VP of Student Affairs candidate talks in open forum

One of the candidates for WSU vice president of student affairs held a forum on Friday and talked about her education, experience and ideas for the position.

Eleanor Finger currently serves as the director of housing and residence life at Virginia Tech, where she has been since August 2011. Finger also served as WSU’s director of Residence Life for 10 years before going to Virginia Tech.

While working at Virginia Tech, Finger successfully facilitated the restructure of the university’s housing and residence life, said Chris White of the President’s Office. White said Finger has been described as people-centered, student-focused, and as a person with a strong vision and technical skills. Finger has a doctorate degree from WSU in higher education administration, White said.

Finger said she shares the family values of diversity, inclusion, acceptance and tolerance, and that they can be expected from her here.

“I am passionate about diversity work and passionate about creating safe, brave spaces for people to be who they are,” she said.

Finger referenced the Gallup-Purdue Index, a recent report that looks into what makes a successful student. She said the report found students thrive if they have mentor figures and participate in experiences such as study abroad, undergraduate research or internships. Finger said these experiences help create marketable leaders for the future.

She said she wants to connect students to a community by making support resources more available and exposing students to diversity and inclusion.

“If you don’t have a connection to the community, your education, I don’t feel like it comes to life in the way that it can,” she said.

Finger said she wants to help figure out how to partner WSU with the Pullman community, and better the town-gown relationship. She said she also wants to give student affairs high visibility and let people know about the work they are doing.

“Excellent work deserves excellent recognition,” she said.

Finger said student affairs needs to be more flexible and creative in its design of student opportunities with tightening university resources. She said they need to create practices that have high accountability and that make the institution successful.

Finger said student affairs is real work that affects people’s lives and develops character.

“It’s hard work in student affairs, because it is messy work,” Finger said. “You never know what could come up in any given day, but I think it’s amazing messy work.”