Get to Know Director of Campus Living Ben Meoz
Director of Campus Living Ben Meoz joined the Lewis & Clark community last summer. Meoz earned a PhD in philosophy from the University of Washington while working there as the assistant director for residential life: north campus and diversity and inclusion initiatives.
Meoz was drawn to work at Lewis & Clark because the college wanted its residential program to grow—and become a stronger expression of its student experience. Meoz also has four in-laws who are Lewis & Clark alumni, and had been hearing about Lewis & Clark since he met his partner of nine years.
In the following Q&A, Meoz talks about the best parts of his job, why he prefers Portland over Seattle, and why this is an exciting time to be here.
What does your job as director of campus living entail?
I work with campus leadership to look at our current and future capacity to meet the housing needs of L&C students. Additionally, I provide day-to-day supervision and support to the professional staff living in and administrating the residential program in our five residential areas. I also serve as part of the crisis on-call structure for Student Life and participate in the Welfare Intervention Network.
What do you like best about your job?
I like the variability of my role. In a single day I might be looking at capital projects and then meeting with an individual student about a concern. I especially love the team I have in my department. We are a very new group to L&C and they have been incredibly resilient.
How do you build a campus where everybody feels like they’re in a strong, vibrant community—a community that has their back?
It is integral to remember that our students are our end users and stakeholders. We are building platforms and incubators for student success. One of my favorite quotes from Paulo Freire is: “reflection and action, in such radical interaction that if one is sacrificed—even in part—the other immediately suffers.” An essential element of that process is asking ourselves how we will know that we are successful, and ensuring there are avenues for student feedback and participation. Creating pipelines for students to lead while drawing on our resources and experience will help us craft practices and involvement that fit this place, and help us deliver inclusive and powerful experiences. We also have to be humble in our own leadership and be willing to face our own challenges and shortcomings when it comes to serving and retaining students while interrogating our own approaches to prioritizing and decision making.
What would you like prospective applicants to know about student life at Lewis & Clark?
Student Life is committed to our students’ experiences, and is a responsive community willing to take on the challenges of today and tomorrow. We are in a moment of tremendous growth as a campus. The next few years of revitalization of several campus facilities will offer amazing opportunities for collaboration among students, staff, and faculty as we cultivate the next iteration of the L&C experience. This is an exciting time to join us!
What’s your favorite thing about living in Portland?
It feels big and small at the same time. I love all the little hot spots of shops and food. Also the people are really nice.
We moved from Seattle, and although there are a lot of things that are similar Portlandians are just nicer.