Arts & Cultures Writer
Life as a Residents Assistant is a busy one. Besides everyday classes and homework, RAs have a duty to manage the lobby and halls each night while enforcing university policies.
Along with that, Ross Young, an RA at Bard Hall, explained that they “provide a welcoming and enjoyable environment through community renewal decorations.”
However, one of the most important aspects to an RA’s job is fulfilling, as Estelle Reidler, RA in Diehm Hall, puts it, “a plethora of different programs that touch on things like cultural diversity and service to others [so that more] residents can get a taste of the world so to speak.”
These programs are a major part of a resident’s experience at Millersville, which is why it is essential to have a wide variety of events. Every RA is different; each has a unique personality that shows through the programs they create.
As a first year RA, Young has established many events for his residents that revolve around competitive activities, such as a scavenger hunt, a glow in the dark capture the flag game, and a ping-pong tournament. He tries to make these programs fun by providing either food or prizes, such as at the ping-pong tournament he had the first week in October. This event revolved around residents participating in a bracket style tournament with single elimination.
Many residents came to this event not only because they enjoy ping-pong, but because Young promoted the event with a prize for the first and second place winners. Anthony Jadus, a freshman resident of Bard Hall, thought the idea of winning something was a great addition to the program, saying that, “the hope of winning a prize drove me to come.”
Two RAs of Gilbert Hall, Cody McLaughlin and Jake Manning, also provide an array of programs for their residents including spice night, tea socials, laser tag, and a milk and cookie bar. Sometimes they even host events together, such as the Fall Fest Olympiad.
This event provides residents with the opportunity to participate in small competitions, such as a ring toss contest and a donut eating contest.
Although the RAs hope for a nice turnout for all of their events, there are times when few residents participate.
However, as Manning states, “the spirit of programming is not in the numbers but lies in the bonding of the program.” As long as RAs establish a connection with their residents and put forth a good attitude, events can still be a success.
Programs can be a lot of fun, but according to Reidler, they can also “offer a value to the residents.” Many programs that she has created allow students to learn or become aware of issues, such as condom bingo for sexual health awareness month. Other programs Reidler has offered focus on helping others, such as participating in a bake sale to help raise money for the Leukemia & Lymphoma Society, as well as participating in a soccer tournament for cancer research.
Each residence hall offers programs for students no matter if they’re underclassmen or upperclassmen. These events help to shape residents through their four years at Millersville, which is why they are important for all students, not just freshmen.
Reidler agrees, saying, “Programs should be implemented in the upperclassmen residence halls, the biggest reason being that there are so many different facets that these programs offer that it is important to keep the students involved.”
Not only are programs a great influence, but they also bring residents together in a different light. John Miller, a resident of Bard Hall, agrees, claiming that, “It gives a chance for you to meet people and make new friends.”
Being an RA is a job; however, making a connection with residents and creating relationships through programs can build an enjoyable environment. Therefore, the decision to become an RA is easier for some than others. McLaughlin is one RA who knew he wanted to apply for the job, saying, “I was inspired by my RA my freshman year because of the community he created. I wanted to replicate that feeling for future residents.”
The RA position is an important one because you are taking on a position of leadership. Each resident is affected by their RA in some way. Programs play a big role in building a community among the residents, which is why each RA does his or her best to develop enjoyable activities that will encourage students to become a part of their residence halls.