Employee Spotlight

Jeanette Zalba

Jeanette Zalba

Title

Director of Housing and Residence Life

Years at EMU

4 years

Why You Like Working Here

My favorite part is our students. If I’m not sure I’m doing something right as Housing staff, I’ll just ask a bunch of students. They’re pretty forthright about what they like or don’t like about Housing, so I really appreciate talking to them. They make the work really exciting.

Favorite EMU Moment

I love when we open the residence halls every year. Come August, it’s a little bit of a rush. Everything is fast-paced and people are coming in and stress levels are high. We have, let’s say, 2,000 students move in on one day and they’re here with their parents and grandparents and siblings and whoever else wanted to help them move. It’s a very exciting day every year because it sets the tone for the rest of the year.

Favorite Campus Spot

I have lots of favorites. We did a renovation since my time here in Wise. I love the colors and the design work that our Physical Plant team did to make it a cool space. And in Best Hall’s main lounge, they have a really cool fireplace with Motawi tile. It’s beautiful and locally made. You could spend all day there.

Motivation

In Housing, we are not immune to some of these racist things that have happened on campus. We hear from students that have had bad experiences with other students, or other situations here on campus, and they want change and a better life. So it motivates me to think, “how can we make Housing and Residence Life not only diverse but also inclusive? How do we make sure everybody walks through the door and feels welcome and feels a sense of belonging?” It motivates me to think about how we can do better. We have to continue to change because our students and the world are changing.

Surprising Fact

I bought a house two and a half years ago in Ypsi, and I love accomplishing things with the house. I like to do DIY home repair, because there’s a sense of accomplishment when you do those things.

Superpower

If I had a superpower, it would flying because then we could look at the world through the lens of stepping away and be able to see what’s happening. 

Next Goal

I’m working on a Ph.D. in the Educational Leadership program here, so I’m a student. I would say my next goal is to get that done.


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