Josh Schaldenbrand is the Housefellow for Neville Apartments and the Residence on Fifth first-year community in the Oakland neighborhood of Carnegie Mellon University’s campus. He is also the university’s Coordinator of Community Standards & Integrity.
Josh earned his Bachelor of Arts in history in 2005 and his Master of Arts in counseling in 2008, both from Edinboro University. “Edinboro is located about two hours north of Pittsburgh and 20 minutes south of Lake Erie,” says Josh. “If you have seen the movie, Frozen, then you would be familiar with the weather in Edinboro from October to April.”
How did you come to join CMU?
I previously worked in residence life at three other universities where much of my work was focused on residential education and staff selection and training. I joined CMU in September 2014. During my interview process, I was so impressed with everyone I met and with how invested everyone is in their work. I was also eager to gain more experience relating to community standards and wanted to return to Pittsburgh, where I was born and raised.
What’s awesome about the Residence on Fifth community?
I would be remiss to not point out that flamingos are among the noblest creatures on this planet. Also pink (in all of its shades and hues) is by far the most glorious and majestic color in the history of time. In addition to our symbols of pride, the Rez is a great place to live – exploring Oakland is right at your fingertips! Students are close to a hub of educational activity that bridges the CMU and University of Pittsburgh campuses. This includes the shops and restaurants on Craig Street, the Carnegie Museums and library, and Schenley Plaza. Beyond that, our community is unique in that we are relatively small. This allows for “Rezzies” to get to know one another on a more personal level.
What are you most looking forward to for the Neville community in the year ahead?
Who wouldn’t be looking forward to being the Housefellow for a community named in honor of Grammy award-winning, R&B vocalist, Aaron Neville? Most of the residents of the Neville community were first-year students in the Rez, so I am looking forward to welcoming them back to the Oakland community for their second year at CMU. I am also excited about how the Rez and Neville residents might interact with one another.
Share one of your most prized CMU memories.
Spring Carnival is always a highpoint in the year for me. Timing the buggy races with other staff members is something I love to do. It allows me to see the creativity and hard work of our students in action as they push their teams’ buggy across the finish line. More importantly, the time invested in building relationships with students has been incredibly meaningful for me. Those relationships are what I treasure the most about being a Housefellow and being a part of the Carnegie Mellon community.
What is an important life lesson you have learned from a student or students?
In this work I have learned many things from students. The most important lesson that I have had confirmed for me is the importance of being authentic. The moments when people are truly themselves are the moments when reflection and resilience can flourish. This applies to good times, bad times, and in between times. The students whom I have been fortunate enough to work with have taught me a lot about how important it is for me to maintain my authenticity and to allow others to see who I am.
Outside of work, what are your hobbies/interests? What are you passionate about?
I am a doctoral student in the Higher Education Management EdD Program at the University of Pittsburgh and that takes up quite a bit of my time. Beyond that I read, I Netflix, I cook, and I attempt in vain to train my two dogs, Jack and Sam. I’m extremely passionate about Pittsburgh sports teams, specifically the Pirates. Most importantly, I enjoy spending time with my partner, Meredith, and also my nephews, Henry and Baker.
All-time favorite book(s): You could ask me this question and I’d give you one answer on Monday and a different one on Tuesday. Right now I am really immersed in reading for classes, but in reading “for fun” I really enjoy memoirs, biography, and autobiographies because they are often both historical and personal. Most recently I read Eric Clapton’s autobiography.
If you could have dinner with anyone in the world, dead or alive, who would it be?
You get to eat a meal where fat, calories, sodium, and cholesterol get completely wiped off the books. What would be your food of choice for this very special (and sadly impossible) meal?
Mineo’s Pizza in Squirrel Hill.