Q&A with Resident Director Abby Woodley

Abby Woodley is the resident director of Bodien Hall, and the role she plays is crucial to Bethel’s student community experience. In this Q&A, she shares a bit about herself and how she came to be in this position at Bethel.

By Marcus Dip Silas S’25, student writer

January 12, 2023 | 9 a.m.

Abby Woodley, resident director of Bodien Hall

Abby Woodley, resident director of Bodien Hall

Abby Woodley is passionate about her residents in Bodien Hall. As resident director, Woodley believes that she is uniquely positioned to impact her residents. She sees her position as being the “bearer of fun, a term she has coined to describe her outlook on being a positive influence on the lives of her residents. Woodley believes fun provides an opportunity to build intentional relationships to support her residents in their academic goals and residence life experience.

Tell us a bit about your educational background and why you are drawn to student development.

I grew up in Edina and then went to Baylor University in Waco, TX for my undergrad. At Baylor, I graduated with a degree in all level special education and from there, spent three years teaching as a special education teacher at a middle school in Edina. Through my former role and now this role, I have always been passionate about student development, fostering authentic community, and the unified movement.

What brought you to Bethel, and what do you love about this community?

My husband went to Bethel and always spoke so highly about his experience here. When deciding my next steps after teaching and processing through my desire to be in a Christ-centered job position, Bethel kept popping up in my thoughts and conversations with others. I have loved being in a position where Jesus is at the center of everything we do. It has been so transformative to be around a community of believers working toward the same goal of pursuing Jesus together and fostering an inclusive and authentic environment for students to find who they are in Christ and become more like Him.

What is the most fulfilling part of your job as Bodien’s resident director?

The most fulfilling parts of my job as the RD of Bodien are walking alongside residents and supporting their mental health, academic goals, spiritual goals, and personal development. A close second is being able to plan, host, and cultivate fun on campus. From supporting nightly shack events, to being able to plan bigger All Hall Parties, it’s a blast to be the bearer of fun in Bodien.

What frequent challenges do you see students face, and how can the Bethel community better support each other?

The biggest challenge that I see students face is mental health struggles. RA's are on each floor as an immediate and accessible touchpoint for students struggling with mental health issues and RD's quickly step into those spaces with residents as needed. Through the Student Care process, Bethel students struggling can meet with their RD's as well as the Dean team in the Student Life Office to make a plan and receive support. In addition to these supports, there are incredible campus counselors in Bethel's Counseling Services department. This is a confidential resource for students, free of charge on Bethel's campus. Bethel students can use these trained professionals for a one time consultation or a regular and consistent form of counseling, depending on their needs. There are also campus pastors who are able to meet with students and support their mental health. I think as a Bethel community we can rally around our students, ask good questions, and ensure that our students know that we are there to support and love them! 

An issue parents are often concerned about for their students is safety. Can you tell us a bit about the security measures in the residence halls that keep students safe?

We treat the issue of security on campus very seriously. All residence halls are secure through locked doors that require key card acces. Bethel students only have access to their specific halls and all floor doors are locked outside of visitation hours. When floor doors are unlocked there is "shack" going on in the lobby, staffed by an RA from that dorm. Someone in Residence Life is always accessible to help residents with any safety issues they may encounter. Bethel also has 24-hour security throughout campus and several security personnel who make their rounds in the main building and on the compound. In the event of an emergency, campus-wide alerts are promptly dispatched and the proper authorities are alerted. Parents can rest assured that their student's wellbeing is one of our top priorities.

How does living in residence halls help foster community relationships at Bethel?

There is so much about living in the residence halls that fosters community relationships. Proximity, programming, and community supports are the ways that this happens. For most students, this is the only time in their life where they will be living this close to their best friends. Our students get face time with each other all day everyday just due to the proximity of everyone on campus. Programming also fosters community relationships at Bethel. Each residence hall has intentional programing nightly that targets relationship building, spiritual growth, and of course fun in the halls through shack. Not to mention resident hall events each month planned by student leaders on campus and then additional Hall parties and events. We’ve got a lot going on. Finally, the community supports through amazing RAs on each floor, RDs in each hall, and then the incredible Student Life staff are working overtime to ensure that students know they’re loved by the Bethel community and Christ. This team could not be more stacked with people who are sold out for Jesus and their entire career is loving Bethel students because of it.

What are some of your hopes for your residents in spring 2023?

My deepest hope I have for the residents of Bodien in spring 2023 is that they would grow in their relationship with Jesus.

“I am passionate about helping my residents feel like they can authentically be who the Lord created them to be here at Bethel.”

— Abby Woodley, resident director of Bodien Hall

Residence Life at Bethel

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