The Man Behind On-Campus Living at DC/OnTechU

Chris Haze, Director of Residence Operations stand in his off beside a trophy and a Superhero drawing from his daughter for his birthday two weeks ago. Photo credit: Tracey Bowers-Lee

The pleasures a man gets from his family life can certainly carry over to his job, especially when the job is the director of Campus Living Centres for Durham College (DC) and Ontario Tech University (OnTechU).

Chris Haze attended a DC job fair in 1999 and applied for a position at Simcoe Village Residence as the front desk clerk but filled the position at Seneca College. For a short time, he worked there as a clerk but was eventually transferred back to his hometown of Oshawa as the Residence Life Coordinator at DC. He then moved on to General Manager and is now Director of Operations.

For more than two decades, Haze has been helping students make the transition into post-secondary school easier.

“I’m a people person, I know it’s cliché, but I get my energy from working with people,” he says.

At home, Haze is a husband of 12 years to Sarah. They have two children, Ella, 8 and Nolan, 6.

“The nicest thing anyone’s ever said about me is on my 15-year anniversary with (DC), they said, ‘Chris Haze is a family man’ and that meant the world to me,” says Haze.

He takes pride in his work but says being a father is most important to him.

“I take being a father extremely seriously. It’s actually nice because I can apply a lot of the lessons in my life with my kids to the job,” he says. “I think it makes me a better father taking things in stride, creating a relationship where there is a closeness as well as honesty.”

He wants to be the person his kids and his students come to with their problems. He wants them to know they can tell him anything and he will be there to help deal with whatever they face.

“Sometimes I’m in awe of the way he connects with the kids,” says Sarah, his wife. “He’s always about giving them independence, empowering them, pushing them to explore and be creative in any way they want.”

Sarah Haze met her husband at Seneca College, where Chris first worked.

“I didn’t think it was a good idea to date someone from work but also didn’t think anything would come from it, but the more we got to know each other the more I realized how much we had in common,” she says. “From day one it was so crazy how easy it was, the further along things went we realized just how many similar… that is was just like okay this is weird.”

“He’d give you the shirt on his back, he’s always willing to support and help and knows just what to say,” she says. “He’s the most kind and generous man I know.”

At work, Haze oversees every aspect of on-campus living and his philosophy comes from a family trip to Disneyland. Sarah says when he got home, he found out everything he could about Walt Disney and started adapting his philosophies.

“You’d swear he has shares in Disney,” says Marc Athanas, Residence Life Manager.

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Marc Athanas, Residence Life Manager outside South Village Oshawa. Photo credit: Tracey Bowers-Lee

Haze says he wants his staff to go over and beyond as much as Disney in order to make students feel accommodated.

Athanas says though DC/OnTechU doesn’t have Disney’s resources, the amusement parks, the characters or the lavish niceties, students do enjoy the on-campus life experience and he credits Haze for seeing the parallels in his work and Disney’s.

The pleasures a man gets from his family life can certainly carry over to his job.