Congratulations to Casey Allen of Eastern Kentucky University for being recognized as the 2017 KARH Student of the Year. The Student of the Year is award by the Kentucky Association of Housing Officers on behalf of the Kentucky Association of Residence Halls (KARH) to a student who has made outstanding contributions to their institution and the Kentucky Association of Residence Halls.
From the nomination:
When I read the description for the KARH Student of the Year award, I immediately thought of Casey Allen. He is the type of student leader that immediately makes an impression on you – he is intelligent, he is optimistic, and he is kind. Casey leads with a servant heart and a “can do” attitude that brings a team together and makes them all want to be better and do better. It is my hope that in this nomination I can truly convey what an outstanding individual Casey Allen is and what he has meant to EKU Housing & Residence Life over the past year.
First, I would like to point out what I believe is Casey’s strongest attribute: his servant heart. In Residence Life we often throw around quotes that we hope will inspire others to action. “It starts with you,” “be the change you wish to see in the world,” “leadership is not a position or a title, it is an action and an example.” Casey brings these quotes to life and lives them every day. One of my very first interactions with Casey after he was hired as a Resident Advisor was when I bumped into him, early on a Monday morning, while he was picking up trash outside his residence hall. When I asked him what he was doing, he said he was picking up trash because he believed the “community deserved to be respected.” That has stuck with me – what college student wants to get up early on a Monday morning and pick up trash outside their residence hall!? Casey does it because he can see the big picture and believes in going the extra mile to serve his community. To Casey, his residents deserve the best and he strives to provide that for them, no matter what it takes.
Another one of Casey’s qualities that I would like to point out is his ability to impact and lead his co-workers. Although Casey is only a second year RA, most people assume he has been doing the job for years. I would literally feel comfortable letting him run a residence hall on his own – his calm demeanor, his sense of responsibility, and his insight is that good! Casey just “gets it.” Casey lead’s his co-workers by setting an example of what it means to invest in the team. When a new task needs to be completed, Casey is the first to volunteer. When a student or maintenance issue comes up, Casey is solution-oriented and seeks opportunities for everyone to come out as a winner. Casey is also up for the random day-to-day “other duties as assigned” tasks that happen from time to time. I’ve seen Casey move furniture, serve food, install cable cords, and pick up trash, yet never let a smile leave his face. His flexibility and willingness to take whatever curve balls Residence Life can throw at him are a breath of fresh air – he understands that our field of work can be a bit unpredictable but he has the flexibility and commitment to the overall mission to see it through. On top of this, he continually asks his supervisors for ways he can improve. He isn’t stagnant – he realizes that an improvement in his abilities is also an improvement to his staff and the students he serves. His peers see these qualities and seek to mirror his attitude and behavior.
Finally, I would like to recognize Casey’s ability to still be a college student while also being an outstanding staff member. Casey is not just successful in his RA position, but he is academically strong and connected on campus. While being a student at EKU, he remained focused on his studies and has achieved and maintained a strong GPA. He is involved in numerous student organizations, including several that are sponsored by EKU Housing & Residence Life, and other service organizations on campus. I often see Casey out at campus events and hanging out with friends around campus. Somehow, Casey has managed to find balance between his roles as a college student and Resident Advisor and avoided burn-out. I believe our professional staff could learn a thing or two from him!
In this nomination, I have only given a few examples of why I believe Casey Allen is deserving of the KARH Student of the Year award. His residents are lucky to be led by him, his co-workers are lucky to work alongside him, and our department is lucky to have him represent us. He is a well-rounded individual that believes in the mission of EKU Housing & Residence Life and is committed to going the extra mile to see the department’s values fully realized. His is a rock star in every sense of the word!