Programming and Community Engagement Coordinator fosters online connections with shippers

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Get to know Danielle Coady, Programming and Community Engagement Coordinator for New Haven University’s Office of Residential Life, who discovers new ways to stay connected during the coronavirus pandemic and shares her insights with Charger Nation.

May 15, 2020

By Renee Chmiel, Office of Marketing and Communications

Danielle Coady in Quebec.

The lifeblood of New Haven University are the faculty and staff who dedicate their lives to helping our students achieve their goals. Periodically, we will introduce you to a staff member so that you learn more about them, beyond their day-to-day work.

Next up is Danielle Coady, Programming and Community Engagement Coordinator at the Office of Residential Life. As a college student, she took part in her own Indiana Jones-style adventure, and recently embarked on a new adventure: planning her wedding.

Renée 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 take care of her. My brothers and I were delighted! We had begged our parents for a dog for almost two years by then. Ginger liked to snuggle up against us on the couch, especially during thunderstorms.

Unfortunately, I don’t have any pets at the moment, but I would really like to have some. A puppy would make it much more enjoyable to be stuck in the house. Guess I have to live vicariously through Instagram for now.

Image of Danielle Coady and her mom.
Danielle Coady and her mom.

RC: What are your favorite shows?
DC: “TGIT” on ABC is the best night of the week. For those unfamiliar with the Thursday lineup, it includes “Grey’s Anatomy”, “Station 19” and “How to Get Away with Murder”. The drama level is off the charts and exactly what I need after a long day. I love the way shows can bring people together. My mom and I started watching Grey’s Anatomy when I was still in high school. This is also how we stayed connected when I left for college. We would call each other when it was on and discuss what was going on. I still have it out for dinner on Thursday evenings so we can keep the tradition going, although this was cut short due to physical distancing.

RC: Of all the University events you have attended, which has been your favorite?
DC: My favorite event so far was the Office of Residential Life Fall Fest which took place last October. I loved seeing so many Bixler / Gerber quad students come together in community to just enjoy the day. I think sometimes we can all get caught up in the daily challenges we face which can cause us to lose sight of those around us. I also appreciated the collaborative aspect of this event as our campus partners were present, connecting with students throughout the day.

“It is important that we do everything in our power to stay connected because we are still a community.”Danielle Coady

RC: What achievement are you most proud of?
DC: When I was in college, I dreamed of becoming the next Indiana Jones. Therefore, it was no shock to my family that I was studying archeology, history and religion. All I had always wanted to do was do archaeological digs. Finally, during the summer before my senior year, I had my chance. I was part of Lycoming College Expedition to Idalion, Cyprus. It was everything I dreamed of and more. I didn’t mind sleeping on 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 traveled outside the country and was able to immerse myself in a culture other than my own. I will always be grateful for the experience.

Image of Danielle Coady at Blarney Castle.
Danielle Coady visited Blarney Castle in Ireland.

RC: What activities did you participate in when you were in college?
DC: I decided to leave for college, about five hours from home to be exact. Therefore, getting involved on campus was important to me. Initially, I joined the football team because I loved the sport, but it also allowed me to make friends right away. I immediately sympathized with my teammates.

Eventually, I joined the Beta Phi Gamma sorority, where I was able to grow up and take on leadership roles. The sorority has been my gateway to participate in several philanthropic projects. The closest to my heart was Relay for Life.

RC: How have you helped students stay connected while learning remotely this semester?
DC: This semester has been difficult, as students, faculty and staff all feel the strain of isolation. It is important that we do everything in our power to stay connected because we are still a community. We don’t have to go through this alone. Feeling alone can be harmful to mental and emotional health. Part of the Office of Residential Life’s commitment to our students is to build collaborative relationships that connect students with university partners and to immerse students in opportunities for community engagement. We have the same commitment even though we are physically far apart.

Since physical distancing became the norm, I have been active on the Office of Residential Life’s social media platforms. Every Monday I post motivational quotes and photos to help cheer up as we start a new week. On well-being Wednesdays, I host either a Zoom discussion in collaboration with the health, counseling and psychological services, or yoga sessions in collaboration with ChargerREC. Maintaining your mental and physical health is more vital than ever.

Finally, I organize a contest every Friday on our Instagram account in honor of spiritual Fridays. I want us all to remember that it is possible to live a fully charged life, even in these uncertain times.

Image of Danielle Coady and her family.
Danielle Coady (second from right) and her family.

RC: How do you stay in touch with your family and friends while we are all at home?
DC: Setting up virtual game nights with my family and friends has been very helpful to me. Sometimes you just need to see their faces and have a night of laughs. However, I am extremely fortunate to have an additional distraction. My fiance proposed to me in February, so I have a wedding planned for 2021! Location… Check it out. Date… Check. Now let’s look for a DJ and flowers!



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