Brother, sister making an impact on residence life at UNCP

Maddie Schwenneker, left, with her brother Mason Schwenneker
Maddie Schwenneker, left, with her brother Mason Schwenneker

Maddie and Mason Schwenneker are getting the rare opportunity of experiencing college life at UNC Pembroke together.

The Holly Springs siblings have immersed themselves in campus life, and they both go above and beyond as resident advisors (RA) to ensure housing residents, likewise, embrace the campus living experience.

This week, their efforts were recognized when the pair was presented with the RA of the Year and New RA of the Year awards at the Housing & Residence Life’s end-of-the-year banquet.

“I was in utter shock when they called my name,” said Mason, a freshman and Cypress Hall RA. “I was not expecting it at all, but it feels good to be recognized for the things I do. I put in a lot of effort to make Cypress Hall feel like home. It’s nice to know my actions are not going unseen.”

Maddie Schwenneker successfully motivated Oak Hall residents to attend campus activities throughout the year.

“We were able to get our residents involved in every event we could,” said Maddie, a sophomore and member of the Maynor Honors College.

“We had a large number show up for the homecoming parade. Our residents faced many challenges this year, but we made sure they didn’t have to face those challenges alone.”

The Schwennekers agree that a large part of the RA’s job is to make residents feel welcome and to provide a home away from home. As future educators, they both share a love for teaching. They are known for their big personalities––a trait inherited by their father, Don “Big Weather” Schwenneker, the chief meteorologist for ABC11 Raleigh.

The Schwennekers aren’t the first siblings to work as resident advisors, but they are the first to be chosen for the highest awards the same year, according to Cynthia Redfearn, associate director for Residence Life. 

“As a UNCP alumna and former resident advisor, I know first-hand the role RAs play in the development of students, especially first-year students. Madison and Mason are dynamic young leaders who consistently operate with a spirit of excellence. They help make our residential communities a place where students feel supported, safe and valued.”