Hillsdale College Chaplain Adam Rick moved to a new office space due to renovations in the Knorr Student Center and the need to be closer to students.
Rick’s office has been relocated to the former conference room behind AJ’s Cafe in the Grewcock Student Union after his previous office, located in Knorr across from the computer lab, was torn down this summer in the reconstruction of Phillips Auditorium.
When asked where his office was formerly, Father Adam Rick said “the fact that you’re asking is why I’m here.”
Rick described his job as encouraging and providing opportunities for spiritual life on campus. This includes keeping tabs on various faith groups and providing prayer, mentoring, and institutional support if necessary. He also speaks at any faith-based gatherings around campus, not only for Christian organizations.
“He is always trying to make people feel loved and safe,” said junior Katie Dimmer, a member of Catholic Society. “That might mean talking about classes or football and might not be about the Lord. That’s why so many people appreciate him — he respects everyone regardless of their denomination.”
He also councils students for anxiety, depression, and answers any spiritual questions they may have, which prompted the idea of bringing his office closer to the heart of student activity: the Grewcock Student Union.
“My ministry is student-facing, so it made sense to be here, where the students are,” Rick said.
With his office being as far from the union as it was, Rick would often go to AJ’s Cafe and “set up camp” for the day to meet with students, according to Rick. This poses a problem, as AJ’s is often busy and students can’t discuss matters privately.
Bishop Beckwith ’96, the former chaplain, also used Rick’s old office in Phillips.
“When I first started at Hillsdale, my office was very isolated, and now with the quad being ripped up, even fewer people are able to visit me,” Rick said.
Construction for Christ Chapel began in the spring of 2017, blocking a large portion of the quad. This summer, with the additional construction to Phillips Auditorium, Rick’s office became less and less accessible.
Consideration regarding the Chaplain’s relocation began toward the end of the fall 2017 semester. According to Rick, there was no obvious choice for where it should be. One space that was considered was the back of the new chapel. However, it wasn’t in the original blueprints and it would be a difficult spot to get to, as it would be far back at the end of the chapel, separate from where students typically spend their time.
The process began last semester with the goal of protecting student’s study areas. Rick had the idea of using the conference room last year and mentioned it to Ashlyn Landherr, director of Student Activities, who is in charge of reserving the room for different groups.
“We kept an eye on it, and it seemed it was used as almost the backup to the backup space,” Landherr said.
Spiritual groups are still able to use Rick’s office for meetings. However, if non-religious clubs want to schedule time in that space, they will be redirected to other available rooms.
Dimmer said she remembers the Catholic Society using his office several times last semester for events and daily prayer during Lent. She understands the change may affect how these events are run, but she is hopeful that it will be a positive adjustment.
“I think going forward we will just have to be better about communicating alternative spaces,” Dimmer said.
Dean Philipp gave the final stamp of approval this past spring but wanted to wait until construction began this summer. Everything was moved in by June.
“I’m here for you guys, so come find me,” Rick said. “Even if the door is closed, knock and say hello.”