Meet the best thing to come to Elizabethtown College from Hungary since the ballpoint pen: new Area Coordinator Reka Berenyi. Beginning this semester, Berenyi joins the Residence Life staff as area coordinator for Brinser Hall, the Hackman Apartments and the Schreiber Quadrangle. The Budapest native is eager to bring her fresh ideas and experiences to the job, as she supervises the residence assistants and community fellows in these areas.
Berenyi began her college career at Corvinus University of Budapest, where she earned a BA degree in communications and media studies. She then traveled to Pennsylvania for her graduate studies, earning an MBA degree in International Business from Wilkes University in Wilkes-Barre, Pa. During her time there, she served as a graduate residence director, supervising first-years at the school. This experience laid the foundation for her most recent venture as the newest member of Etown’s residence life staff.
When asked why exactly she chose Etown, the self-proclaimed fan of traveling stated that, after attending Wilkes University, she fell in love with the traditions of Pennsylvania. She was certain that she wanted to stay within the state.
In general, life in Hungary is very similar to life in the United States, with the exception of some varying customs. The most significant difference may very well be that holidays like Halloween and Thanksgiving are not celebrated in Hungary. Therefore, the Mid-Atlantic region stands as “a combination of home and something new” for Berenyi.
Another aspect of the College that drew Berenyi in is the size of the student body. After switching from the large Corvinus to the significantly smaller Wilkes, she grew to love the idea of attending a smaller, more personal school.
Seeking to reestablish the sense of community that Wilkes gave her, Berenyi was elated to discover a job opening at the small private college that is Etown. Now that she is here, she is glad to be a part of the College community and enjoys the close bond that faculty, staff and students share.
As she takes on her “first real job,” her primary goal is to keep the well-being of the student body in mind, as she hopes not only to quickly get to know the student population, but also to be the support and resource that they can turn to whenever they are in need.
Junior Nick Clemens, an RA for Brinser, can attest to success with these goals already. He mentioned that she has certainly made a point of increasing staff interaction and organizing more one-on-one meetings with RAs than had previously been required. This new set of policies allows both parties to become more quickly acquainted with each other. He also noted that she has taken action to make some work for the RAs a bit less tedious and time-consuming by printing out paper logs for them to use during the week rather than requiring them to undergo the tiresome process of saving logs on a shared drive.
Due to protocol and the specific requirements of the role of area coordinator, Berenyi cannot stray too far from the policies of previous AC Daniel Cline. However, she is certainly allowed and expected to bring her own style to the table when approaching tasks, as attested to by Clemens.
With the concept of approaching tasks with her own style in mind, Berenyi hopes to make full use of her unique multicultural background in order to better relate to the students with whom she associates. “It helps me understand how different people’s backgrounds are,” she said, intending to utilize this understanding, as well as her approachability and availability, to better relate to students and to more effectively resolve any issues that may arise.
Berenyi is optimistic for the future and seems to be enjoying her job, stating that her favorite task is working with students. She mentioned that it is always interesting and each situation is unique, so she never knows what she will be facing the next day.
In fact, she found great difficulty in trying to conceive an aspect of the job that she dislikes. She instead opted to note that sometimes she faces challenging situations as far as making students understand why she has to do certain things, but this does
not mean that she necessarily has a least favorite part of the job.
“So far it’s been a positive experience,” Berenyi said before shifting her focus to the future: “I’m excited to expand my knowledge of the College and be a part of the community.”