Matt Weido, University Housing
Residence Hall Director - University Housing
Achiever - Competition - Significance - Focus - Consistency
Matt was the 2020-2021 recipient of the New Professional of the Year award - here are some selections of what his nominators shared with us!
...While this was Matt’s first professional role in University Housing, he brought a wealth of skills, willingness to learn, passion for the work we do, and constant volunteering to help. In joining a housing team, there is always a challenge to get through the first few months with move in, new staff members, and everyone learning about their roles, residence halls, and on campus life. 2020 brought a global pandemic that shifted many of our practices, roles, and areas of responsibility for all of our departments across campus.
When he joined us, Matt embraced his role as a Residence Hall Director and did not let virtual meetings, social distancing, and anything else the pandemic through at him get in his way. He regularly set up meetings for his students and student staff to connect with him. He took tours of his buildings with facilities partners to fully understand the inner workings of his community. He reached out to different staff members throughout housing and fostered relationships to ensure he was being an active member of the team.
Matt’s first two months in the role were so successful that he was chosen from the residence hall directors to assist with managing the COVID call center in University Housing. Aside from answering student and parent concerns and questions related to all things COVID, Matt also worked to train his peers and colleagues about the housing process for supporting students during their quarantine/isolation periods. Matt did this while also still managing his full time role. He serves as a supervisor to a team of resident assistants, supervises a 24 hour front desk, advises a Community Council, serves on the Culture of Inclusion Committee, and was still participating in events such as Coffee and Conversations throughout the entire year. He has thrived so exceptionally in his role that I have been overwhelmed often times with pride as his supervisor.
Matt has also stepped up throughout the department to serve on various committees such as the Jim Day Housing Scholarship review team, volunteering to assist with manual reviews, and much more. Matt also takes time to engage the team outside of the office through monthly Moon Walks hosted by our Executive Director. Matt was asked this year to serve as a facilitator for the Leadership Summit. He has also assisted with piloting a mediation program that partners UGA Law School students with University Housing residents who are experiencing conflicts that require a mediation. This program provides a neutral mediator for each situation and also allows the housing staff member to serve as a support for the students. I look forward to seeing Matt continue to grow in his role and as a staff member in the Student Affairs field for many years to come.
As a Residence Hall Director, Matt is pulled in multiple directions, whether it's his supervision duties, crisis response, building relationships with his students, or simply managing his daily tasks; Matt has been one to handle it all with grace, while simultaneously seeking out new opportunities for growth.
...Even within a global pandemic, Matt has committed himself to engaging with campus partners. Matt has made it his personal mission to attend as many "Coffee & Conversations" as possible to meet more of his peers across the division. He can regularly be found walking around Georgia Square Mall with Linda Kasper, Executive Director for University Housing, and peers, during Linda's monthly "moon walks." Matt's outreach efforts contributed to the Education Leadership & Service Office approaching him to volunteer as a facilitator for their 2021 Leadership Summit. Matt is also currently in conversations with the Multicultural Services & Programs office to foster a relationship between them and University Housing, to bring more inclusive programming to students. He has also volunteered to review scholarship applications for the 2021 Jim Day Housing Scholarship which will provide him with the opportunity to learn from residents’ perspectives how University Housing has positively impacted their lives at UGA. Matt actively seeks out opportunities to create relationships to best support his students, department, and peers.
This spring, Matt was able to partner with the Housing Sustainability Coordinator, Christy Tweedy, to lead a composting pilot program at his community on the Health Science Campus for the first time. To create a positive impact for his residents, Matt also piloted a "compost pledge" where he asked his residents to commit to compost during the spring semester. Matt physically showcased the pledge in the community office, which lead to greater participation. This program was highly successful, with over 45 residents signing up! So far, the Health Science Campus has composted a generous amount of waste in its first month of the program. Matt's second pilot program is in partnership with the University of Georgia's School of Law and the Office of Student Conduct, where law students are given the opportunity to practice their mediation skills with roommate conflicts within Matt's community.
I strongly believe that he is more than deserving to be recognized for going above and beyond in his role, all while exemplifying what it means to be a Georgia Bulldawg within the Division of Student Affairs. His leadership, charisma, and need to excel, has positively impacted Matt's peers, department, students, and with anyone he has worked.
Are you from Georgia? If not, where are you from? (i.e., where do you call “home”?)
Nope. Home is Sunny San Diego, CA. But I was born in Houston, TX and then moved to California when I was a year old.
How long have you worked at UGA?
Since July of last year. I just hit my one-year mark!
What does a “day in the life” look like for you at work?
Oh man, it really depends on the day. I’ll usually roll in and head straight for the Keurig – need that morning coffee. Then it’s catching up on emails and checking to see if anything occurred in my community the night before. The rest of the day can consist of meetings, checking in with students and staff, and any other commitments I may have.
What are three things you love most about your job?
Who do you look up to/ admire?
I’ve had a few mentors through the years, but the one I feel changed my life the most was my supervisor in undergrad, Karen Winard. She was fearless, courageous, and knew how to build people up. I unfortunately lost her to cancer a few years back.
What are things that you do for fun/hobbies?
I used to be a part of a kickball and volleyball league and I hope to get back into it. Right now, my time is spent with my dog, beamer, exploring Georgia, and traveling whenever I can. I’m always ready to take a trip!
What might be something that you would like other staff to know about your job?
That Health Sciences Campus really isn’t far from main campus. We’re our own community with a gym, dining hall, library, and much more. Come on out for a tour!
What might be some ways that staff could collaborate or partner with you?
Our student staff love to learn about campus partners and how to best collaborate with them. If y’all have a program or information you’d like students to know about, we got you!
Anything you would like to share that you would like other staff to know about you?
I’m a fast-paced executor. Meaning that I’m always running around getting tasks accomplished. But please stop me and say hi!
What advice would you have for new staff joining UGA Student Affairs?
Get to know people! We are a massive division with a lot of amazing individuals who are here to support you and your goals.
What is one question you wished we asked and what is the answer?
What is my favorite color? The answer is blue, which is why I wear it so often.
OR what is my favorite place I’ve been. That answer is Venice. Getting lost around the canals is awesome.
What is the coolest thing you have ever done and why?
I’m stuck between sky diving in California and ziplining over alligators. Both were super fun and adrenaline inducing. I wouldn’t say I’m an adrenaline junky, but I do love a good thrill.