BY HALEY HODGES
Withup to 492 residents, the Goodwin-Kirk residence hall is a megalopolis to some.
To Matt Nemmers, the new Residence Hall Coordinator and Coordinator of Student Wellness Education, Goodwin-Kirk is his new job and home.
“I got lost for the first three days. After that I intentionally put myself in different corners of the building and tried to figure out the easiest way to get from point A to point B,” Nemmers said.
While Goodwin-Kirk can be daunting, Nemmers is well equipped to take on Drake University’s largest residence hall.
Nemmers said he has worked in student life in the past and has a large support system at Drake to ensure everything runs smoothly.
“I look at (Goodwin-Kirk) as one city and there’s no way I could make this run without all of my RAs, my assistant coordinator, and Mindy (Davis) at the front desk,” Nemmers said. “It’s very much a unified team that we’ve got working together, and I’d be sunk without it.”
Along with being a residence hall coordinator, Nemmers said he has explored numerous other roles and activities and is working on his eighth college degree.
“In my free time, I’m also a search and rescue diver here in Des Moines,” Nemmers said. “I‘ve been a personal chef; a university softball coach, where we went to the national championship for the first time in the school’s history; I’ve coached gymnastics and cheerleading; I had my own radio shows; (and) been a professional sports announcer. If somebody’s asked me if I wanted to try something, I’m like ‘Yeah, let’s try it!’ There are tons of opportunities out there if you are willing to let yourself try and go outside of your comfort zone.”
While Nemmers has experience in many areas, he finds that working in residence life is a good match for him.
“I knew that, for me, interacting with people is my wheelhouse. So being stuck in a cubicle all day wasn’t my dream job,” Nemmers said. “That’s one of the reasons I love this job because I have 492 possible residents plus staff to interact with on a daily basis.”
As a staple of the Goodwin-Kirk community, Nemmers encourages students to come introduce themselves and interact with him.
With so many residents, Nemmers wants the opportunity to meet as many of them as possible.
“If my door is open, people are welcome to stop in any time they want,” Nemmers said. “If I’m out and about, feel free to stop (me) and say hi.”
Nemmers wants to interact with his residents in more ways than just being a resource and a guide. He plans to forge friendships with them.
“I still owe a couple of residents a card game or two because I’ve been passing by and been in the middle of something and said ‘I will come back and I will play, I promise’ and I just haven’t gotten around to it yet,” Nemmers said. “The way I see it, I live in the building so avoiding people isn’t what I’m here for. I expect to be a resource. I expect to make those connections with the residents here.”