New resident director’s journey to Francis Hall

MAGGIE MCKENNA
STAFF WRITER

Photo by James Kuepper

Photo by James Kuepper

If you have been around Saint Francis Hall this semester, you might have noticed a new face in the resident director’s office. His name: Nick Belt. His mission: helping others grow in virtue.

Nick hails from the town of Riverside, Rhode Island. The second youngest of six, he received a bachelor’s degree in economics from the University of Rhode Island and is currently working towards a master’s degree in theology at Franciscan University. It was a winding road that brought him here.

In 2013, Belt was working for Apple at its headquarters in Boston, Massachusetts. “People think they’re a computer company, but they’re a people company,” he explained.

Belt began in sales and, by the end of his three years with the company, ended up in training and facilitating. He gained many people skills while helping empower people to understand and use technology.

During the year of 2013, Belt’s sister, a 2011 graduate of Franciscan, surprised him with a plane ticket to Steubenville for a conference. Feeling lukewarm about his faith, Nick was hesitant, but he went.

After the conference, Belt was refreshed in his faith. He returned to Apple, but was no longer content. He eventually decided that he wanted to leave the company to pursue a master’s degree in theology.

Remembering his powerful experience at the Steubenville conference, Belt decided to give the Franciscan graduate program a look. He applied and the following Thursday received a call from the Office of Admissions inviting him to the program. The invitation came just in time, as classes started that Monday.

During his first semester, which he said was full of blessings, Belt caught wind of the Austrian Program. Prior to 2016, only undergraduates could participate, but the University was running a pilot graduate study abroad program beginning in the spring of 2016.

In the spring semester of 2016, Nick got to experience the joy and beauty of the Gaming campus and community while working toward his degree. But his adventures didn’t end when classes did; he went on to hike el Camino de Santiago, the Way of Saint James, a traditional pilgrimage across Spain and other parts of Europe.

When he finally made his way back stateside, Belt found that Franciscan had been trying desperately to get ahold of him. He returned the calls and was asked if he wanted to interview for the resident director position of a men’s dormitory. Skeptical yet trusting in God, Belt went in for the interview and accepted the position, placing it in God’s hands.

Belt went from working a structured job that was all about simplicity and organization to being in charge of 134 male college students. It has been quite the change, but a beautiful one, Belt said. As Belt sees it, the job stretches him by entrusting these souls to him. “It is my job to help (these men) grow in virtue,” he said, “and I am able to connect with them in a way no one else can.”

Belt is doing just that: helping the young men of Franciscan grow in faith and virtue. Ask his residents, ask his resident assistants, ask anyone who knows him: Belt cares deeply for his brothers and sisters in Christ and makes himself available to them. Those qualities, along with his more-than-approachable personality and positive outlook, make him an absolute joy to be near. The young men of St. Francis Hall are blessed to have him.

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