Bulletin September 2006
Volume 74 | Issue 5
September 2006

Andrea Constantino, Director of Student Life

Q. What do your job responsibilities entail?

A. I am responsible for the administration, supervision, and management of Student Life at the University at Buffalo. Student Life includes the Intercultural and Diversity Center, Leadership Development Center, Greek Affairs, Student Activities, Student Union, Harriman Student Center, and Athletic Bands. I would like to believe that it is my job to assist in creating and initiating the mission, vision, goals, and objectives in each of these areas. More importantly, however, it is my responsibility to encourage, support, and enable my staff to accomplish their goals.

Q. What would your staff, colleagues, or students say about you?

A. This is a really tough question, so I cheated a bit and asked my staff and colleagues what they would say about me. They said I am caring, supportive, decisive, reserved but cheerful, and firm but fair. They also agreed that I am realistic and grounded and strive to achieve the best in everything I do. Lastly, although no one admitted it in writing, they would say I am very hard to read at times.

Q. What’s one innovation or project that you’re proud to have helped implement?

A. Last fall, to meet the needs of our diverse student population, we created an Intercultural and Diversity Center in the Student Union. The idea was a product of our summer Student Life leadership planning meetings. We spent countless hours discussing how we can better serve the campus and our students. There was no argument that we were behind the times in diversity education and needed to act. My staff spent the summer researching trends in diversity education and visiting other campus cultural centers. They came back with a plan, and we initiated the project both quickly and quietly.

 We transformed an old commuter lounge into a home base for our diversity programming initiatives. The design of the space is cozy, intimate, and “organic” not “modern” or “institutional.” We get the “wow” face when new students stop in. In addition, we have increased our programming by 100 percent and provide quality resources to our students and staff.
 The center has given us much greater visibility and has allowed us to affect our students and staff in a positive way. We will celebrate our first anniversary in October.

Q. What’s the biggest lesson you’ve learned while working in the profession?

A. As in any profession, I’ve learned that it is important work hard, work smart, and always be willing to learn something new.

Q. What is one phrase to live by or bit of advice you might have for future generations of union professionals?

A. When making a decision, always try to do the right thing for the right reason. Every situation has many sides; be open-minded and consider each side carefully before making a decision.
Q. Is there anything else you would like ACUI members to know about you?

A. It took me several years into my career to understand that not everyone can do what it is that we do. It takes special people to plant the seeds and wait for the flowers to grow. I truly value and admire my colleagues and friends in the profession and thank my mentors who have helped me to succeed.