June 25, 2024

Hunter Rauscher: Move-In On Up

About the time UMW President Troy Paino came to campus, so did Associate Director for Residence Life and Housing Hunter Rauscher, ready to take his career to new heights.

Associate Director for Residence Life and Housing Hunter Rauscher

Associate Director for Residence Life and Housing Hunter Rauscher. Photo by Matt + Michelle Photography, LLC

Next week’s Move-In Day will mark his second at Mary Washington, but with more than two decades in higher education housing and residence life, he’s no newbie. As throngs of undergrads pour onto campus, he’ll be right there, helping them haul in their comforters and hang up their whiteboards.

But Rauscher, who’s formed a support group for UMW students facing addiction, will do more than that. He’s tapping into his own experience – his struggles and victories – to help them live better lives.

Q: You monitor the daily lives of thousands of college students. What’s most rewarding?
A: In part, I think the answer is in the question itself. All our staff – RAs, ACs, ADs, support, business, marketing – work well with students. That’s very satisfying. I like helping students solve problems. When they’re happy, I’m happy.

Q: Move-In Day is quite an experience on campus. How does your office prepare?
A: We make sure our halls are ready and that we have everything in place to help students and parents move in. Our Area Coordinators and their RA staff walk each building and each room to make sure everything is ready to go. We have a fantastic move-in committee that works with student volunteers to assist with the actual move-in. They also work closely with campus partners like UMW police and facilities.

Q: What’s your busiest time of year?
A: Summer! We spend all summer preparing for staff training, move in, assignments and facilities. Other busy times are RA recruitment and selection time, housing sign-up time, and the end of the semester and year.

Q: What three words best describe the spirit of Move-In Day?
A: “Get It Done.”  I’m kidding. I’d say, “excitement,” “commitment,” “Eagles!”

Q: What’s the most memorable item you’ve ever seen a student bring to campus?
A: Hands down – a full-size stand-up arcade game. Missile Command.

Q: You started an Alcoholics Anonymous/Narcotics Anonymous group on campus. Why?​
A: Younger and younger students are entering recovery programs for problems with alcohol and opiates. On my own personal road to recovery, I encountered a lot of college students who didn’t have the support I had. I work with VCU’s Rams in Recovery, a great group that provides amazing support for students, and I wanted to bring that kind of support to UMW. Recovery efforts are battling the stigma that comes with addiction and are finally being seen as the treatment to the disease. My goal is to do what I can to make sure our students, staff and faculty have a place on campus to get the support they want or need.