Student Life

Residential Life Staff

The Office of Residential Life is staffed by a well-trained and knowledgeable team of professionals and paraprofessionals. The Residential Life staff consists of the director, the administrative assistant, five hall directors and 32 resident assistants. Each member of the Residential Life staff helps build community for residents in their own unique way.

Melanie Ebig Lawson
Director of Residential Life

Originally from Michigan, Melanie returned to the Midwest after a decade in New England.  She earned both her BS in Women’s Studies and MA in Counseling/College Student Personnel from Eastern Michigan University and has worked in Residential Life at EMU, University of Illinois, University of Connecticut and Mount Holyoke College prior to joining the team at Manchester.  She enjoys spending time with her husband Robert, playing video games, crafting and gardening.

Hall Directors

What is an HD?
The main focus of a Hall Director (HD) is to provide students with a comfortable living environment. This includes socialization, community building, sleeping, studying and a community free from harassment. HDs work with, train, develop and supervise the RAs. They work directly with RAs (Resident Assistants), student leaders and the students in their halls. HDs also advise Hall Council. HDs are responsible for day-to-day operations of the hall, as well as initial conduct hearings.

Jim Herman 
Oakwood Hall Director

Jim is the current hall director at Oakwood Hall. He calls Mishawaka, Ind. home, and earned his undergraduate degree in Secondary English Education at Purdue University. He continued on at Purdue to receive his Masters of Science in Curriculum & Instruction. As a former English major, Jim enjoys relaxing with a good book. He also watches way too much TV and enjoys swimming, traveling, and spending time with his family.

Amy DiNovo
Amy DiNovo 
Schwalm Hall Director

Born and raised in Oak Lawn, IL outside of Chicago, Amy joins us from Central Michigan University. She graduated with a B.A. in Applied Arts as an Art/Art History major and with 3 years of residential life experience. She has found a passion for Residential Life and hopes to pursue a degree in Student Affairs. You can find her watching Netflix or working on a new art project with a smile on her face. 

Colin Schrader

Helman Hall Director

Although Colin was born in Detroit, Mich., he likes to say he is “from the Midwest,” as he has lived in Michigan, Wisconsin, Iowa, Missouri, and now Indiana. Colin received his BA in Cinema & Comparative Literature from The University of Iowa, and his Master’s in Higher Education Leadership from Northwest Missouri State University. He is a fan all forms of literature and media; with his favorite authors being Scott Sigler and Neil Gaiman.


Jessica Sillaman
East Hall Director

Jess is originally from Pennsylvania, grew up in Virginia, and found herself in Indiana after graduating from Arcadia University with a B.A. in International Studies in 2014. Since then, she has enjoyed her time in North Manchester visiting nearby zoos and tasting locally made smoothies! Her Nook, evening walks, and baking cupcakes are her favorite pastimes. Jess plans to pursue a degree in International Higher Education one day.

Lauren Zlotecki
Lauren Zlotecki
Garver Hall Director

Lauren joined Manchester University after graduating with a B.S. in 2014 from Central Michigan University and 3 years of residence life experience followed by a year of service with AmeriCorps.

Resident Assistants

What is an RA?

Resident assistants (RAs) are to develop ongoing relationships with residents on the floor and are committed to helping meet the needs of residents, as students and as responsible members of the campus community. "Assisting" incorporates many aspects including: programming counseling, being a friend, upholding University and residence hall policies, dispensing information, and being available on the floor. Each of these aspects is an appropriate way to meet the needs of the residents.

Each resident assistant is primarily committed to a floor/wing and its residents. In addition, a resident assistant will have many responsibilities involving the entire residence hall. RAs are responsible in the hall for information, counsel, supervision of hall operations and emergency response, whether it involves people or the physical facilities.