How I had tons of fun, found great friends, met professional mentors, and started my career through life at Lehigh.

The Beginning: The first time I met my Gryphon she was walking down the hallway in a towel, having just finished a shower and heading back to her room.  She wasn’t expecting to meet one of her newest residents that day, as first year move-in was scheduled for a few days later.  I was there to participate in a pre-orientation program called Volunteer Experience and had arrived to start a three-day project helping to build a home in nearby Bucks County.  Like any great Gryphon, she excitedly welcomed me to the hall, regardless of the fact she was wearing a towel and had not yet finished with the door decorations and bulletin boards for the floor.

 

Best thing I did at Lehigh #1: Getting involved early, joining clubs, getting rejected from groups, joining different groups, and meeting lots of people all helped me get settled and find my place at Lehigh.

I had so much fun volunteering with other students and meeting people during orientation that I decided to get involved on campus right away.  At the club fair during the first week of school, I signed up to join a bunch of clubs, including a soccer team and an organization for LGBT students and their allies.  I auditioned for an a Capella group (and got rejected), went to speakers on campus, played frisbee outside of Taylor College, and went to BBQs hosted by our Gryphons.  I met so many different people and learned a lot about all that Lehigh had to offer.

 

Best thing I did at Lehigh #2: Finding a close group of friends to share the Lehigh experience with by being involved in campus life gave me a support system and created relationships that have lasted well beyond our time at Lehigh.

My second year at Lehigh, I was selected to be a Gryphon in Richards and helped welcome a new class of first year students.  I wouldn’t have even considered applying to be a Gryphon if I hadn’t gotten to know one of the professional staff members in Residence Life who suggested that I apply.  He encouraged me to get involved and by the middle of my sophomore year, I had responsibilities as a Gryphon, was serving on the executive board of a student organization, was co-directing a student production, and was involved with the Women’s Center, Multicultural Center, and Rainbow Room working to make Lehigh a more open and inclusive community.  The other Gryphons on staff became some of my best friends at Lehigh, friends that I am in touch with to this day.  The other students in the clubs I was part of also became my great friends, friends I have traveled with, lived with, and still turn to for fun and advice.

 

Best thing I did at Lehigh #3: Building relationships with faculty and staff members provided me with the mentorship and network of connections that helped me develop a strong foundation for my career.

By the time I was a senior, I had made connections with students, faculty, and staff from a variety of places across the university.  I completed an honors thesis with a faculty member in my major and learned important skills in research and writing.  I had connected with several staff members in the Residence Life office who had helped me secure a summer internship and provided advice about my future.  They served as mentors to me, and when it was time to think about life after graduation, they helped provide the window into a world that has become my career.

I didn’t know that the field of higher education administration even existed prior to coming to Lehigh.  Through my involvement as a Gryphon, working with student clubs, and on the task forces and committees I was asked to join because of my good relationships with administrators, I started to see that I could turn my passion for having a great college experience into a career.  I decided to use my Presidential Scholar award to spend a fifth year at Lehigh to pursue my master’s degree in educational leadership, which I completed in 2008.  During that time, I started a full-time position working at Lehigh’s Career Services, a job I was offered because of a connection I had made during my undergraduate time with a staff person in that office.  I had turned my newly found interests into the start of a great career.

I did eventually leave Lehigh, but only physically.  Since my time there, I have transitioned into professional roles at two different colleges and made steady progress in a thus-far successful career in higher education administration.  I am involved in local and national organizations that serve my profession and have received recognition for my contributions to the field.  I would not be where I am today if I had not taken advantage of the full offerings of Lehigh both in and outside the classroom, spent time with great friends, and devoted time to get to know faculty and staff beyond what was expected.  I carry with me all of the skills, relationships, and experiences I gained during my time at Lehigh.  It has proved to be an invaluable toolkit for me both personally and professionally, and was ridiculously fun along the way.

 

Chris Diggs works in higher education administration and is currently the Assistant Director for Student Affairs at Baruch College.  She graduated from Lehigh University in 2007 with a Bachelor of Arts degree in political science and religion studies.  She also received a Master of Education degree in educational leadership from Lehigh in 2008.  Chris is a native New Yorker and enjoys taking advantage of all that the city has to offer.

