Staff live alongside students

Kelly Cernetich, Editor-in-Chief

Pitt-Johnstown Cascade Townhouse residents include two Housing supervisors – Area Coordinators Abby Gearhart and Erin Schutt occupy opposite ends of the complex and share a wall with some students.

“I think it’s a cool experience,” Schutt said, “seeing them outside the academic world.”

Schutt and Gearhart are required to live on campus as part of their contract, which also allows them to live rent-free, along with a few other amenities.

The coordinators’ townhouses include something other townhouses lack: a washer and dryer, better quality universityowned furniture and air conditioners.

“The mentality for us is that it’s our home… versus students who see it as a place to stay for the academic year,” Schutt said.

Gearhart, a Pitt- Johnstown alumna, said she enjoys living in a central location on campus as a professional, compared with her experience as an undergraduate living in the Living/ Learning Center.

“I like the heartbeat of the campus, and to know what’s going on,” she said.

Schutt said that living on campus is a lifestyle choice, and that it was hard to adjust to off-campus life when she left UPJ briefl y last year after having worked in Housing from 2007 to 2010.

“It was kind of scary to me because I was so used to the noise and interaction. I couldn’t figure out why it was so silent.”

Senior Kelly Mace, said that they don’t worry about getting in trouble because of their proximity to the coordinators, but wonder whether that would change should one of the coordinators have a child and decide to raise their family on campus.

“We’re college kids,” Mace said. “We’re loud on a Friday night.”

Junior Brian Hareha, another Cascade resident, said he gets along well with Gearhart and that she never gets upset when he and his roommates play music.

“She’s cool. She definitely acts professional when need be, but she talks to us on a personal level,” he said. “We blast our music and she never complains.”

Although Hareha and two of his roommates, juniors Ryan Tatrai and Adam Dunker, said they like Gearhart, they worry about getting in trouble just by being themselves.

“We’re cautious past quiet hours and on weekends,” Tatrai said.

And there is also one thing Hareha said he envies about living next to a coordinator: her air conditioning.

“The first couple of weeks here are pretty rough,” he said, “with five guys crammed into the living room. It gets hot.”