I am nominating: Aimee Pickett
Years of Service at Cal Poly: 1
Department: University Housing Services
Position: Residence Life Coordinator
Why are you nominating this person? Why do you think he/she deserves the award?: I am nominating Aimee Pickett for DSA Spring Star because Aimee embodies the commitment, dedication and practice of both the DSA Values and mission. Aimee has cultivated student learning through her genuine interest in the needs of students. She has created preventative educational efforts based on student conduct trends and needs, addressed campus programmatic needs by creating quality social justice and weekend programming and remains student-centered in her role as an advisor, programmer and educator. Aimee’s commitment to UHS has been demonstrated by her taking on additional housing responsibilities, developing new and innovative programs and has brought a nationwide social justice, collaborative, immersive experience, “Tunnel of Oppression,” to Cal Poly students. Aimee truly embodies the qualities of a DSA STAR!
Please select 3 of the 6 Division of Student Affairs values for which your nominee best exemplifies: Student-Centered Philosophy, Interconnectedness, Richness of Diversity
Please share how your nominee exemplifies value #1: Two examples demonstrate how Aimee Pickett exemplifies her commitment to Student-Centered Philosophy.
Aimee, as part of the award winning “UHS Conduct Street Team,” took a multipronged approach to reducing policy violations as well as raising awareness on the importance of understanding personal contracts (license agreement). Aimee truly understands the needs of the students at Cal Poly and used her creativity to create engaging initiatives and presented them in innovative ways. Some of the initiatives were:
• “Reverse Trick-or-Treating” educating about alcohol
• “Pledge for Pancakes/Pastries” outreaching students to pledge to not have violations in the student conduct system
• “Random Acts of Kindness Week” UHS wide programmatic efforts appreciating residents for involvement in housing, attending programs and for being residents… including a “High-5” day where the Residence Life team handed out information regarding Alcohol and Student Conduct while giving “High-5s” to residents entering Los Olivos
• Creation and distribution of YouTube video about the “Do’s and Don’ts for Health & Safety Inspections”
Aimee’s enthusiasm and assistance in creating these initiatives resulted in a drop in both evictions and policy violations. This initiative won the Innovation Award at the CSU Alcohol and Other Drug Conference.
Secondly, when a RLC left the department, Aimee took the initiative and offered to fill in the vacancy by overseeing two additional residence areas. When Aimee first began to work in the second residential area (Vista De Las Estrellas), she was asked to carry office hours and connect with the area. In order to truly connect with the students, Aimee went door to door (baked goods in hand) and said hello to an entire building of residents. Aimee took the time, and continues to take the time, to make her connection with students a priority and continues to keep the needs of students in her focus. Rather than this be an extraordinary practice for Aimee, this is the ordinary measures Aimee takes in order to keep the student-centered philosophy a priority for herself and her student staff.
Please share how your nominee exemplifies value #2: The commitment towards “Richness of Diversity” is seen in Aimee’s day to day interaction with students and staff. She has always used inclusive language and seeks to bring awareness not only to issues of Diversity but also that of Social Justice. The passion towards equality and appreciation is shared with her staff and students. One example demonstrating Aimee Pickett’s commitment to “Richness of Diversity” is her facilitation and coordination of the program, “Tunnel of Oppression.”
During the fall quarter, a Resident Advisor asked Aimee about bringing the “Tunnel of Oppression” program to University Housing Services. Aimee created the “Tunnel of Oppression” program on a campus scale. Aimee worked with that student, InterHall Council, Residence Life Team, CAPS and the Office of Student Life and Cultural Centers to create Cal Poly’s version of this nationwide program. Aimee took the time to speak with students about the social justice concerns, areas needing to be addressed and collaboratively created the skeleton for this amazing program. Aimee created partnerships with OSLCC, facilitated meetings and incorporated students in every step of the process. All tour guides, actors were students. Aimee created an “action wall” as part of the program and encouraged students to create their plan to continue to work of education and advocacy. This program provided for active support and advocacy and for gave students the opportunity to become leaders in Social Justice and Diversity.
The second example is the writing of a “Diversity Program” bid for the National Association of College and University Residence Halls. Aimee worked with a student to create a long, complex bid explaining student diversity programming and initiatives in housing. This bid was accepted at the regional level and is now a nomination for the national “Diversity Program of the Year” Aimee has spent a great deal of time researching programs, tracking assessment information and helping to create a bid worthy of “Diversity Program of the Year” (to be awarded in late May.)
Please share how your nominee exemplifies value #3: relationships resulting in better services to students, quality programming and networking opportunities. Aimee sought out multiple opportunities to connect with others and use these connections effectively. Aimee has made demonstrated interconnectedness through Student Affairs: attending Cross Cultural Retreat, participating in Community Emergency Response Training certification, Student Conduct Street team, presenting for both SDLI & 3D Leadership. Aimee has made it her priority to not only form connections with others but to integrate those connections together.
In the fall of 2011, Aimee received feedback to connect with the greater Cal Poly Pomona community. Rather than schedule three lunches with individuals, Aimee took this feedback and created the campus wide program “Tunnel of Oppression” program. Aimee took the time to meet with staff from various to create this program. She outreached to EWS Faculty and encouraged their students’ attendance of the program. Aimee realized that the interconnectedness of resources and individuals would lead to the overall success of this program.
In what way(s) does this person enhance or contribute to the Cal Poly Pomona campus community?: She focuses on student success, meets students where they are at and challenges them to grow and learn. This is evident in the intentional student-centered programming she has created, collaborative programs she has facilitated and in the additional roles she is willing to take on for UHS. Aimee has enhanced relationships with partners on-campus, has created a new tradition and has brought recognition of quality programming to Cal Poly Pomona.