On the job: Sue Wilson
Sue Wilson, an office support associate in the Housing Division, has worked at the UI for more than 20 years. Wilson’s mother worked in the psychology department for several years and told her that it was a great place to work. Wilson decided to see if her mother was right and began working at the UI College of Nursing in 1988. After eight years, she moved to her current position with Residential Life and has been there for the last 12 years.
Wilson graduated from Urbana High School in 1977 and studied journalism at Eastern Illinois University. Wilson and her husband, Jack, live in Champaign with a dog and several cats.
Tell me about your job.
I am Bob Wilczynski’s secretary and the first person you see when you come into Residential Life. I compile daily reports from resident directors of situations that occur in the residence halls – everything from alcohol transports, noise violations, roommate conflicts or copyright infringement. Depending on the violation, it is my job to correspond with the students involved. I also compile lists and statistics of incidents that are used internally. I organize a lot of data on fire alarms, transports and other resident-involved situations into various databases. We keep a running report of these incidents and it is compiled at the end of every semester. We like to have a lot of information at our fingertips to stay on top of things.
What does a typical day look like?
My day really depends on what incidents happened in the residence halls the night before. I don’t really have a set routine, because every day is different. I spend a good amount of time corresponding with students and entering data, but sometimes I will order supplies for the office. It really is a mishmash of stuff, but I like coming to work knowing that it won’t be the same as the day before.
What do you like most about your job?
I like how my work is largely student-based. It is interesting because of the different situations that arise in the residence halls. I learn a lot about students. I also spend a lot of time working with the resident directors and area coordinators within Housing, and they are great people to work with. We’re like one big family. There are no egos, which is really good when you work in an office. We tend to stick around for a long time and get attached to each other.
What do you like to do off the job?
I spend a lot of time off the job working with a non-profit organization called CATsNAP. We’re a group of volunteers who are concerned for the welfare of cats and other small animals. We trap stray cats and spay or neuter them as well as provide medical care, all at our own expense. We work with the community to also provide low-cost spay and neuter services to help with overpopulation of stray animals. We have a small, no-kill adoption program but have no facility, so our cats are either at the Champaign PetSmart or in foster care. Our volunteers do a wide range of activities – fostering, trapping or spending time with our cats, and we are always looking for more help. There are currently 30 cats available in our adoption program, and last year we helped about 200 cats, plus a dog or two, find their forever home.
How did you get involved with CATsNAP?
I got involved because I wanted to do adoption counseling at PetSmart, but then I heard about this program and started fostering cats. I’ve been involved about 4 1/2 years now.
The most rewarding part of this is knowing that we are not only helping cats but the community as well. I really can’t imagine my life without being involved in adoption counseling and helping the community. I love it.
What do you with the cats that you foster?
I actually have a designated room in my house for the cats that I foster. It has two cat condos, carpeted ledges at various heights on the walls and a floor-to-ceiling cat pole. It also has a pink playpen to contain kittens or cats that need to be socialized more. Sometimes I refer to my house as “The Land of Misfit Kitties” since these are cats that no one wants. Among the fosters that I have kept as part of my own crew are Miss Cranky Pants and Cricket Head.
News Bureau, University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign
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