This semester, the Eugene Constantin Rome Campus welcomes two new resident coordinators.
Sam and Hailey Skinner, alumni of UD, moved to Due Santi after graduating in May of 2021 and 2022 respectively. As an undergraduate, Sam Skinner studied English, although he admits an affection for classical studies as well, and Hailey Skinner studied theology.
Hailey Skinner participated in the Rome Program in the spring of 2020. The pandemic broke out in the midst of her studies there. “[M]y semester was cut short because of COVID,” she said. “I’m proud to say that I’m part of the royal class.”
Sam Skinner went to Rome in the fall of 2018 as a member of the “unquenchable” class.
Although both Sam and Hailey Skinner were interested in the RC position even before they started dating, the process of becoming resident coordinators began during Hailey Skinner’s senior year.
“It was my senior year of college; Sam graduated a year before and was working in finance for Fidelity Investments for the year that we were engaged. And so we were getting married in June … and planning to live in Irving.”
Although they had been searching for a house or an apartment in Irving, when not just one, but two RC positions opened up, Sam and Hailey Skinner decided to apply.
“We found out that the position was available and we applied, and we were accepted. Our plans changed a million times,” Hailey Skinner said.
As resident coordinators, Sam and Hailey Skinner are responsible for planning all sorts of events.
“Our job changes every single day, because preparation for a long weekend is different from preparation for a class trip, which is different from our excursions into the city as a class,” Sam Skinner said.
Sam and Hailey Skinner also help coordinate all of the various outings during the Rome semester.
“We plan the campus student life activities, but then also the trips. We plan the itineraries, lots of computer work, organizing the trips, buses, roll call sheets, but then also planning the Greece trip.”
Hailey Skinner noted that they also plan many of the day to day activities on campus.
“We do a lot of event planning for any kind of campus event: meals, ping pong tournaments, karaoke nights, just planning campus events just like OSA does in Irving,” she said.
The two also tend to many of the duties that resident assistants are responsible for on the Irving campus.
“We also work the Cap Bar, open the trash bins, and then, kind of like your Irving RAs, we handle doing rounds in the evenings and any issues or needs that the students have,” Hailey Skinner said.
Outside of their lives on campus, Sam and Hailey Skinner enjoy the architecture of Rome, particularly churches. Of all the churches she has seen in Rome, Hailey Skinner’s favorite is Saint John Lateran. “I really love St. John Lateran with all the apostles’ statues,” she said.
Having recently gone to Mass there, Hailey Skinner shared a story. “I pointed to the statue and I thought it was St. Sebastian, but it was not, and so we go into Mass, and it’s the feast day of St. Bartholomew,” she said.
While there, Hailey Skinner had mistaken the statue of St. Bartholomew for St. Sebastian, realizing her mistake after reading the plaque bearing his name.
“I, in Mass, was thinking okay, St. Bartholomew was teaching me a lesson, don’t forget who I am, it’s my feast day. This is me, not Sebastian,” she said.
Sam Skinner also shared his favorite church in Rome. “I think that my favorite might be Sant’Ivo Alla Sapienza. I’ve only been once but it’s a Borromini church over by the Piazza Navona, and it’s really beautiful and it’s very unlike any other church, very geometric, very beautiful,” he said.
Sam Skinner finds the atmosphere of the church uplifting. He said, “It orients you upwards, it’s pretty unique, so I’d say that’s probably my favorite, but I mean, it’s hard to pick.”
Both Sam and Hailey Skinner shared some advice for both the current class in Rome and the incoming class in the spring.
“Keep an open mind. Start practicing now: self denial, patience, and humility, because those are some things that will be necessary and demanded of you and your semester,” Hailey Skinner said.
Sam Skinner added a note on managing expectations for the semester abroad.
“Abandon all of your preconceptions about what this semester is going to be like because it’s going to be totally different, way harder than you could have ever imagined, and way more beautiful,” he said.