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Gryphon Spotlight: Dan O’Leary

DannyO is a second year Gryphon in Richards. He’s the Gryphon on the 4th floor, but don’t stop by unless you’re down to chill because he can talk for hours and is always looking to get a new experience out of life.

Area: Richards

Year and Major: Junior, Mechanical Engineer

Hometown: Allentown, PA

Three things that make me happy:
1. Girlfriend
2. Country Music
3. THE NY Giants

One thing I can’t live without: L-A-S-A-G-N-A

Favorite entertainment medium (movies, music, books, etc): Music

Favorite thing about Gryphoning: Being the glue that puts first-year students and Lehigh success together.

Favorite thing about living in a residence hall: Who wouldn’t love living with a bunch of random people? Everybody is so different and has so many stories that you can never be bored.

Other activities: Youth Coaching at Parkland Youth Center

Richards Building Profile

Stats: Richards House, a first-year residence hall, houses 143 first-year students.  The co-ed building has four single-gender floors where residents live in singles and doubles.  There is a Gryphon on each floor and one Head Gryphon for the building.

All the rooms contain movable furniture, including a bed, desk with desktop bookshelf, desk chair, dresser, and closet or wardrobe for each resident. Check out floor plans here!

The sister area of Richards is Dravo House, another first-year residence hall.

Like the Richards Facebook page!

Building Profile: (By Nicole Schwartz, Class of 2013)

The People

Because Richards is one of the smallest first year residence halls, all the residents get to know each other very well and create a close-knit community. A lot of the people you meet on your hall will become your best friends for the rest of your years at Lehigh. During my first year in Richards, I was the Resident Hall Council (RHC) President. I, along with other RHC members, made sure that we planned a ton of fun programs to get all the residents together. Our Richards RHC group was very successful and we were able to create a warm and comfortable atmosphere for everyone to experience. As a house event, a bunch of people came together to watch The Office every week while snacking on popcorn and sipping soda. We also threw a Halloween party in the TV lounge, and a big Super Bowl celebration with wings and pizza. Everyone enjoyed these programs and it really brought everyone together and made our first year experience wonderful!

The Atmosphere/ The Rooms

Richards has always been known and will always be known as the residence hall with the best rooms. It has the most spacious and luxurious rooms with great views of Lehigh and South Bethlehem. Each room comes equipped with a bed, desk, dresser, and drawers. However, I would definitely suggest buying some organizational items to store your items, like extra shelving units, and also a fan because it can get hot in the summer. Since the rooms are big, residents have plenty of space to store these additional items. There is also a lot of wall space to hang a tapestry or post pictures and posters to add some personality to the room. There is a huge poster sale at the beginning of school where students can find an endless amount of decorations for their rooms at a low cost.

Richards also has a large and beautiful lobby with two lounges on each side. The lounge on the left is the study area where residents hang out with their laptops and do homework using the wireless internet. The lounge on the right is the TV lounge equipped with multiple couches and a flat screen TV where everyone gets together to relax. The laundry room is also on the first floor of the building, which gives residents easy access to clean their clothes. The room is very large and contains numerous washers and dryers for everyone to share and use. Make sure to load up your Gold Plus account, which is the easiest way to pay for laundry.

Location

Most all of the first-year residence halls are located at the top of the mountain, and Richards is up there in the “quad,” which is comprised of Richards, Dravo, and Drinker. Luckily, Richards has the least amount of stairs to climb out of the three and also has a spacious green lawn to throw about a frisbee during the summer and to play in the snow in the winter. This residence hall is perfectly located to fulfill your late night munchies at Hawk’s Nest, and early morning dining at Rathbone. For the quickest route to Rathbone, you must climb the infamous “Death Stairs.” Each stair is approximately 11 inches tall (yes, I measured them during my first year), but you will have the glutes of a Greek God in no time! Richards is also very close to Taylor gym, a quick walk away from the Health Center and The University Center (UC).