Carrocci Hall’s sense of community inspires campus

Dec 20, 2021
Carrocci Hall residents

Ian Lecki, a senior business marketing major, resident assistant and baseball player, was nominated with his residents for their community-building efforts in Carrocci Hall for this month’s “Tell Me Something Good” initiative.

Ian Lecki
Ian Lecki

“Tell Me Something Good” is a two-part project led by Student Life that allows members of the Newman community to nominate both an individual student as well as a group of students who are making a positive difference on a monthly basis. The students selected will then be recognized on campus throughout their featured month.

“Ian is a fantastic resident assistant (RA), and he’s involved in what seems like every aspect of the university,” director of residence life Turner Middendorf said. 

Turner Middendorf, director of residence life
Turner Middendorf, director of residence life

Lecki is a member of the President’s Student Cabinet, Student Government Association and he is the senator for the School of Business. He also serves on the Newman homecoming committee and as an ambassador for the admissions team. 

“Ian genuinely tries to put the residents first in every decision he makes,” Middendorf added. “He has done a wonderful job with improving student involvement in Carrocci Hall, and we’re excited to see what he has in store for the spring semester.”

Inventing their own events

Lecki transferred to Newman University from Hesston College, where he remembers his RA as someone who was actively involved with the residents. He encouraged them to participate in a multitude of events on campus and always had an open-door policy.

“I’ve had my door open in Carrocci Hall and I can’t tell you the number of people who stop by,” Lecki said. “They stop by to see the game I’m playing or what homework I’m doing or just to talk. I think Hesston has given me the knowledge on how to apply what I learned as a resident here at Newman.”

At the start of each month, Lecki or a fellow RA will update the residence hall calendar, which displays all the activities to be held in Carrocci Hall. 

“One of my residents Thomas (Ford) came through when I was cleaning the board and he asked, ‘Can we make our own calendar?’ So they went through and they just started to write down stuff that kind of went along with the first letter of their names. One was ‘Ted Talk with Thomas: What Not to Do When Away at College.’”

The Carrocci Hall calendar of events was added to by residents.
The Carrocci Hall calendar of events was added to by residents.

Soon, other residents added their own informal talks to the calendar. It wasn’t long before topics like “How to Keep Your Secrets a Secret” and “Karate Night with Kent” were scrawled in dry erase marker on the board.

“Cooper held a talk about ‘How to Appropriately Snapchat Girls,’” Lecki explained. “I figured it was a joke, so I didn’t go. But when I was on rounds and walked past, I saw 40 or 45 guys all sitting on the floor and couch, listening to Cooper’s talk.”

He continued, “Then they wrote down that I was going to give a concert. The residents started telling other students, and by the time word had gotten out about the concert, I had vice president Christine (Schneikart-Luebbe) asking when it was because she wanted to come watch. And I had Sister Therese (Wetta, ASC) wanting to know when it was because some of the sisters might want to come watch.”

With a growing audience, Lecki requested using the performance hall in DeMattias for the concert, which is tentatively planned for next semester.

“Now that (my residents) are essentially planning their own events, they’re getting a little taste of why it’s so important to attend other events on campus,” Lecki said.

Quote of the day and a Christmas tree

“Ted Talk” activities are just the beginning of Carrocci Hall’s community building, however. 

Around Thanksgiving, residents of Lecki’s floor asked to display a Christmas tree in Carrocci Hall. Residents of Fugate Hall liked the idea of a Christmas tree in their lobby, too, so before long both halls sported a festive tree.

Christmas tree in Carrocci Hall
Christmas tree in Carrocci Hall

“It looks beautiful and the guys are so happy with it,” Lecki said. 

A few residents of Carrocci also decided to start displaying a quote of the day. A quote that caught Lecki’s eye was one by Sheryl Sandberg.

“Leadership is about making others better as a result of your presence and making sure that the impact lasts in your absence,” the quote read.

“I’ve told them, you know, whether they want to be an RA or not, at some point in their life, they’re going to need to step up into a leadership role,” Lecki said. “Understanding that it’s not about the impact we have now, but what we leave behind. That’s what is most important.”

The art of showing up

Residents are encouraged to attend as many on-campus events as they can — from Sloppy Joe Improv shows ⁹⁰to events hosted by the Hispanic American Leadership Organization (HALO), Newman athletics and more.

It’s not about the impact we have now but what we leave behind. That’s what is most important.”

Ian Lecki

“It’s important to go to attend these events because other students put so much of their time into them,” Lecki said.

One of the most rewarding aspects of witnessing the creative sense of community in Carrocci Hall, Lecki said, is that his residents have “started activities that might turn into traditions.”

“We have these great brains on campus, and I think they’ve really opened up a bit and taken down some of their walls since the beginning of the year,” Lecki said. “I would take a little bit of credit but I think they’ve done a phenomenal job (of building community) and I’m very proud of them.”

Lecki added, “I think sometimes it really does just take one person showing that they care about these things and that you can work to make the place better.”

Student Life is now accepting nominations for the “Tell Me Something Good” initiative for the spring 2022 semester. Read on to nominate a student or student group for well-deserved recognition.

Tell Me Something Good

Do you know of a group in the Newman community that deserves recognition? Submit your nomination today to help recognize those who are making a positive difference. The Student Life office will consider all nominations and announce the group with the most outstanding nomination(s).

Student Spotlight

Do you know a Newman student who deserves recognition? Submit your nomination today to help recognize a student who is making a positive difference. The Student Life office will consider all nominations and announce the group with the most outstanding nomination(s).

Video: Daniel Knolla | Why I Live on Campus