Lawther RLC serves students



A Florida native with UNI roots, Michele Moyna has served as the Residence Life Coordinator for Lawther Hall since July 2018.


Even though it’s tucked away in a side hallway, Michelle Moyna’s room is hard to miss.

It’s the one with all the balloons.

They litter the floor of Moyna’s office in Lawther Hall, where she works as a Residence Life Coordinator (RLC). Streamers adorn the file cabinet, and the door is covered with colorful name tags and paper cutouts.

Moyna, her curly red hair cascading onto the shoulders of her UNI jacket, is as bright and outgoing as her office. 

“I love getting to know students,” she said, “like, sitting at the desk and watching people come up with packages. I always want to talk to them.”

A Florida native, Moyna received her bachelor’s degree in social science education from the University of Central Florida (UCF) and completed her master’s degree in Student Personnel and Higher Education from the University of Florida. She began her current job as Lawther Hall’s RLC in July of 2018.

She may be far from home, but she has family connections to Cedar Falls: her mother, father and grandmother all attended UNI. Her grandmother, in fact, once lived in Lawther Hall. 

Moyna fell in love with student affairs after getting involved with the Campus Activities Board (CAB) at UCF.

“I always wanted to be a teacher because my parents were both teachers, but then I didn’t really enjoy my education classes in undergrad,” she said. “But I was very involved with CAB at UCF, and I was like, ‘Wait, people can get paid an adult salary to work with college students?’”

Moyna is now doing just that. Her daily schedule is variable, she said, but revolves around meetings with student employees and various residence hall directors and groups. 

“I supervise all eight RAs that work in this building, I help advise the Lawther Activities Board and I’m one of the advisers for RHA [Residence Hall Association],” she said. “I’m [also] the chair for the Training Committee for all student and staff training, helping with the RA conference that we host every year at UNI […] and just kind of whatever else pops up.”

In addition, Moyna is on call “24/7,” as she puts it, to address issues that arise within Lawther, from mental health crises to policy violations to facilities requests.

To accommodate her on-call hours, Moyna, like all other UNI RLCs, lives in the building where she works. Each RLC has an apartment within their dorm, with utilities and rent included as part of their compensation, as well as a meal plan for UNI’s two dining centers, Rialto and Piazza. The living arrangements are a perk, Moyna said, but she does sometimes long for more of a separation between her work life and personal life.

“It can get overwhelming at times with things piling up and managing everything that happens in a day,” she said.

Moyna also deals with misconceptions about her position.

“Everyone just assumes that I’m the head RA, and there’s more to it than that,” she said. “I think people always rush to assumptions that I’m also a student. I wish they knew more about what goes on behind the scenes.”

Still, Moyna said, she loves the interaction with students that her job provides. 

“The best part of my job is definitely working with students,” she said. “I absolutely adore the student staff that we have in the building this year. They are what makes the job fun.”

In the future, Moyna hopes to move into leadership positions in the conduct or student activities divisions of the student affairs world.

“Student affairs people […] help with the outside of the classroom experience,” she said. “We’re the ones who are there supporting student leaders and students overall.”