All About Hospitality
Spotlight on Sue Postle, House Mom of Benzing Residence Hall
Written by Anne Hotz
As soon as I walk in the door, I am struck by Sue Postle’s love for Benzing. She’s bubbly and incredibly warm, and she can’t stop talking about how much the dorm’s residents mean to her. Sue is a relatively recent addition to campus—this is her fourth year as house director of Benzing Dorm—but she says that working with and living alongside the sophomore, junior, and senior ladies of Benzing is “a natural fit.”
“I have a genuine love for them,” she says. “I was very different back in the day, and God has done amazing work in my life. I went down some hard paths as a young adult, and so I really care about young ladies. I don’t see them just as students but as people.”
I am especially impressed when Sue tells me that she not only eats most of her meals with residents of Benzing, but she makes herself available to other students as well, whether they be previous Benzing residents or students who just need someone to talk with and a shoulder to cry on.
Her goal for Benzing is, “to make this a home, a place where girls can be not only physically safe but be themselves, whether they’re having a hard day or a great day. I want these girls to have a support system.”
Sue notices that students are often overwhelmed by the high demands of their studies, and she worries that they try too hard to be perfect.
“I want people to live here and be real,” she says. “It’s okay that you’re not perfect. I want to emphasize to these girls that college is more than just your education. Living together is part of your education—you learn how to gain wisdom.”
For Sue, an important aspect of learning how to live together comes from the RA team. I notice that she never says “I” in reference to the dorm; it’s always “we.” Each year the RA team makes a mission statement, which always focuses on “noticing people and drawing people in.”
“I really see them growing up in their roles and in their love for others,” she says. For example, each RA sets a goal to have a coffee date with one girl she doesn’t know by fall break. They have fun desk-sitting events, and they choose to lead a Bible study for the dorm.
With the RA team’s help, Sue is able to minister to the ladies of Benzing. For her, it’s all about the big picture. She says, “If you set the tone, they get the heart.” In Benzing, this means demonstrating exceptional hospitality by holding food-, activity-, and décor-filled events. The food is always, always made from scratch, whether it’s pancakes for a dorm breakfast or soup for Souper Sunday. By starting to cook the day before the event, Sue and the RA team spread the word for the upcoming event and engages young ladies who miss cooking at home.
She’s also a big believer in having activities like painting mini pumpkins and dyeing Easter eggs, because it allows the dorm residents to demonstrate their skills.
“I like to highlight people and their gifts,” Sue says.
At the beginning of each school year, she turns the mandatory dorm meeting into a birthday extravaganza in order to celebrate everyone’s birthdays at once. Little touches like decorating with fresh flowers make the residents feel at home.
At the core of Sue’s love for the ladies of Benzing is her faith.
“I get paid to love people, pray with people,” she says. “If you love people, they will come to you and open up about their struggles. You don’t have to know everything. You’ve got to be available to listen. I want them to know that they’re not alone. I will pray anywhere, anytime. I feel called to do this. If the world feels like it’s shaking, I want this to be a safe place to come. I’m watching young women grow up and think about others and impact others. You watch people begin to bloom. That sounds very cheesy, but it’s actually true. I love my job, can you tell?”
Anne Hotz, ‘18, is an English major and Classical Education minor from Lincoln, Nebraska. She is passionate about C.S. Lewis, musicals, British novels, sweaters, and hedgehogs.