D'aun Green has spent 29 years working to give students at Texas Tech University the best housing experience possible.
In recognition of Women's History Month, Texas Tech University is highlighting the contributions of some of its longest-serving staff members throughout March. Their efforts, many of which go on behind the scenes and outside the spotlight, nevertheless keep the university running day to day.
In 1986, D'aun Green began her career in Texas Tech's University Student Housing as the hall director for Gates Hall. Since then, she has served in a variety of roles and has completed multiple training and certification courses that prepared her for her current role as senior associate managing director.
In her 29 years of service, Green has shared her knowledge with more than 20 Texas Tech committees dedicated to the Red Raider community. She also has dedicated her career to helping students have the best housing experience possible.
Green earned a bachelor's degree in home economics with an emphasis in interior design and a master's degree in housing, interior design and consumer studies from Oklahoma State University.
In typical fashion, she was not content with just one graduate degree. She also has a master's degree in interdisciplinary studies with an emphasis in educational psychology, higher education and environmental design and a doctoral degree in higher education with an emphasis in administration from Texas Tech.
Green's commitment to serving the Texas Tech community is just one of the reasons why she is being highlighted for Women's History Month.
In what positions/roles have you served while at Texas Tech?
I have had several progressive titles within university student housing over the years. Much of my service to the campus community has been through committee roles. I have truly enjoyed being a founding member of the Behavioral Intervention Team. We work to help students in crisis and who need campus coordination for services. I served for more than 10 years on the Student Fee Committee. It was a service I enjoyed because of the information learned from the various departmental presentations. It provided an elevated level of connection to Student Affairs and the university. I served for three years on the President's Gender and Equity Council and the Title IX subcommittee. We did a great deal of work towards creating more inclusive and supportive environments. It was a wonderful and enlightening experience.
Finally, emergency management has been something I have been interested in for some time. Over the past year, I have been privileged to sit on the COVID-19 Response Team with a wide variety of professionals from across campus to coordinate our responses to the multitude of challenges we have faced during this pandemic. With the creation of an Emergency Management Team, I am enjoying working with other campus leaders to better prepare the campus and our areas should a critical emergency occur. The servant-leader role is important to me and I have served in numerous other ways within University Student Housing, Texas Tech and within the Association of College and University Housing Officers – International.
Can you describe some of the things you've done at Texas Tech both professionally
I have dedicated my professional career to enriching on-campus living to be a more well-rounded experience for students and staff. I work closely with the staff who live and work in the residence halls Together, we strive to support our ever-changing students. While we are often limited to modernizing our more traditional buildings, we continually offer programmatic advances such as co-ed by floor and roommate's choice housing to be more inclusive of student needs.
I continue to explore ways to hone my skills and have a better understanding of my strengths and personal motivators. I utilize this knowledge each day when working with diverse groups of people and as a supervisor. I am an idea person, and I love learning new things. I am someone who likes to connect the dots, and I utilize these skills to find new and different ways of enhancing programs and services.
In Residence Life, we like to consider ourselves worker bees. We grow up in our profession with an extensive and varied skill set. We can respond to a wide variety of needs each day. I think some of my greatest contributions to Texas Tech have been through strategic initiatives such as COVID-19 response, committee work and offering growth and development to our future leaders. I enjoy my position and the work I do each day. I often say my job is to till the soil, plant the seeds and add a little fertilizer when necessary to start the growing process for countless numbers of students and staff. If we create conducive environments, students will have what they need to then produce and be successful.
Did you ever imagine being at Texas Tech this long?
I did not. I am from Amarillo and I did not want to go to college at Texas Tech, even though my parents wanted me to. Instead, I ended up betraying my country and going to school in Oklahoma. I spent six wonderful years at Oklahoma State University in Stillwater, while finishing my undergraduate and my first master's degrees. My senior year in college, I attended our regional housing conference to accept an award I had received from the region. There, I met the associate director for Texas Tech Housing and Dining (now known separately as University Student Housing and Hospitality Services). I was so impressed with their housing operation; I made the decision right then and there I was going to get my master's degree and work at Tech. I did just that. I applied for a hall director position at Texas Tech, interviewed, was offered the job the next morning, accepted on the spot and was in Lubbock a week later starting hall director training.
I never intended to stay in housing. The majority of my education is in interior design. However, as housing folks will often tell you, you don't pick the profession necessarily, it picks you. I left the field after my first position at Texas Tech and set out to be an interior designer. However, after being out of the field for almost a year, I knew housing and residence life was my life's calling. I tried to walk away, but I got pulled right back in. After working for four years at other universities, I made my way back to Texas Tech housing. Actually, I found my way back home. The awesome part is I truly enjoy my job, and it has afforded me the opportunity to feed my need for learning each and every day.
Any advice for someone who is just starting their career at Texas Tech?
