During his 10 years as Western Carolina University’s assistant director, and then associate director, of operations, Bryant Barnett was grooming himself to eventually become the director of residential living.
He tried to learn everything possible so that he would be prepared for the day then-director of residential living, Keith Corzine, left that position. But five years ago, the department reorganized and Barnett was reassigned to be the director of campus services.
Fortunately, his passion for residential living never waned. Last fall, the department was shuffled again and Barnett was named the executive director of residential living, a position he began Sept. 15. Corzine is now the assistant vice chancellor for campus services.
“I knew all along my passion was residential living,” Barnett said. “That’s what I was more or less raised learning as far as student affairs goes. I knew for quite awhile that that was where I wanted to get back to.”
As the executive director of residential living, Barnett oversees residence life, operations and residential facilities. He is currently in the process of hiring directors for operations and residence life.
Barnett graduated from WCU in 2002 with a bachelor’s in computer information systems. He received his MBA from WCU in 2004. As a student, he worked as a mailroom clerk and a student mailroom supervisor for university housing/residential living. His first full-time job at WCU was assistant director of operations for residential living.
Barnett said this is an exciting time to be with residential living. When he started 14 years ago, WCU opened what now is Judaculla Hall and The Village. Currently, a new residence hall is scheduled to be built on the upper campus and completed in 2019, while another will be built on the lower campus with a scheduled completion of 2020.
“I think it’s an exciting time for the second half of my career to get to see what will eventually be renovations, or demolition and new construction, or just new construction,” Barnett said, “and seeing how NC Promise affects us and how we can expand or continue to provide what’s needed as far as housing goes.
“We’ve never missed a residence hall project opening on time, so I certainly want to keep that streak alive,” he added.
With WCU continuing to set enrollment records each fall, Barnett is enjoying the challenge of trying to accommodate the throngs of students flocking to Cullowhee. He also likes being a part of the students’ daily lives at WCU.
It’s his passion.