Meet Helen Wang, Wellesley’s New Director of Residence Life and Housing

September 12, 2018
Helen Wang talks with a group of students outside Bates Hall.

Helen Wang, Wellesley’s new director of residence life and housing, told the Daily Shot about the joys of fuzzy sweatshirts, living in Freeman Hall with her family (and Millie, the English bulldog), and why she is so excited to be a part of this Wellesley community.

 

Q: You started at Wellesley in April after working at Carnegie Mellon University. What was the best thing you did this summer?

Helen Wang: Given the timing of my arrival and the projects in place this summer, I am tabling a full summer experience for a bit. However, I did spend some quality time at the magical place known as Truly Yogurt. My toddler is a big fan—and one is only so strong.

 

Q: What was your college experience like? Looking back, is there anything you would have done differently?

Wang: I loved my college experience. I went to Carnegie Mellon, where I majored in English and psychology, worked in gender programs, and was heavily involved in Residential Life. I honestly would not change a thing! I stumbled, lacked balance, and worked too hard, but all of that taught me to pay attention to the things and people that mattered to me most. I learned to be patient with myself and to arrive at every situation with questions, not answers. I guess, though, if there was one thing I would change, it would be to just listen a little more closely to my intuitive self and to let go of my ego’s rendition of “success.”

 

Q: Tell us a random fact about yourself.

Wang: I was bitten by a rabid fox and lived to tell the story. I am a yoga instructor and have been teaching and practicing for over 15 years.

 

Q: So, deserted island question. You are stranded and can only have three things. What would they be and why?

Wang: Lip balm—nothing I can’t do with emolliated lips! A cup of tea and Biscoff (OK, I know that is two but they are a pair). An oversized fuzzy sweatshirt, because clothing should hug you back.

 

Q: What are you looking forward to most about working at Wellesley?

Wang: I am totally smitten with the students here, and I am most excited to learn about you, to hear your stories, and to be a part of this journey with you. I am excited about revitalizing the sense of connectedness and belonging in our residential spaces. I’m looking forward to walking Lake Waban with my family, and to having meaningful conversations with my colleagues and with students. I’m excited about improving room selection for everyone! There is so much opportunity here to be extraordinary together.

 

Q: How has living in Freeman been so far?

Wang: It has been such fun to live in residence, and it’s the first time that I have ever lived in professionally. I’m definitely living here by choice, but also because the College has been so generous to offer my family a short-term stay in residence. It has been very useful to be in the experience with students so that I can personally experience the good and bad. I have learned so much about housing, residential life, and dining from living in! Freeman is an amazing community, and I feel very lucky to be a part of the Eastside Beastside.

Here’s a little about my wolf pack: My husband, Don, is trained as an architect and practicing in the nonprofit real estate world. It’s a little comical because he’s 6’2” and I’m 5’1” so you can’t miss us. I have a drooly English bulldog named Millie who has kept us up for eight years with her snoring, and a 3 ½-year-old named Oliver who has a PhD in the mechanics of construction vehicles, garbage trucks, and fire engines.

 

Q: What do you want students to know about what you do on campus?

Wang: I am deeply invested in the student experience, and every day I think about how in Residential Life and Housing we can better support you. I am always up for conversations and walks, and I hope that my calendar will be filled with lots of great student meetings. I want students to know that I care very deeply about your lived experience at Wellesley and endeavor to be an advocate for all that you aspire to.

Photo: Helen Wang (right), director of residence life and housing, speaks to students outside of Bates Hall.