Lauren Teso-Warner

Senior Associate Director of Residential Life, Housing and Residential Services

Lauren Teso-Warner

What year did you start working at NIU?

Where is your hometown? and where do you live now?
My hometown is Hobart, Indiana, and I live in Rockford, Illinois.

In what department do you work?
Housing and Residential Services

What is your job title?
Senior Associate Director of Residential Life

Where did you attend school? What degree(s) did you earn?
Indiana State University, B.S. English
Indiana State University, M.S. student affairs and higher education
Northern Illinois University, Ed.D. higher education administration (in progress)

Describe your typical day—what do you do while at work?
Much of my time is spent in meetings and working on initiatives to make sure Housing and Residential Services is providing inclusive and safe communities for our residential students who live on campus. I work alongside an amazing team of full-time graduate assistants and student staff members who provide engagement opportunities and program development through the lens of creating a diverse and educational experience for our students. 

What do you like about working at NIU?
I love our student population! The diversity of students really brings a unique community together and showcases the commitment to providing access opportunities for all students to attend college. 

What advice would you give to students currently attending NIU?
Utilize resources and become involved. I attended college on a scholarship provided to low SES students, and it was very easy to become lost as I was trying to navigate going to college. I quickly found my footing by securing on-campus employment and becoming involved in a sorority and Union Board, a programming entity much like CAB. It truly made all of the difference in my college career. I am thankful for having a strong mentor and advisor through Union Board who helped me navigate resources and supported me as I discovered I wanted to pursue a career in the field of student affairs. 

What is your favorite campus event?
My favorite event is move-in for the residence halls. It is such an exciting and unique time as we welcome new and returning students to campus. It is truly a collaborative experience, and I am thankful for how the NIU community comes together to support students moving into the residence halls by volunteering their time. 

In what ways do you see your colleagues help foster student success?
I am in a unique role where I see my colleagues spending their time after business hours, on weekends and during breaks to support our students. I truly consider myself lucky to be part of a community that values the student experience and puts students at the core of our work. 

What is your favorite memory of NIU?
My favorite memory is when our football team attended the Orange Bowl. To see the NIU community come together to support our student-athletes and offer the ability for our students to attend the game over the break period really provided a sense of pride, community and tradition. 

What did you want to be when you were growing up? Are you currently doing it? If not, what changed your path?
I actually wanted to be a lawyer when I first went to college but shifted focus my junior year. What really changed for me was knowing the great people who had such an impact on my college experience and wanting to give back to students in the same way. 

Are you a member of or hold a position within a professional organization? If so, what organization? What is the purpose of that organization and how does being part of this organization benefit you in your role at NIU?
I currently serve as the Illinois delegate for the Great Lakes Association of College and University Housing Officers (GLACUHO). Within this role, I serve on the board for GLACUHO, which is comprised of professionals from Illinois, Indiana, Michigan and Ohio. I represent the state in decisions made on the board and keep housing officers in the state of Illinois informed on professional development opportunities within the state. 

What do you do to relax or recharge?
I love spending time with my family, working out and reading. 

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