Staff profiles: Tim Knight
“Students will say, ‘I didn’t know who to call, so I called you.’ I say, ‘Well, that’s a good start,’” Tim Knight said. “And then knowing what we know about various and sundry operations on campus, we pull those things together for the benefit of the students’ experience.”
Knight is the guest services manager for West Circle Neighborhood — which includes Campbell, Yakeley, Gilchrist, Landon, Mayo and Williams Halls — in Campus Living Services and Residence Life.
The West Circle residence halls, located on the north side of campus, were built the 1930s and 40s and are among MSU’s oldest residence halls. The halls were built in a Tudor-style design with Renaissance detailing and ivy-covered walls, and students sometimes affectionately call them “Hogwarts,” the name of the wizard school — and home away from home — in the Harry Potter book and film series.
Knight connects students with resources to help them organize social and educational events for residents in the neighborhood.
“I work with a number of partners — the Residence Life staff, the facility staff, the culinary staff — and we meet with a number of students who have an idea, but they’re not really sure how to execute it,” Knight said. “One of the biggest things that we do is help translate it into something that’s workable.”
Most MSU students living on campus were moved out of the residence halls by May 4, and the weeks prior to and following that day have been very busy, Knight said.
“Closing at the end of spring semester is all hands on deck,” Knight said. “Anybody who’s ever lived in a residence hall knows that student rooms can look like no one ever lived there to ‘how did anyone ever live there?’”
After move-out, the rooms are inspected and the belongings that were left behind are bagged and tagged so that students who call the residence halls trying to find their missing items can reclaim them. The painters, cleaners and maintenance people go to work in the rooms making sure that furniture is set, plaster damage is repaired and walls are freshly-painted. The work is in preparation for the number of guests who will stay in the residence halls for summer camps and conferences, as well as the return of students in the fall.
Mail is forwarded by hand to students’ summer addresses — whether it’s home or elsewhere — student accounts are closed, any charges that students may have are posted and housing reservations for next year are confirmed.
The halls are also prepped for summer academic orientation and parent orientation tours.
“When a room is not decorated, it looks pretty stark,” Knight said. “We do have model rooms set up that the University Activities Board provides furnishings for to give parents an idea and students an idea of how their rooms could look.”
Knight has served as the guest services manager for West Circle since last August, but he has worked on campus for about 41 years. He said that has worked in all but five of MSU’s 24 residence halls.
“The thing I enjoy most about working in this division is working with students,” Knight said. “You cannot get old when all of your customers are between the ages of 18 and 22. It is impossible.”
Knight’s more than 40 years of service at the university will end this summer; he is retiring Aug. 10.
“It’s kind of a mixed bag for me,” he said. “On the one hand, well, almost 41 years, plus my time as a student — maybe it’s a good time to go. On the other hand — you just can’t find this kind of vibe anywhere else.”