By Song My Hoang
Bingel comes to Union from her hometown of Plattsburgh, NY. Before Union, she worked at Dartmouth College in Hanover, NH and was the Associate Dean of Residential Life at Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute in Troy, NY for almost 10 years.
As an undergraduate student she immersed herself in various student activities. Bingel was very involved in the student government and was president of the student events board. She was a residential advisor for three years. Bingel commented, “My college experiences heavily influenced my decision to pursue college administration as a career.”
Bingel decided to take the position at Union because she was already familiar with the college and its great reputation. “I wanted the liberal arts atmosphere because I’ve been in RPI, which is a technical school, for a long time. I also have many friends who have attended Union,” she said. However, ultimately, she saw Union as an opportunity for professional growth.
She loves the beautiful campus and enjoys the gorgeous view from her office. She loves the staff, professors and students here. “They are genuinely interested in getting to know me,” she stated. Since arriving at Union, Bingel has felt that everyone is very accessible here.
In her free time she enjoys attending live performances and going to Proctors. Bingel is looking forward to student performances and athletic events. She has already bought season tickets for hockey. She also admits to being a big foodie. “I just love the frittata at Perreca’s for breakfast!” she said.
Regarding her Residential Life responsibilities, she explained that she has administrative duties, but is also here to enhance the quality of housing for students.
“We’re here for the students and because of the students,” Bingel stated. She wants students to use the office as a tool to create a better college experience. “They shouldn’t just come here when they have a crisis.” She hopes to develop one-on-one relationships with students.
Bingel has two main goals for the upcoming year. First, she explained that Residential Life would be moving to an online housing selection system.
She thinks that the housing process will be less chaotic once housing options are computerized. This is an ongoing process and will be implemented next year.
“We are still in the process of creating this system, so any specific details of this operations are unknown,” she stated.
Second, Bingel aims to stabilize an administration that has been in flux for the past year. She acknowledged, “The students don’t know specifically about this in flux, but they deal with its consequences.”
Her priority is to create a smooth-running administration. Bingel said, “A stable environment will ensure that Residential Life will be able to develop more attention towards the students.”
She understands students’ concerns about housing and will try to accommodate each student’s need.
Students who leave for a fall term abroad tend to have a fear about bad housing placements once they return to Union. Bingel noted this issue and believes it is an issue that should be addressed. She is considering sending out a survey for the students’ opinions about this.
She proposed, “The online modules might make this process more seamless. It has the potential to create more opportunities for these students to have an influence about their housing options.”
However, she simply said that a change is tough due to Union’s trimester system.
Bingel takes into consideration the option of reserving a roommate for the fall term with someone who is going abroad that term.
An exchange student will be placed there for the fall term, instead of forcing the student to choose another roommate. However, this option is limited to the amount of exchange students we have per year.
“Unfortunately, there will always be students who cannot be placed in their first choice,” said Bingel.
There is a concern about the difficulty of changing roommates during the year.
Bingel noted that changing roommates is a long process. “We have to go through a system in order to validate whether the change is necessary.”
Bingel plans to enhance the communication between the administration and the student body by returning timely responses to students.
She said, “I’d rather respond quickly and inform the student that I need to reschedule than to keep the student waiting.” She understands the frustration caused by long delays.
Bingel also provided some roommate advice for all the students. “You don’t have to be best friends with your roommate,” she stated. “It’s sometimes better you are not close with your room mate. You might need some neutral space to come home to.”
She suggested that students should set expectations and rules with their new roommates early on in the term. “You don’t want to confront problems during your finals week. You’re already stressed then.”
Bingel concluded, “Having a good relationship with your room mate doesn’t come spontaneously. You have to work on it. Living with a roommate is a learning experience. And when your relationship is beyond repair, Residential Life is willing to help you.”