Director of Residence Life enjoys process of collaboration


Taylor Bennett, Contributing Writer

Have you ever wondered who is behind the scenes of ensuring that residence life at VSU is up to par? If you don’t know then now you know, it’s Derrick Peterson, the Director of Residence Life and Housing here at VSU.

Peterson landed his role at VSU as the Director of Residence Life and Housing in 2017. He has been here for nine years and has had the privilege of seeing five freshman classes graduate.

Surprisingly, his initial position wasn’t a Residence Director.

“My initial position was a Maintenance and Inventory Coordinator because of my background in logistics. In residential living there was a need for an interim director and the director at the time was promoted, so I became the interim director in 2017, then in 2019 I became the permanent director,” Peterson said.

Being a Residence Director comes with responsibilities, busy days, and learning how to manage your time.

“My days consist of responding to emails, attending meetings, completing walkthroughs of residence halls, resolving conflicts between residents, following up on maintenance requests, checking in with my supervisor, and anything else that may come up.”

Peterson includes that his biggest responsibility is balancing his fiscal budget and ensuring the residence halls are safe.

Working somewhere for almost 10 years comes with learning lessons that you can apply to everyday life. According to Peterson, “Manage chaos, don’t let the chaos manage you, never react but respond.”

He expresses that the key to operating a successful residence hall is, “Collaborations with staff and students. Being hands on, present, and engaged with the residents is best.”

Although being a Residence Director can be busy and hectic there are things that Peterson enjoys as well.

“I enjoy engaging with the residents and I get to watch them grow. I see them when they come in as freshmen all the way until they graduate.”