Carter Residence Director Evan Marbury’s sudden resignation was met with fond farewells and even tears as he and his wife Katrina left campus on Tuesday, February 23. The administration had fallen into a temporary period of flux when Marbury announced his departure the previous week, but the search for an Interim RD was short-lived. Victoria “Tori” Trapanick, former Community Coordinator for Founders and MacLellan halls, accepted the role with enthusiasm when it was offered to her after Marbury’s request of absence. While tackling the responsibilities of an RD mid-semester presents its own daunting obstacles, Trapanick is excited to take on the challenge.
Covenant staff and students, particularly the Residence Life Staff, have been hit the hardest by the Marbury’s swift departure. “Evan was the RAs’ emotional support,” says Abigail DeGraaf, a junior on Fourth South. She says that for one of her friends, a Carter RA, “he was her mentor. She looked forward to seeing him at the meetings and really looked up to him. The change is hard because it is so sudden and he was so well-loved.” Trapanick says that Marbury’s departure—particularly with the instability caused by Carter’s renovation— has brought about “period of mourning.”
“We were sad to see the Marburys go, but we want to respect his privacy and Katrina’s privacy during this transition. I’m just praying for them and their next steps,” says the Associate Dean of Residence Life, Jonathan Ingraham.
Following Marbury’s announced resignation, several of Covenant’s administrative members concluded that a pre-existing employee already familiar with the campus would be ideal for the position. Trapanick seemed to be the best possible candidate. Ingraham proposed the question, and after Trapanick accepted the job, the decision was announced to Residence Life staff during a meeting on February 23.
“Basically, we are, for the rest of this year, in a makeshift mode providing support and supervision with the staff we already have on campus,” says Ingraham. “We have good resources here; let’s try to use the resources we have to best serve students.”
As a graduate student at Geneva College, Trapanick applied for Covenant’s new Community Coordinator position prior to last semester. The CC role replaced the former Assistant Residence Director position at the beginning of the school year. The position was altered not only in name, but also through directing the job’s focus towards mentoring Discipleship Coordinators and promoting spiritual welfare on the halls. For the past semester and a half, she has counseled DCs in Founders and Mac, met regularly with students on academic probation, helped initiate campus-wide events such as the Growing Health Relationships Conference and Women’s Sexuality Panel, and supervised both hall and all-hall Prayer & Praise Meetings. However, becoming an RD was her primary aspiration for a future career.
“Being a Resident Director has been the dream for a long time. I feel privileged just to have been asked to step into this position for this season,” says Trapanick. “I thoroughly plan to enjoy this season of being the Interim RD and pray that I would follow as the Lord leads.”
She recently shifted her residence from the apartment on the 4th Floor of Founders to RD lodgings on the 2nd floor of Carter, but Trapanick will continue to meet weekly with DCs in Founders and Mac. To free Trapanick’s time for new responsibilities in Carter, Chaplain Grant Lowe and Administrative Assistant Leah Jones will begin to counsel Founders and Mac DCs for one-on-one meetings. Lowe will address DCs on boy’s halls, while Leah Jones will speak with DCs on girl’s halls.
RD of Founders, Isaiah Barnfield is not worried that Trapanick’s trade-off will leave his Residence Hall floundering for spiritual leadership. “I think Founders is going to be okay and the DCs are prepared well,” he says. “I think they will be able to handle the transition, because they will still receive individual mentoring from Chaplain Lowe and other people.”
Meanwhile, Trapanick will begin focus her attention on the dorm-life side of Carter’s residence hall equation. Like all RDs, she will provide guidance for Carter’s RAs through weekly rendezvous and individual meetings, supervise hall-wide recreational events, and make sure everything is running smoothly in the Carter micro-community. However, due to the transient nature of the interim position and her existing responsibilities in Mac and Founders,, she will meet individually only with female RDs. Male RAs will convene with Ingraham for one-on-one consultation instead.
“I have been sincerely blessed with such a privilege to take part in these students’ lives,” Trapanick says about relationships gained through the move and retained through continued ties to Founders and Mac.
Trapanick is thankful for fresh direction she will be taking in her career, but indicates that she isn’t planning on making any radical changes to the blueprint Marbury left for Residence Hall life in Carter.
“Honestly, what is beautiful about stepping in as the Interim Carter Resident Director, has been that the vision has been set for the building by Evan,” says Trapanick. “Evan is a great vision-caster and has cared so deeply for the students on this campus. I am truly walking in with open hands in that the Holy Spirit is moving in Carter Hall, and I am here to be a willing vessel for the Lord and be a point person for the students in Carter Hall.”
Ingraham also says that he is not “expecting her to be Evan and to do exactly what Evan was doing,” but does “want her to be a resource for our students and to help them to do things that they need and to care for our RAs.” Both he and Trapanick acknowledge that jumping into the role mid-semester will prove to be a difficult task—particularly in light of the vacuum left by Marbury—but both trust that the holes can be filled in through teamwork.
“With any transition there will be challenges. We are creatures of habit and consistency,” she says. However, “I have been impressed already with the love and care other buildings, faculty, and staff have shown through their listening ears and prayers. I can say with complete confidence whatever challenges come forth for Carter they will not be faced alone.”
Trapanick thanks Carter students for their warm welcome, prayers, and “kind affirmation” of her leadership for the remainder of the Spring semester.