Following the departure of Assistant Director of Residential Life (ResLife) Stacey Phelps from the University after six years of service, the office has announced the promotion of Liliana Carrasquillo-Vasquez to assume the position.
“I have been an Area Coordinator for almost six years,” wrote Carrasquillo-Vasquez in an email to The Argus. “I love the job and have grown tremendously because of it. The past couple of years have been ones of major transitions in my personal life. I got married and had a baby. I was not ready for the challenges a career move would bring while also trying to navigate being a wife and then a first-time mom. This year, I finally felt that our family had found its footing and so I knew that it was time for me to refocus and seek out new professional opportunities. I think it was the perfect storm in [a] way: the department was going through some staffing changes, I was ready for different challenges, and my family was ready for me to take on something new.”
Carrasquillo-Vasquez arrived on campus in 2008 as the Residential Operations Coordinator and three years later was upgraded to Area Coordinator of the Butterfields. She will transition to her new role on Nov. 2. Carrasquillo-Vasquez spoke about what attracts her to the University.
“I work with some truly amazing, supportive people who bring their whole selves to work everyday and who really understand and appreciate the team and family we’ve created,” she wrote. “I trust and enjoy working with them and that is not something you get everywhere. We honestly care about each other; I have never felt that my productivity was more important than my well-being. There is an understanding that one can’t exist without the other. I honestly feel so thankful to work with the people I do. I hope they all know how much I appreciate them and the work environment we have created.”
She expanded on the positive imprint that interactions with students have placed on her.
“I have worked with some absolutely amazing, inspiring, and challenging young people,” she wrote. “Every year, I am amazed by the passion, dedication, and hard work that the RAs I work with bring to their job. I appreciate the ways in which the student body holds us, as professionals, accountable for the ways in which our jobs and decisions impact their lives and the way they experience Wesleyan. I appreciate it because I understand that, for the most part, it comes from a place of love. You all as students love Wes, you’ve invested in it and it’s shaping you, so your thoughts about the ways in which we are not measuring up come from a place of hope and accountability to make it, and us, better. And I appreciate the vulnerability, strength, and courage it often takes to do that. It has made me a better administrator and a more accountable person.”
In July, Carrasquillo-Vasquez was awarded for her work with the Cardinal Achievement Award.
“Honestly, I have been very fortunate in that when I have been ready for new opportunities they have presented themselves here, and I have been able to grow with and in an institution and department that I respect,” she wrote.
Carrasquillo-Vasquez discussed the importance of listening to all voices on campus, as well as being aware of and understanding social justice.
“I think social justice is a critical component in the work we do and am aware that there are ways in which our students identities impact them that I do not (and cannot) know, and need to work with them on to solve,” she wrote. “I am clear that we need to look at how to more intentionally incorporate social justice and restorative practices into our work in operations and housing.”
ResLife was also able to secure another vacancy in Robert Spignesi, who will become the new area coordinator for Bennet, Clark, 200 Church, and Writer’s Block. Spignesi is returning to a familiar location, as he grew up in Middletown. He received his Bachelor’s degree in Human Development and Family Studies from the University of Connecticut in 2013 and his Master’s degree in Organizational Psychology from William James College in 2016.
As for Carrasquillo-Vasquez’s replacement, it is still to be determined.
“We have not found anyone yet, but I know we are searching for one,” Carrasquillo-Vasquez wrote. “But I know that whoever it is will be amazing, and I’m sure that the Butts staff will help them transition into the job in any way they can.”