Housing & Dining staff recognized among peer institutions

By Sylvia Cranmer

CSU Housing & Dining Services won top recognition in several categories at the Association of Intermountain Housing Officers (AIMHO) annual conference. The Association works for continual improvement and coordination of housing and food service operations for students and staff members in its 97 member institutions of higher learning in eight western states, and Saskatchewan, Canada. 

Distinguished Service Award: Rodney England, Housing & Dining Services Facilities

Rodney is always willing to help anyone in need. He values customer service and is always striving to make sure that he takes care of any issue that is presented to him. For example, when the check-in process opens at 8 a.m., energetic students and families begin to arrive as early as 6:30 a.m. and Rodney is already there.

Undergraduate Social Justice Award: Mohammed York, University Housing, Inclusive Community

Housing and Dinging winners
AIMHO award recipients from Housing & Dining Services (left to right): Stephanie Zee, Mohamed York, Rodney England, Helena Gardner, Safi Ben Musa.

Assistant (ICA), Parmelee Hall

Last fall, CSU responded to many bias related incidents in the residence halls. As a student leader and peer educator, Mohammed worked with his hall staff to develop ways to address these incidents, help students to process the situation and to hold each other accountable. He partnered with another ICA for a “Real Talk” dialogue in Parmelee Hall, a collaboration between University Housing and the Black/African American Cultural Center (B/AACC) office. 

Outstanding Mid-level Professional Award: Helena Gardner, University Housing, Assistant Director for Community Development

Helena serves as the leader in the creation and implementation of Residential Curriculum at CSU — a co-curricular approach to student learning. She facilitated hours of individual and group conversations with undergraduate, graduate and full-time staff to gain acceptance of this new approach.  Helena also led the creation of a Canvas site that outlines the entire Residential Curriculum model, and she is being recognized nationally for this innovative approach. 

Outstanding Entry-Level Professional Award – Safi Ben Musa, Resident Manager, University Village

Safi Ben Musa is always thinking of ways to make apartment life better for the residents. She has been active in supporting residents through the travel ban and students who shared concerns about their safety and academic future.  As an international student herself, Safi understands the needs of residents and is able to advocate for them.  She does so from the heart and as an effective professional.  

Social justice professional staff award: Stephanie Zee, University Housing, Coordinator of Diversity and Inclusion 

Stephanie has impacted our community through her work with students, staff and the professional community to stimulate change and create inclusive spaces in several different capacities. In her three years at CSU, she has provided a safe place to ask questions, challenge perspectives and is always open, honest and direct with her feedback. Everyone she meets leaves with a “Stephanie story” that allows the learning to “stick.” She is truly an educator.

2018 SAGE Award – Mari Strombom, Executive Director

SAGE Award recipients as a mentor to the AIMHO president and executive committee. Mari is the fourth CSU recipient of only 16 total, following in the footsteps of Dave McKelfresh, Grant Sherwood, and Tom Dunning. Throughout her career, she has worked in housing, in campus activities, and in the corporate world. “I learned that you need to be able to rely on each other in difficult times, you need to celebrate with each other in good times, and you need to work together to help your community survive and thrive.”