Gables Community Launches ‘Leave Your Mark’ Tradition


Aimee Rothman, Staff Writer

DURHAM, NH-  For many students, living on a college campus can mean becoming part of a community and having access to unique resources or programs. Housing staff can play a role in this community by providing ways for residents to interact and engage with each other. At the University of New Hampshire (UNH), one on-campus apartment complex is introducing a new program to not only increase student engagement among residents of the building, but to also allow them to leave their impact on the community. The Gables Apartment complex is introducing the ‘Leave Your Mark’ program this spring, which will grant participating residents the chance to have both their name and Gables apartment number engraved on a new brick in the courtyard. 

Greg Goulski, manager of the Gables, has been working on this idea since 2020. However, with the COVID-19 pandemic, his plans to initiate this program were a bit delayed. Nearly three school years later, Greg teamed up with Liz Hogan, who is also an apartment manager at the Gables to get the program officially started.

“It was a program that…we were planning on rolling out the spring of 2020,” said Goulski. “But we all know that things didn’t go to plan that spring so it’s been on hold since then, and we’re all really excited to be able to actually implement it.” 

Despite the delay, Goulski and Hogan are looking forward to an increase of student engagement in the complex, and to finally see this idea come to life. 

In order to receive a brick, students must participate in six gables programs hosted by community advisors, attend one community service project at the Gables, as well as one Gables council meeting. The ‘Leave Your Mark’ program aims at adding incentive for residents to participate in these programs. 

“It’s a way for us to reward students for doing the things we think they should be doing already,” Goulski said. 

On March 9, the Gables hosted their first community service project for the ‘Leave Your Mark’ program. “We’re kicking off a pre-spring break food drive supporting some of our local food pantries and services in the community, such as the Cats’ Cupboard or the Waysmeet Center,” Goulski said. 

The Gables managers are also planning an additional community service project later this semester, in which students can help repaint the Gables sign and plant new flowers around it. The hope is that this project will, “beautify the already amazing complex we live in,” Goulski commented.  

Both Goulski and Hogan hope that students who participate in these projects can feel more connected to the Gables community by taking action to make the apartment a better place. They said the overall focus of this program is to build a sense of community among Gables residents and to create pride in being part of that community. 

“These bricks will really help us get student buy-in to be a part of this community and to be excited about coming to programming opportunities, to meet with Greg and I and spend time with us, not just because they have to meet with us to talk about an incident or situation but because we’re great people who really want to build that sense of community,” Hogan said. 

So far, about 20 to 25 students have begun their journey to receiving a brick, by engaging in the Gables programs offered. These students will act as a trial run to test whether or not this program can be continued into the future. 

“I think this could be a legacy project, for sure. Right now, it’s a project that could easily become a year-round program, with some adjustments being made,” Goulski said.

“With the amount of support that students have already shown and the number of students that are excited about it, I think it would be a no-brainer to continue to do it in the future,” he continued. 

Creative thinking is an essential skill of the on-campus apartment managers’ job, when it comes to planning these new initiatives. Hogan explained that the community in the Gables is unique from other residence halls at UNH, which is why both Goulski and herself had to think creatively when considering new ideas to increase engagement. 

“You have to consider the student population that lives at The Gables. It’s not a traditional residence hall,” Hogan said. 

“They’re not propping their doors open to talk to folks in the hall like you would in Stoke or Christensen and Williamson Halls, and because of that, we have to be so much more intentional in the work that we do,” Hogan continued.

Both Goulski and Hogan see this project as something that will better the Gables community, while giving alumni a special reason to want to come back and visit the place they once called home, to find their brick in the courtyard. 

“Overall, it will be an improvement to the complex because bricks have to get replaced anyways, so why not replace it with something that’s cool and inventive and is something that alumni can come back to see in 20 something years,” Hogan said.

“What a better way to get folks excited to be a part of this community, than by concretely being a part of it and making an impact,” Hogan ended.