University Housing recently recognized staff and residents who embody NC State’s “think and do” spirit. Two sets of awards were given out this summer: the Kay Yow Spirit of the Village Awards and Housing Staff Awards.
NC State is home to 15 living and learning villages, which accommodate the various interests of the student body. One resident from every village was awarded, and staff from across 20 residence halls were recognized and celebrated.
During its inception, the Arts Village was centered on a common interest for theater. This year’s recipient of the Kay Yow Spirit of the Village Award for the Arts Village is Chirag Jagdish Gunjal, a second-year studying computer science with a double minor in music composition and mathematics.
“The Arts Village has undoubtedly helped me gain perspective on many things ranging from Arts to different cultures and even philosophical problems,” Gunjal said in an email. “Being able to talk with other residents about almost anything without the fear of being judged has helped me engage in productive conversation with like-minded people.”
Another key aspect of the awards is the ability to take initiative and start something new within the community. Gunjal and his hallmates used the Arts Village to begin their own band, Funk Wanted.
“I met my incredibly talented hallmates with whom I was able to start Funk Wanted, a band only defined by the style of funk but not by any genre,” Gunjal said. “As musicians, we come from different backgrounds and think differently, but we are brought together by the common goal of creating good music. To me, that is quite representative of the Arts Village.”
Jack Featherstone, a second-year studying physics, is the recipient of the Resident Mentor of the Year award. Featherstone is the resident mentor for the Honors and Scholars Village. Resident mentors serve as an additional resource to students in living and learning villages. They act as a point of reference for new students academically and socially.
To enhance organization at Village Point, Featherstone created a Google Sheet which automatically updates a master attendance sheet for Council, RA and village events.
“The spring semester gave me the opportunity to work behind the scenes,” Featherstone said. “We worked to streamline redundancies by creating a Village Point Google spreadsheet. We integrated this into Slack and introduced it to the community. I will be presenting this work along with two to three members at NCHC (National Collegiate Honors Council) in Dallas this November.”
The first-year on-campus living requirement has also been a positive experience for Featherstone and other residents receiving these awards, and has helped shape their overall college experience.
“I lived in the Quad commons in my first year and this helped me develop a sense of community, which is why I applied for the position of resident mentor,” Featherstone said. “What I enjoyed most about this position is that I was able to develop and implement skills that are not necessarily required for a mentor job. I learned a lot.”
As an international student, Gunjal said the villages extended a warm welcome.
“I could not have chosen a better place to live in, especially as an international student,” Gunjal said. “When people ask me about the experience of moving to a foreign nation, I have nothing but good things to say, thanks to the warmth of the Arts Village community.”
Featherstone also highlighted that the welcoming nature of the village can be especially helpful for freshmen entering this predominantly online semester.
“Communities and villages provide great opportunities to learn and grow, but more so now than ever, one has to be proactive to realize these opportunities,” Featherstone said. “Don't be afraid to ask for help from your peers, professors, mentors and RAs; we're all in this together.”