You need to be open to giving Texas Tech a chance to show you what it has to offer. If you do, it can become a home you never knew you needed and your working family. I have watched so many folks come and go. Many have loved Texas Tech deeply, and others have found they needed different experiences. Regardless, I find if you enjoy the experiences you have and let each teach you something new, you will find Tech has so much to offer. There is a spirit and pride here I have not found at the other institutions, where I have worked. I try to encourage our staff to go out and get connected into the Lubbock community. Making different kinds of connections is what enriches our lives and helps us better understand and appreciate each other.
What kinds of changes have you seen during your time at Texas Tech?
Oh my, what a question. I have had the privilege of working with many different styles of leadership from colleagues, supervisors and administration at Texas Tech. Watching Texas Tech grow into a more well-rounded and prestigious university has been an amazing experience. We continue to grow into the university we want to be and solidify our niche in the Texas and national higher education arena. It has been an honor and pleasure to contribute each day and over the years to Texas Tech's growth and development.
When I look back, I have worked at Texas Tech for 10 different presidents and interims; five Texas Tech University System chancellors; watched Lauro Cavazos, president of Texas Tech, become the Secretary of Education under former Presidents Ronald Reagan and George H.W. Bush; the development of the Texas Tech System; five new residence halls; a major building boom for the campus; Texas Tech gain Carnegie Tier One classification; reach the 40,000 students by 2020 goal; extensive growth in the alumni center; growth and national successes for our athletic program; going to the National Championship for men's basketball (I missed the year our women won the National Championship); and so many other positive changes. We have also had our share of sorrows and setbacks, but over the years I think our advancements have far outweighed any adversity.
What have you enjoyed the most about being a Red Raider?
I often tell candidates for positions within our department that while I have worked at other universities, I have always found more opportunities at Texas Tech. The depth and breadth of learning experiences and the resources provided have given me the ability to travel, to present new initiatives we have developed, to provide leadership for various housing associations and help make a difference in the lives of students all over the world.
Do you have a favorite Texas Tech memory or tradition?
I think my graduation ceremony for my doctorate would be my favorite memory. I had wanted to attain this degree from childhood, and I was making great strides in seeing this dream become a reality. However, life decided to stomp on the breaks. In the spring of 2006, I was diagnosed with non-Hodgkin's lymphoma right after I had completed my proposal defense. I spent the fall of 2006 completing my chemotherapy, and then my radiation treatments by the first week of February 2007. Fortunately, I was able to go on and defend my dissertation the first week of April 2007. I walked in August 2007, and my family got to see me complete a lifelong dream.
There is nothing like a cancer diagnosis to really shake your reality about what is important in life. I decided regardless of the outcome, I was going to make this dream come true. I did so with the help of my family, friends, and faith. I have been one of the fortunate ones and have been cancer free since 2007.
What does being a Red Raider mean to you?
It means home and family. Texas Tech is my home and my work family. I spend more time with my work family than I do at home. It is much like living in an episode of "Cheers." It is a place you get to know many different people, and everyone knows your name. You get to work more closely with some than others, but we all have the same goal: to create an environment for our students where they can be successful. Sometimes we have worked for years together and some only a fleeting phone call or email, but we have many of the same goals. I believe the students, staff, faculty, and administration at Texas Tech are the best, and I love being a Red Raider.
What's your favorite residence hall and why?
I will always have a soft spot for Gates hall as that was my first Texas Tech home as a hall director. I lived and worked there and created many wonderful memories. I will say West Village also is a favorite because when I compare my college residence hall experience to the facilities of West Village, it cements that the housing profession has come a long, long way.
What are your plans for the future?
I plan to continue doing what I do every day for many years to come. I have never been bored in my job. The day I have checked off all the "to-dos" on my list is the day I will need to decide "what's next". I have not experienced that yet and knowing the ever-changing landscape of university housing work, I do not see that happening. There is always something that needs to be changed, fixed, created, taught or tweaked. I look forward to many more years of working in University Student Housing. After that, who knows?
I enjoy teaching and I am an artist. I do know when my university career is complete, I will have other opportunities to keep myself busy and fulfilled. My mom always jokes with me about writing a book about my experiences working on college campuses in housing. It might not be a best-seller, but it would make people laugh, that's for sure. It has been a wild ride, and the stories I could tell! Well...maybe those are best locked in the vault.
Is there anything else you'd like to say?
The thing I have learned about work, I don't always put it into practice, but I try every day: Work to live, not live to work. For many years, I was the epitome of a workaholic. Like I said earlier, a cancer diagnosis will snap you right back into the reality that you must live each day to the fullest and do the very best you can to be a good human being. If you mess up, you own it, apologize, and make the necessary course correction. If things go well, don't get cocky, but rather decide what your goal for tomorrow will be.
I am so very thankful to everyone who has contributed to the person and professional I am today. I have not achieved anything on my own. It has all been about teamwork and working together to make Texas Tech a better place to live and work.