Getting to Know Jordan Kunz

Jordan Kunz is the Housefellow for Shirley Apartments, a first-year apartment community in the Oakland area, and Fairfax Apartments, an upperclass community. He also sits on Provost Jahanian’s Task Force on the CMU Experience which is a group designed to make immediate and long-term changes to enhance the experience for students, faculty, staff, and alumni.

Jordan completed his undergraduate degree at CMU in business with a minor in computer science. He is currently pursuing a master’s in information systems management through CMU’s  Heinz College, and in the future is looking to move into the field of technology consulting.

How did you come to join Carnegie Mellon?

I am actually a native to the Pittsburgh area, and growing up I knew what a great school Carnegie Mellon was. When I was accepted in 2011, I was really excited for the opportunity to go here, and I have been here ever since!

I’ve been involved in Student Life pretty much my entire time at CMU. I was a Resident Assistant twice, a Community Advisor my senior year of undergrad, and an active member of the Student Dormitory Council. As I was graduating from undergrad and getting ready to start my graduate work, it just so happened that Shirley Apartments was going to be transitioning to a first-year community. I was offered the chance to be Housefellow for that community, and that’s where I’ve stayed

What makes Shirley Apartments so awesome?

I think there are a lot of pretty great things about life in Shirley. One of my favorite things is just walking through the halls in the evening and smelling all of the food everyone is making. Every apartment in Shirley has a kitchen, and people definitely take advantage of that. We have multiple potluck events throughout the year because few things are more fun than sharing your favorite dishes with your friends.

I also think what’s great about Shirley is that it’s such a small community. It’s the only community on campus where you can learn everyone’s name in the first week without really trying. It so quickly becomes a tight-knit community where people feel really comfortable with one another, and that leads to really great adventures, discussions, and experiences.

What kinds of first-year programs take place in Shirley?

The most popular programs we have in Shirley are definitely the Thanksgiving potluck, Milkshakes in the Yard, and Shirnival. When everyone in the building has a kitchen, why not make an awesome Thanksgiving meal together as a house? We have the Thanksgiving staples, but we also have a lot of fun dishes that people want to share with their friends which makes for a really unique and delicious meal.

Shirley has a side yard creatively referred to as “The Yard.” As a celebration for the last day of classes, we all go out to The Yard and make milkshakes, hit a piñata, and play games. It’s a great way for everyone to have one last shared experience together before they leave for the summer.

Shirnival is an event run by Shirley’s House Council during Spring Carnival. The House Council hosts games, holds contests, and has fun prizes for people. It’s a really unique event because houses typically don’t have events during Carnival, but Shirley wanted to do its own thing and they had a really good time with it!

Share one of your most prized CMU memories.

My favorite day (or days depending on the weather) every year is Raceday for Sweepstakes. The buggy races are just such a cool experience, and my first Raceday is really special to me. The swarms of people, the jumbotrons, the excitement. It all just adds up to a really fun day for anyone involved, whether they are spectating or participating.

Outside of work, what are your hobbies/interests? What are you passionate about?

I am into sports, superheroes, and learning. I try to follow as many sports as I can, and have played nine different sports competitively in my life. I also spend a lot of time watching superhero TV shows and movies because they’re just a lot of fun. In terms of learning, I’m always finding new things I want to learn about. Currently I’m working toward being fluent in Spanish, learning how to do sports analytics, and learning how to cook.

All-time favorite book:

My favorite book is Ender’s Game by Orson Scott Card. I first read it in eighth grade and it’s been my favorite book ever since! It’s not a particularly long read so I reread it every once in a while.

If you could give first-year students one single piece of advice as they start their journey here, what would it be?

My best piece of advice for first-year students is always this: you’re going to change in college, so accept that and make it change that you want to see in yourself. College is a chance to hit the restart button on how you perceive yourself and how others perceive you. Take advantage of that to become a person you are proud of.

Getting to Know Lenny Chan

Lenny S. Chan is one of two Housefellows, along with Aaron George, for Morewood Gardens, the residence hall that more than 450 upper-class Carnegie Mellon University students call home. He also oversees CMU’s Community Standards process, which includes being process advisor for the University Disciplinary Committee, coordinating safety-related programming, serving as the advisor to SafeWalk (a program that provides escorts to students and faculty who are walking on or near campus during late night hours), and working with compliance as it relates to student life.

Lenny earned his bachelor’s in psychology and master’s in college student personnel, both from Slippery Rock University.

How did you come to join CMU?

