Q&A With Mo Phillips: Loving Every Minute at SSU

mophillips.pngMo Phillips says she wakes up every day grateful she works at SSU.

Since 2000, Phillips has served as SSU's Associate Director of Student Development, prior to her current position she was a Residential Life Coordinator of Zinfandel Village from 1997 until taking her most current position.

As an Associate Director of Student Development she is responsible for supervising the Residential Life Coordinators who manage the continuing-student villages, which include Beaujolais, Tuscany, and Sauvignon East.

What brought you to SSU and a career in Residential Life?

When I was in High school I always wanted to be Julie McCoy on the Love Boat! I applied to be a Recreation Major at University of Wisconsin LaCrosse and in my time there was able to do a lot of programming, working with students and after 4 times applying, finally got an RA job! I was also very active in community event planning through my program. After leaving LaCrosse, I went to Grad School at Northern Arizona University and worked in Res. Life and on campus as a programmer there too.

I also got my Masters Degree in Counseling with an Emphasis in Student Personnel. Once I got my degree, I moved to Eastern Washington University(3 years) and University of New Hampshire(3 years) to be Hall Directors and got even more experience working with athletics promotion, student activities and Res Life.

Finally, after getting offers from both Oregon St. and SSU, I decided that I really loved the environment here, wanted to live on campus a few more years, would get to continue to do programming, and really liked this Chuck Rhodes fellow that interviewed me, so I moved here! That was 17 years ago and I have loved every minute of my time here! And I feel that every day I get to be the Cruise Director on the SS SSU!

You have a close up, intimate view of students as each class moves through their college experience . How has the typical SSU student changed over the years that you have been here?

Oh goodness, lots has changed over the years...the way students communicate, use/misuse meds, parental involvement, dealing with conflict, the stress they are under, pressure from parents, inability to deal with their stress in healthy ways etc. I have seen students have less faith in each other, less patience for themselves and others, more fearful of roommates when they are different etc

That said, I have also seen a rise in student involvement in service to the community, stronger leaders, people asking more questions and more and more people attending events on campus, whether they be dances, lectures, comedians, Big Nites etc.....

I would love to see more SSU Spirit in what they wear, going to sporting events etc...., but we are working on that! Fact is , I LOVE WORKING WITH STUDENTS! Not just the ones who make it "easy" for me and for us, but also those that are challenging. They all keep me on my toes!

It is know far and wide that you eat, breathe and sleep SSU. Why are you such a happy Seawolf?

You know, people ask me that all the time. I have a very strong work ethic (I blame my mom:), which really drives me to do my job and do it to the best of my ability, but I guess It's more than that.

As I mentioned above, I love the people I have worked with - students, staff and faculty alike. I love that this is such a relationship campus because that is who I am. I like to laugh, to talk, to see what the students are thinking, to go to the sporting events with my kids and to try to expose them to the amazing people and opportunities here.

I have been challenged here, but mostly, I have been supported and the ideas that we have had to improve campus life or address changing needs of our community, have been supported. This is the kind of environment I want to work in.

Everyone that I have worked with comes to work and does the best they can for that day. What else can we ask for? I also chose this environment because of it's casual nature. It's something that is very important to me. I have been at universities where people are so stiff and wear suits, and wonder why students cannot relate to them.

That is not me and SSU has allowed me to be me(for better or worse I guess). Finally, SSU is a place that is not afraid to grow in positive directions and to address the growing needs of our population. I wake up every day and say "I get to go to work today". I am lucky.

Where do you see yourself in five years?

Right here I hope. Doing my thing and being The Cruise Director!

What do you do for fun outside of SSU? Any guilty pleasures?

I am a pop culture nut, so I watch a lot of reality tv/keep up on entertainment news/watch & go to sporting events. I have a budding collection of bobble heads, hike when we can, keep in touch with my family back in Wisconsin, go to community events, keep up with my kid's very active schedules and try to keep track of our cats:)

I love music and movies, and my kids and I can often be found singing loudly on our car rides. As for guilty pleasures, I absolutely love "What Does A Fox Say" and that casino might be an issue for me.

How have your children handled such a life?

My kids have grown up on campus and may know more about SSU than most people who work or live here. Alfred can give a tour of Person Theatre on his own and Alina believes she will be working at the Super Kids Camp when she is a student here.


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