If someone saw Holly Fosher, the new hall director of Handler Hall for the school year, they may think she’s a student; she’s a little over 5 feet and just a few years out of college herself. But underneath her humble, small self, there lies a powerful leader who holds great potential to evoke change not just to Handler Hall, but to the whole campus.
Fosher is an alumna of UNH, and as a new UNH employee, a lot of students aren’t sure what to expect from her, especially the residents under her discretion at Handler Hall.
As an undergraduate student, Fosher was undeclared for the first two years. Once she reached her junior year, she declared a major of recreation management policy program & event management (RMPPEP), and became an RA. That year, everything changed for her. She says the RA position is what made her want to do what she does today.
“I loved my experience so much that I wanted to work here,” Fosher gushed.
She loved UNH so much, she even got Thompson Hall tattooed on her arm.
To her peers, Fosher made a difference as a student, but now that she’s an employee in the residential community, she has the means to make an even bigger difference.
Fosher’s personality had an impact on Olivia Keefe, her co-RA during Fosher’s junior year of her undergraduate degree.
“The first day I met her, she came running up to my [dorm] room to [vent] about her tooth problems,” Keefe said, who has many anecdotes about her and Fosher’s interactions through the years; from the first day they met, to a day at the dining hall when Fosher put a cannoli on every one of her fingers.
“She has no embarrassment at all,” Keefe said. “[and she has] no self-control in the best way possible.”
Although Keefe has seen a lot more of the humorous side of Fosher, she is confident in Fosher’s skill and professionalism in being a hall director.
“She gives off a positive and supporting energy [and] has a professional side,” Keefe said. When asked if Fosher had any weaknesses, all Keefe could say was that Fosher put people before herself too much.
After graduating from UNH, Fosher decided to explore other areas of the country. She did an internship in Ohio for leadership development before she took on her first full-time job as an area coordinator at Eastern Oregon University (EOU).
As an area coordinator at EOU, Fosher had basically the same responsibilities as a hall director at UNH, just on a different scale.
Fosher described EOU as being a very rural school with a lot less students than UNH. She was an area coordinator rather than a hall director because the dorms were small enough for one person to be in charge of multiple, instead of just one.
“The people that shaped me the most were my hall directors,” Fosher said.
In addition to connections made with her RA’s, Fosher made memorable impressions on her more direct coworkers, like Edna Murietta, a fellow area coordinator at EOU.
Edna had the opportunity to experience Fosher as a professional and as a friend.
“She has an infectious personality,” Murietta said. “[and] she has a very unique, genuine, and adventurous soul.”
When Murietta spoke about Fosher as her friend, she referenced Fosher’s people skills the most.
“If she doesn’t like something you like, she’ll try to connect with you,” Murietta said. She recalled when she first told Fosher her hobbies and interests, which included crafting. Fosher wasn’t a crafter herself, but she said she’d try it because it was a way she could relate to Murietta.
“She just always wants to take care of you,” Murietta added. “[She] had a fire in her soul that wants to do the best for the institution and the students” and she “fueled change.”
What’s more, the values Fosher learned being in a different culture give her an edge as a hall director at UNH. “It was such a good experience for me… it gave me a fresh perspective,” Fosher said. “I [was able] to bring in other things I hadn’t quite learned here, [like] appreciation. I really want my staff and students to feel appreciated. ”
Upon Fosher’s return to UNH, Anna Jantz, current hall director of Stoke Hall and previous hall director of Handler Hall, assisted in the hiring process Fosher went through.
Jantz is someone who doesn’t know Fosher as a friend, but she still saw a lot of valuable traits in her in the short time she had to get to know her.
“I was surprised at how warm, friendly, and comforting she was,” Jantz says.
From a hiring stand point, Jantz saw a lot of great qualities of a hall director, like “flexibility, [knowing] the university well, [having] a fun sense of humor, and [being] relatable to both students and coworkers.”
Jantz left Handler Hall just last year, so she still has connections with most of the residents. Selecting the hall director for this year was important, especially to Jantz.
“She’s taking great care of Handler,” Jantz said. “It’s in good hands.”