A Return to Roots

Tom Costello teaches his COMS 1100 class
Tom Costello teaches his COMS 1100 class

Each day is the same for Communication Studies Professor Tom Costello. He wakes up, brews a cup of coffee, and enjoys taking in the scenes around campus. However, Tom doesn’t sit on his porch while enjoying his mornings, instead he, like many of Ohio University’s freshman and sophomores, Costello lives on campus.

A lawyer and Ohio University alum, Costello returned to campus when he was asked to be a Faculty in Residence. The Faculty in Residence program allows for professors to come to campus, teach, but also live in and assist with the Residence Halls,

“The faculty in residence has two responsibilities. First is to the staff, so there to interact with the staff, provide any guidance, advice, counseling, Costello said,“the second piece is interacting with residents, getting to know them, serving as a resource.”

Costello’s background in law has allowed him to host programs in the complex about how to avoid trouble with the law and how to stay out of jail. He has also hosted meals and programs, while also using his appointed budget to help residential assistants plan programs of their own. Costello also volunteers his time to assist in big weekends such as Halloween.

“I think It’s really helpful because they come from whatever background, that they have, especially like Tom, he was a lawyer for a while so having his insight on a couple topics and things like that., having him just share his experiences is really cool and he just helps a bunch” said sophomore RA Erin Walsh.

Costello was a resident of Detroit for over 20 years and this past summer, he sold his home for most of that time, fully committing to life in Athens.

“The first two years I still had a residence in Detroit so the summers we’d go back, this summer we sold the house so this is really home now”

Costello has one more year left on his contract and is excited to continue to experience on campus life, while being able to give life lessons outside of the classroom,

“It’s teaching outside the classroom in a way that, if you are doing it correctly, students are learning without knowing they are learning so by giving examples, counseling, advice and the like, as opposed to standing in front of a classroom and lecturing on a topic,” Costello said.

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