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Saturday December 16th 2017

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RAs and HAs: Building community one floor at a time

smileyBy Jaclyn Arens–College is a whole new world for incoming students. Most of them have never shared a room before, let alone lived in a building with hundreds of their peers. Building community on a hall and in a building is essential for college students because the dorms are their homes.

Resident Assistants (RAs) and Head Residents (HRs) create functions for students. A function can be any kind of get together that brings students together and forces them to interact. Programs help freshman battle homesickness, make friends, and assimilate into the college culture.

RAs and HRs develop and implement floor programs as well as provide emotional and physical support to students. The goal of programing is to help students feel at home and make friends. Sophomore RA Niccole Wolken explains, “They help people interact with other people better.”

Emily Houlsworth is a Morningside freshman who lives in Dimmitt. She likes bonding programs because they help her create relationships with the people on her floor and in her building. She said, “They have helped me branch out to other people because everyone’s kind of in the same boat because we’re all in the same place, and everyone is vulnerable and wants to make friends.”

Her favorite kinds of programs are building-wide ones because she gets to meet the rest of the people who live in her building.

In every residence hall there is at least one RA per floor (two on freshman floors), and at least one HR. HRs monitor the RAs in their building to make sure they are completing their job duties, and they are also the head authority for incidents.

Dimmitt has two HRs because it is such a big building, housing about 300 students every semester. The current HRs are Josh Doering and Sarah Yankowski, both seniors.

HRs do not have a hall that they program for, but they do put on programs for the entire building they oversee. Doering states, “Programming inspires bonding through residents whether it’s the fun moments or the awkward, silly programs. It gives them something to talk about on the hall.”

His favorite program has been a hall flag football team. He elaborates, “Every week we would go together and battle on the field. Create the bonds of brotherhood through blood sweat and tears.” This was his favorite program because the guys were forced to get out of their rooms and interact with each other, which created paths for some friendship opportunities.

Yankowski also thinks programing is important because “it assimilates (freshman) into a home environment which makes them connect right away and have a structured environment.”

Her favorite program was a diversity program where she brought a big piece of paper and had all her residents stamp their hand in different colors and write things about themselves that they loved.