Programming and Community Engagement Coordinator Fosters Charger Connections Online
Get to know Danielle Coady, coordinator for programming and community engagement for the University of New Haven's Office of Residential life, who is discovering new ways to stay connected during the coronavirus pandemic and is sharing her ideas with Charger Nation.
May 15, 2020
By Renee Chmiel, Office of Marketing and Communications
The lifeblood of the University of New Haven are the faculty and staff members who dedicate their lives to helping our students reach their goals. Periodically, we’ll introduce you to a member of the staff so you can learn more about him or her – beyond their day-to-day work.
Next up is Danielle Coady, coordinator for programming and community engagement in the Office of Residential Life. As a college student, she took part in her own Indiana Jones-like adventure, and she has recently embarked on a new adventure: planning her wedding.
Renee Chmiel: What was your first pet? Do you have any pets now? Danielle Coady: My first pet was a dog named Ginger. We took her in after my grandmother could no longer care for her. My brothers and I were ecstatic! We had been begging our parents for a dog for almost two full years at that point. Ginger loved to cuddle with us on the couch, especially during thunderstorms.
Unfortunately, I don’t have any pets currently, but I really wish I did. A puppy would make being stuck in the house much more enjoyable. I guess I must live vicariously through Instagram for now.
RC: What are some of your favorite shows? DC: “TGIT” on ABC is the best night of the week. For those who are unfamiliar with the Thursday lineup, it includes “Grey’s Anatomy,” “Station 19,” and “How to Get Away with Murder.” The level of drama is off the charts and exactly what I need after a long day. I love how shows can bring people together. My mother and I started watching Grey’s Anatomy when I was still in high school. It was also how we stayed connected when I went away to college. We used to call each other when it was on and discuss what was happening. I still have her over for dinner on Thursday nights so we can keep the tradition going, though this has been paused due to physical distancing.
RC: Of all the events at the University that you’ve been a part of, which one has been your favorite? DC: My favorite event thus far was the Office of Residential Life’s “Fall Fest” that took place this past October. I loved seeing so many students on the Bixler/Gerber quad come together as a community to simply enjoy the day. I think sometimes we can all get caught up in the day-to-day challenges we face, which can lead us to lose sight of those around us. I also enjoyed the collaborative aspect of this event as our campus partners were in attendance, connecting with students throughout the day.
"It is important that we do everything within our power to stay connected because we are still a community."Danielle Coady
RC: What is an accomplishment you are most proud of? DC: When I was in college, I dreamed of becoming the next Indiana Jones. Therefore, it was not a shock to my family that I studied archaeology, history, and religion. All I had ever wanted to do was go on an archaeological dig. Finally, during the summer before my senior year, I got my chance. I was a part of the Lycoming College Expedition to Idalion, Cyprus. It was everything I had dreamed of and more. I didn’t mind that we were sleeping on army cots in the middle of a village. Studying abroad for two months opened my eyes to a whole new world. It was the first time I travelled out of the country and was able to immerse myself in a culture other than my own. I will forever be grateful for the experience.
RC: What were some activities you were involved in when you were in college? DC: I decided to go away for college, about five hours away from home to be exact. Therefore, getting involved on campus was important to me. Initially, I joined the soccer team because I loved the sport, but it also gave me the opportunity to make friends right away. I immediately bonded with my teammates.
Eventually, I went on to join the Beta Phi Gamma sorority, where I was able to grow and take on leadership roles. The sorority was my gateway to participating in several philanthropy projects. The closest to my heart was Relay for Life.
RC: How did you help students stay connected as they learned remotely this semester? DC: This semester has been challenging, as students, faculty, and staff are all feeling the strain of isolation. It is important that we do everything within our power to stay connected because we are still a community. We do not have to go through this alone. Feeling alone can be damaging to one’s mental and emotional health. Part of the Office of Residential Life’s commitment to our students is to build collaborative relationships that connect students to University partners and to immerse students in community engagement opportunities. We have the same commitment even though we are physically distant.
Since physical distancing has become the norm, I have been active on the Office of Residential Life’s social media platforms. Each Monday, I post motivational quotes and pictures to help boost morale as we begin a new week. On Wellness Wednesdays, I either host a Zoom chat in collaboration with Health Services and Counseling and Psychological Services or yoga sessions in collaboration with ChargerREC. Maintaining one’s mental and physical health is more vital than ever before.
Lastly, I host a contest each Friday on our Instagram account in honor of Spirit Fridays. I want us all to remember that it is possible to live a fully charged life, even in these uncertain times.
RC: How are you staying in touch with family and friends while we are all at home? DC: Setting up virtual game nights with family and friends has been very helpful for me. Sometimes you just need to see their faces and have a night filled with laughter. However, I am extremely lucky to have an additional distraction. My fiancé proposed to me in February, so I have been planning a wedding for 2021! Venue…Check. Date…Check. Now onto finding a DJ and flowers!