Life on campus is always buzzing at Vanguard University. Whether it’s a sports game, a special campus event, or simply friends spending late nights in the dorms, there always seems to be something going on.
It is an exciting environment to spend your young adult years, but is it just as great when you are a child?
According to Dannae Rushing, the resident director for Catalina Hall and mother of two children, and Chelsea Montminy, the resident director of Laguna Hall and mother of one, raising their young families on campus is a unique experience full of learning opportunities.
“For them, it is such a unique up-bringing, where they literally have hundreds of people who know their name and who are excited to see them around campus,” Rushing said.
Rushing explains a problem she has with her daughter, Eveleigh, who once walked up and held the hand of a random grocery store employee just because it was in reach.
“You have to teach a little more stranger-danger, because my kids don’t know a stranger, everyone knows them and everyone is familiar to them and they assume that every single person is kind and wants to know them,” Rushing said.
Montminy found that the campus environment created a similar problem with her own daughter.
“She doesn’t have any stranger-danger, she says hi to everybody and I love that,” Montminy said. “But sometimes [I feel] like she would just go with anyone, because here [at Vanguard] everyone just picks her up,” Montminy said.
The safety of Vanguard’s campus is something that both mothers agree with being a good quality with raising their children on campus. According to Rushing, community with the students is a big benefit.
“You can’t do any of it alone…I think that raising our kids a part of a community is the biggest pro,” Rushing said.
Community and interaction with college students is a big part of the children’s lives, according to Rushing. Whether talking to them in the cafe or spending time babysitting the children, many students have a connection with the resident directors’ children.
Rushing explains how the students’ attention caused her daughter to love attention so much that even her pre-school teacher noticed it displayed in the classroom.
“The students that are around my kids are around them for a short little period of time, so it’s like, ‘oh yay, this is so fun’. And they’ll do anything my kids ask them to do,” Rushing said.
Along the fun that students have with the children, Rushing claims that students have a deep impact on her children. “There are some students that watch our kids pretty regularly and are teaching them important things that they wouldn’t get somewhere else,” Rushing said.
Like Rushing’s and Montminy’s children, Vanguard junior Jared Gould spent the first nine years of his life growing up a resident director’s child. According to Gould, his experience was positive and full of attention. “[With] all the college kids around me all the time, I felt like I had a lot of attention,” Gould said. “[My] babysitters were all from the college, and pretty much all the people that I interacted with were of college age.”
Attention from college students is a big part of being a child growing up on campus. Rushing has many stories of her young daughter, Eveleigh, thriving off of the attention from students.
“Eveleigh thrives around people, and she loves it so much. She’ll ask everybody’s names and she loves going to the Caf because she gets to see everybody,” Rushing said.
According to Montminy, her daughter also benefits from living on campus with so many people. “I think she loves it. She gets so sad when we’re not on campus and she waves to [young] people and they don’t say hi back…she loves people talking to her,” Montminy said. Raising a child on a college campus may not be conventional, but it teaches children social skills, trust, and kindness from a young age, according to both Rushing and Montminy. It offers the children unique life lessons and experiences that they could not find anywhere else.
Gould explains how growing up on campus for so many years made him feel prepared to start college himself.
“I definitely knew what to expect and knew my way around campus already…being away from home and on my own for the first time, that was a scary thought, but knowing that I was coming back to a familiar place definitely helped me and prepared me for college life,” Gould said.