New director plans to engage more students


Tyler McNulty

New Student Activities and Engagement Director Heather Hall works in her new office in G61 Student Union. Hall has been working in student affairs for 22 years.

Tyler McNulty, News Editor

There’s a new student activities and engagement director.

Pitt-Johnstown administrators named Heather Hall to the position previously known as Student Life director.

Hall has been working in student affairs for 22 years.  

According to Student Affairs Vice President Shawn Brooks, the new title better reflects goals for the semester.

“With ‘engagement’ in the title, it’s a constant reminder on what (office members) hope to accomplish: get students ready for the real world,” Brooks said. 

Hall agreed, saying that everything she learned came from working outside of the classroom.

She came to Pitt-Johnstown after being a student life director at Aquinas College in Grand Rapids, Michigan, for nine years.

Hall said Aquinas officials reconstructed their student activities hierarchy, putting Hall to look for a job, which led her to Pitt-Johnstown.

“The (job) description was everything that I am,” Hall said. “Within seven days, I was talking to (Brooks about the position).”

In addition to being the student activities and engagement director, Hall also oversees campus Greek life.

Brooks said he has high hopes with Hall being in charge of fraternities and sororities, since Hall was in a Sigma Kappa sorority in college.

Brooks added he hopes Hall will be able to recruit more women to form more sororities on campus.

“I am not happy with one (sorority on campus),” Brooks said.

“Every Greek-letter organization has its own founding principles. With multiple sororities on campus, women would have more choices available to them that might be a better fit,” he said.

Hall said she has witnessed sororities colonize through her past experience working with Sigma Kappa, for which she helped with recruitment, looked at issues and addressed them.

“It was kind of like being a (resident assistant),” she said.

Hall said she has already talked with female students about starting another sorority.

“Hopefully, by the end of this semester, we will have a plan (for adding another sorority),” Hall said.

She also said she has been in contact with members of the Inter-Fraternity Council.

“Some of the men are committed to creating a comfortable environment to add another sorority,” she said.

Additionally, Hall said she would like to have fraternity men, instead of stereotypical frat boys.

“The social aspect of a fraternity is very important, but the service of fraternities is also just as important.”

According to Brooks, Hall was hired because he thinks she has an idea of what students are interested in.

“She has her finger on the pulse of what will inspire students,” Brooks said.

Hall plans to implement Late Night Weekend, which she borrowed from Penn State.

“I’ve used this approach at two other schools (Aquinas College and Grand Valley State University, Grand Rapids, Michigan) and it worked,” Hall said.

She said, each weekend, Pitt-Johnstown will help sponsor a student organization in the “hot spot.”

Hall is to pick an organization who wishes to sponsor an event for one weekend night.

“We would help promote the event and help get food. So not only are the students promoting it, but we also are and can potentially reach a larger number of students,” Hall said.

In addition, Hall said members are to bring people to campus to put on a show, in collaboration with programming board.

This Saturday, “The Human iPod,” John Rush, tie dye and a pool tournament are to be available in the Student Union.

Hall also said she is trying to create a better social media presence for the Pitt-Johnstown community.

“We have a lot to offer people, but they can’t go if they don’t know.

“Hopefully, within the next week, (students) can’t miss an opportunity that’s going on,” she said.

While Brooks is excited for what Hall has in store for the year, he says her greatest challenge will be learning the culture of Pitt-Johnstown.

Hall agreed, saying that she doesn’t want to change what Pitt-Johnstown is, but make Pitt-Johnstown what it could be.

However, she said that her greatest strength is her commitment and energy toward the potential of ideas.

“If I get excited and believe (in an idea), hopefully someone will get behind it,” she said.

Brooks also said her greatest strength is her ability to interact with other people.

“(Hall) really enjoys being with the students,” Brooks said.