. Many from the Student Life Division, including student employees in the Student Activities Office, have also helped carry out the responsibility that Goode has accumulated. For example, student workers have taken on a bigger role managing houses, in particular risk managing events.
In the future, Goode wants the new PCC Advisor to “take all these responsibilities and share them a bit more broadly.” Goode also noted that since Patterson Court Council is a student-run organization, his job is “to work with [students] to help them do their business.” Goode added, “Davidson students are really capable.”
PCC President Alexis LeMone ‘20 noted that her first semester on the job has been “crazy,” since she intended to rely on Urban to guide her in the role. “I had no idea what really came with being PCC President,” said LeMone. She explained how supportive Goode has been – the two have been able to “learn [their] new roles together.” She added, “It’s been tough, but it’s nothing we can’t handle.”
Connor House President Caroline Macaulay ‘20 said that since Urban had been the primary campus expert on PCC, right now “it’s not always clear whether or not anyone in PCC anymore really has a concrete answer” when they are confronted with a problem. “That’s no one’s fault,” she added, “obviously this is a really big-time transition.”
Tatianna Travieso ‘20, President of Rusk House, explained that Goode “definitely has a lot on his plate,” but that he “is doing everything that he can to help us.”
Other current presidents of PCC organizations had also assumed office prior to Urban’s departure, ensuring they had experience working within the old system. Zach Miller ‘20, President of Fiji, noted that the only real change this year is less face-to-face time with a faculty member, and main communication is done via email.
Goode is looking for a new hire that is “smart enough to keep up with Davidson College students.” Ideally, the candidate would be creative and exhibit a strong passion for working to improve Greek Life on campus. “It’s much easier to train people to do stuff, like learn skills. And it’s a bit more challenging to get them to think about the work you do in a certain way.”
Macaulay added that a new hire needs to have an “awareness of what students really need from non-academic organizations” as well as a level of understanding of “what makes students happy.” LeMone explained that it’s important for an advisor to “love their job and be dedicated to their job.” Miller acknowledged that the job can be “hard when you are taking complaints from both sides: from the administration on one side who wants to do things a certain way and from students who want it a certain way.”
LeMone admitted that “while it has been a tough transition, I definitely find it to be a rewarding one thus far. PCC may not look like it did last year, or maybe the year before that, but we really appreciate everyone taking the time to help me and learn our new roles.”