Skip to main content

Questions?

Office of the Vice President of Campus Life
202-885-3310
Fax: 202-885-1769
campuslife@american.edu
Butler Pavilion, Room 400

Monday-Friday 9:00a.m. - 5:00p.m.

Office of the Vice President of Campus Life
4400 Massachusetts Avenue NW
Washington, DC 20016-8127

On Campus

What Are You Doing This Summer?

Office of Campus Life staff members share their plans for the summer.

By Raheem Dawodu Jr.

OCL Staff Members collage

Summer is officially here in D.C. The weather is scorching hot, and that familiar D.C. humidity has returned. At AU, most of our students are away getting some rest, traveling, working and interning before the school year starts back up in the fall.

With our students gone, you probably think AU shuts down. Nope. Our staff has important work to do to prepare for the coming year, but they still find some time for fun summer plans.

Robert Hradsky, Ed.D.
Assistant Vice President of Campus Life and Dean of Students

What are you working on this summer?
There is a lot of activity that occurs over the summer with Eagle Summit and preparing for new student arrivals. Once it hits, we are actively engaged with the parents and the students and want to ensure they have a great experience. By the time the end of the summer comes, after some downtime, we kick right into preparing for the start of the new year.

Rob Hradsky
Photo by Raheem Dawodu

Are there any movies you are excited to see?
I am a huge Star Trek fan, so I am looking forward to the movie that is coming out soon. I loved watching Star Trek on TV as a child and the summer blockbuster movies in the 80s. And I love this new series as well.

Kirk or Picard?
I preferred Picard over Kirk. Picard seemed a little more measured, thoughtful, and intentional in his approach. Kirk was more reactionary. I liked Star Trek Voyager’s Captain Kathryn Janeway a lot too. She was very bright, intelligent and calculating. She is probably my favorite.

Sara Bendoraitis
Director of Programming, Outreach and Advocacy, Center for Diversity & Inclusion 

What are you working on this summer?
At CDI, we run a summer program for incoming students called STEP, or the Summer Transition Enrichment Program. There will be 50 students on campus, whom we will be working with for seven weeks to get them ready for the fall.

Do you have a summer vacation planned?
I have two kiddos and we will be going to Cape Cod, Mass., right before class starts. My family has been going to Cape Cod since I was in the 4th grade.

 Sara Bendoraitis
Photo by Raheem Dawodu

Are there any movies you are excited to see?
I love movies, but I have little time to see them with the two kiddos. I am super excited about the new Ghostbusters movie, and Bad Moms. That looks awesome. I probably don’t completely relate with some of the characters, but I have a similar parenting style. I am very excited to see it with my best friend. . . . That should be a fun mom date.

Ashley Ellington
Conference Operations Coordinator University Conference & Guest Services

What are you working on this summer?

Ashley Ellington
Photo by Raheem Dawodu

In my position, we have conferences all summer and we host interns from other universities (AU provides summer housing for interns in D.C.). From the beginning of May to the middle of August, we have summer camps and conferences taking place and I run the operations.

Are there any TV shows you want to watch or catch-up on?
I watched Orange Is the New Black. The season was good, but not how I wanted it to end. They brought a good message to the viewers. I also want to get caught up on Game of Thrones.

Bobby Howard
Assistant Director, Student Conduct & Conflict Resolution Services 

What are you working on this summer?

Our office does a presentation during orientation for parents and students. We also have our conduct council trainings for students, as well as training for the Residence Life staff. This year especially, because we have fresh eyes in the office, we are starting to re-brand our documents to keep things consistent going forward.

Do you have a summer vacation planned?
I went to a lake house for 4th of July weekend, and I am training for the Philadelphia and Brooklyn half marathons and the Rock and Roll Marathon in Las Vegas in November, so a lot of my free time is spent running. I also plan on visiting my brother in New York and my family in Augusta, Ga., before classes start.

Bobby Howard
Photo by Raheem Dawodu

Are there any movies you are excited to see?
I was excited to see the new X-Men: Apocalypse movie. Finding Dory is on my list as well. And I was excited to see the Independence Day: Resurgence, but have heard mixed things about it.

Are there any TV shows you want to watch or catch up on?
Right now I am hooked on the show Unreal, which airs on Lifetime. The program is told through the lens of the producers of a Bachelor/Bachelorette style reality show, and it shows how the producers manipulate the contestants to make them more interesting for TV. It is the second season, and I binge-watched the first season a few weeks ago.

Are there any concerts you want to see?
I am a huge Celine Dion fan, and she is performing on the Today Show in New York in July. Since I will be visiting my brother, I also want to make her concert.

Gail Short Hanson, Ph.D.
Vice President of Campus Life 

What are you working on this summer?
A big part of my summer is committed to new student orientation, Eagle Summit. OCL operates a two-day program for 250 students at a time, six times during the summer. When we are not doing that, we plan for staff retreats, write our Annual Report on what we did the year prior, and then we try to find some vacation time.

Do you have a summer vacation planned?
Our family always goes to a lake in New Hampshire. It is a beautiful lake. It is where the movie On Golden Pond was filmed. It is called “Your Spirit’s Home,” and it is. We have been going there since my son was four years old, and he is now 40. He brings our grandson along, and it is a lot of fun seeing our son watch his son do a lot of the same things he did at that age.

Gail Hanson
Photo by Raheem Dawodu

What other activities you have planned or have done?
I went to the Paul Simon concert at Wolf Trap, which was on my bucket list. He’s fabulous. For a guy who is 74 years old to put on a two-hour show of non-stop music, all of which he has written, is pretty amazing to watch. It rained, but we were under the roof, and it was amazing. He did a great mix of his old songs with songs from his new album, and his international music. He is just a very talented musician.

Another bucket list item is I get to see the whales off the West Coast. I am going to a wedding in Seattle, and we have an extra day and signed up for an excursion to whale watch.

It’s two highlights in one summer, which is exciting.