A review of student needs and services leads to changes in Residence Life

Positions with more oversight will focus on support, safety, and community-building in residences

Molson Hall Residence building.

Student Housing and Hospitality Services (SHHS) has begun sharing its new model for supporting and accompanying students living in residence.

The change follows a lengthy review of residence life services and surveys of student residents. They revealed a need to rethink certain positions while continuing to promote awareness of McGill’s wide range of existing support services. The result will be the creation of a new Residence Life Senior Advisor position and the hiring of over 30 additional Residence Life Facilitators.

“We currently have 11 Residence Life Facilitators divided between the downtown and Macdonald Campus residences. They are very successful at creating engagement through the activities they organize and through social media channels,” said Daniel Fournier, Associate Director, Residence Life.

“By hiring more of them, we hope to create additional opportunities for students to engage with each other in a safe and positive way. We also think it will provide more senior students with a flexible work opportunity, tailored to their busy school schedule,” said Fournier.

The new Senior Advisor role will involve a number of responsibilities including coordinating crisis intervention and mental health support for students living in residence.

“The position will also be responsible for maintaining the high quality of community building programs in residences,” said Mathieu Laperle, Senior Director, Student Housing and Hospitality Services.

As for floor fellows, the current cohort will be the last. The Residence Life review found that the role they once played is being filled by many other Student Life and Learning service offerings.

“Examples include the SHHS security service, the Office for Sexual Violence, Response, Support and Education, telehealth services like telehealth services like keep.meSAFE, Dialogue and Maple, and the Wellness Hub, and crisis support services offered through the Office of the Dean of Students. The landscape of services we now offer is very different than it was even 10 years ago,” said Fournier.

 Safety first and opportunities for upper-year and graduate students

Though the new positions focus on connecting students with the services they need and fostering community, safety aspects of life in residence remain the priority.

“The focus of all of our staff members is student safety and well-being and supporting anyone who appears to be struggling. In terms of our buildings, we’ve invested heavily in security technology like card readers and security cameras,” said Laperle.

Though housing for McGill’s first-year students continue to be a Residence Life focus, the service review also revealed an increasing housing need for upper level and graduate students.

“In 2024-25 academic year, Solin Hall will become a graduate student residence because the demand for graduate housing is increasing,” said Laperle.

“And, for the first time, we will welcome back returning students in one of our buildings. The long-standing tradition has been to cater primarily to first-year students, but now we will offer that option to all students studying at McGill. It is a change of mindset but I’m confident we are going in the right direction.”

For information about Residence Life offering, consult their website.