Resident assistants help keep students involved and connected

Nov 16, 2017
2017-2018 resident assistants

Being a resident assistant on a college campus is a job that requires more than just living in the dorms and keeping students in line. Along with other things, resident assistants (RAs) are required to host events for the students in their assigned residence hall to make sure they are staying involved and connected.

Scott Mudloff, director of residence life, said, “Programming is important because it helps with the education of our residents outside the classroom. As part of the Student Life Office, it’s our goal to develop the entire individual – the mind, body and spirit. Through class work, our students are expanding their minds, but outside the classroom is where we try to take over educating students.”

scott mudloff
Director of Residence Life Scott Mudloff

RAs are required to put on at least two programs each month. One program must be educational while the other is more of a social event for students. The RAs have brought in different resources from around campus for their educational programs this year. Director of Career Services Melody Head spoke with students about resumes and budgeting while Morgan Calvert, director of student activities, spoke to residents about getting involved on campus. The goal for these programs is not only to improve the college experience but partially to prepare students for life after college.

Social events this year have ranged from corn hole tournaments to movie nights and everything in between. Social events are a great time for students to have some fun, relax and hang out with their neighbors. Mudloff said that in addition to fun social events, there have been multiple alcohol awareness programs to teach students how important their choices concerning alcohol are.

Resident assistant Gabriella Rizzi

RAs are given a budget of $20 for their programs, guidelines to follow and the freedom to be as creative as they want in the planning process.

According to Gabriella Rizzi, an RA in Carrocci Hall, “The main goal (of programs) is to enrich the lives of residents and build the community.” She even gave away her secret, saying, “incorporating food, fun and fellowship is the formula for a successful event.”

Creating a community within the residence hall provides the feel of a home away from home for the students. Rizzi hopes her community is “a place where people are known and loved. A place where people discover their gifts and become a part of the tapestry of other people’s lives.”

Recently, one of her residents had a birthday and another resident baked her two cakes and held a party for her. Rizzi said, “It’s so special to watch residents honor each other.”

A program held in Carrocci Hall this semester was called “Battle of the Sexes,” a Jeopardy-style game where the men competed against the women. Rizzi said, “Before the Battle of the Sexes event, the participants did not know each other well. Now they are great friends studying and hanging out together frequently.”

One of Rizzi’s more popular programs was “Brick Door Decorating Night.” A total of 48 students attended this program to decorate bricks to be used as doorstops. This event was held for all Carrocci Hall residents; some events are floor specific.

As for educational programs, “Reality to Success” was a winner for students. Head from Career Services facilitated a game based on a test that helps determine a fitting major for students.

During the game, students chose a career and an associated salary. They then moved from station to station rolling the dice and making life decisions as well as budgeting. At each station, students would make decisions about life events such as purchasing a car, having children, buying groceries and more. The goal of the game was to make it out in the green and those who did were rewarded with a Snickers bar.

Carrocci Hall resident Zachary Myers said, “I think the programs that the RAs have put on have given me an opportunity to get involved with the Newman community. They are sometimes fun and some are educational, so they are a good mix.”

Rizzi said fun things are always happening in her hall, whether it’s a planned event or not. A donated ping pong table on the first floor of Carrocci Hall has provided endless entertainment. Rizzi said playing ping pong is now a “respected sport in Carrocci Hall.”

Living in the residence halls is one of the biggest changes for students moving from home to attend college. RAs are there to make sure the time spent in the halls is safe, enjoyable and a time that students will never forget. “We want to facilitate a fun college experience and facilitate valuable life lessons to prepare for a successful future,” said Rizzi.

Mudloff added, “These programs are an important part of students and their development and something I’m trying to get our RAs to take pride in and make great events. So far, they haven’t let me down. I’ve been really impressed with some of the programs that have been put on this year and the topics our RAs have covered.”