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Miami staff member creates homelike comfort

12/10/2009

Shauna Vonderheide
written by Vanessa Feigen, student intern

It might be a birthday cake of the month, or notes of encouragement for finals week, or a cup of chicken noodle soup, but the little and some big things Miami University employees do for students and our community make a difference. Over the next several months, the Miami e-Report will share some of the stories that illustrate the Miami experience. Sometimes those stories remind us of home...

With seasonal frills, a set of extra ears and some laundry tips, Shauna Vonderheide, a building and grounds assistant at Miami University, is a shining example of the residence hall staff members who help create a homelike atmosphere for student residents.

Being a member of the Miami family for five and a half years, Vonderheide began working and helping students in Flower Hall last fall.

“I’ve been able to support students by listening to them when they have problems or when they just need to vent,” she said. Staff members in Flower each have an assigned floor, which allows them to get to know their residents.

Each corridor in Flower has a kitchenette and Vonderheide decorates her area using such items as festive placemats for the table and window stickers and curtains based on a particular season or holiday. “I like to be able to create a nice look in the kitchen and stray away from an institutional feel,” said Vonderheide.

Vonderheide and her colleagues also provide utensils and cooking supplies such as pots and pans for the kitchenettes, allowing students to have the ability to cook even if they were unable to bring such items from their homes. She also brings baked goods from home for students, especially during finals week to help give their minds a break from studying.

And, remember that age-old tip to never mix colors with whites when doing laundry? Vonderheide recalls one student’s ordeal. “I had one student who accidently mixed a red with her whites, so I helped her with getting the stains out,” she said.

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