After earning my master’s degree while working full time, I was looking forward to a new adventure. I began my career at Carnegie Mellon working with Greek Life, specifically with the fraternities and special events (Greek Sing and Greek Council). After three years, I transitioned into a housefellow role in the Oakland community. For seven years, I was the Housefellow for Fairfax Apartments as well as other housing communities in Oakland. This is my first year working in Morewood Gardens, and it’s been great!

Why is the Morewood Gardens community awesome?

Morewood Gardens is the largest house community on campus so there is tremendous opportunity for students to connect with one another. The building has many amenities and is convenient to most campus locations. The RA staff does a great job of providing a variety of programming for their specific floor sections as well as for the entire building. We often host special programs at Morewood Gardens because of its central location. “Big Questions,” an opportunity for students to discuss meaningful issues with faculty and other students in a relaxed and informal setting, is one example.

Share one of your most prized CMU memories.

This is challenging since I have so many. I would have to say every commencement day. There is something so special about being on campus that day. Regardless of the weather or anything else that is going on in life, commencement makes you feel good about Carnegie Mellon and the work that is done here throughout the year.

What is an important life lesson you have learned from a student or students?

Be passionate about something. Whether it is a professional or personal interest, find at least one thing and go all in.

Lenny and Jennifer's rescue pups, Finn and Riley, looking totally adorbs.
Lenny and Jennifer’s rescue pups, Finn and Riley, looking totally adorbs.

Outside of work, what are your hobbies/interests? What are you passionate about?

I enjoy reading nonfiction and learning about local history. I currently serve on the board of trustees for my fraternity (Phi Kappa Theta) and look for ways to engage in the Pittsburgh community. Pittsburgh is a great city and has so much to offer, and I try to take advantage of those things as much as possible. My wife, Jennifer, and I enjoy eating at local restaurants, supporting local businesses, and attending events in the Cultural District. We also have two rescue dogs, Finn and Riley, who are a big part of our family.

All-time favorite book: When Pride Still Mattered by David Maraniss

If you could have dinner with anyone in the world, dead or alive, who would it be and why?

Always a tough question since there are so many choices. I would love to have dinner with John F. Kennedy. It would be great to talk about his life, what he could have accomplished, and what he thinks about the state of things today.

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?

Pizza, all of the pizza.

Morewood Gardens is a great place to live if you are considering Block Housing for the 2016-17 academic year. The deadline to apply for Block Housing is Monday, February 22, by noon via the Housing Portal.

Getting to Know Josh Schaldenbrand

Josh Schaldenbrand is the Housefellow for 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 and a member of the Upperclass Housefellow Team.

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.”

In the photo above, Josh and his sister, Sarah, hold his (adorable) nephews, Henry and Baker.

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 are you looking forward to most in becoming a housefellow for the Residence on Fifth?

I am super excited to be working with first-year students as they explore campus and learn what it means to be a member of the Carnegie Mellon community. Beyond that, I hope to introduce first years living in the Rez to all the awesome things that Pittsburgh has to offer. Finally, I am looking forward to expanding the amount of pink clothing options I have to choose from on a daily basis!

Share one of your most prized CMU memories.

Even though I’ve only been at CMU for two years, I have some really great memories. Seeing Spring Carnival take place for the first time was really awe inspiring. Students and colleagues had described the booths, buggy, and all the activities, but being there made their stories real for me. Also hosting a weekly social program with residents every Thursday has been a highlight for me. It’s a time where community members come together to laugh, relax, and take a time out from studying. I really value that time spent with students.

What is an important life lesson you have learned from a student or students?

Students have taught me many things. One lesson that I have learned from students I have worked with is to look beyond what exists and create something unique. I am inspired by the work of RA staff who create programs/events that reflect who they are and the things they are most passionate about. This helps me to continually reflect on the work I do, who I am, and the impact that I can have.

Outside of work, what are your hobbies/interests? What are you passionate about?

Charlie the Cat steals Josh's glasses ... and takes a selfie.
Charlie the Cat steals Josh’s glasses … and takes a selfie.

I read, I Netflix, I cook, I dote on my partner Meredith’s four cats – Charlie (pictured right), Liam, Oliver, and Eloise. I’m extremely passionate about Pittsburgh sports teams, specifically the Pirates. Most importantly, I love spending time with my nephews, Henry and Baker (pictured above).

All-time favorite books: To Kill A Mockingbird by Harper Lee (fiction) and The Meaning of Matthew by Judy Shepard (non-fiction)

If you could have dinner with anyone in the world, dead or alive, who would it be?

Martin Luther King Jr.

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.