Halls to have programs with ‘purpose’

Noelle Pennyman

No more pizza parties for the sake of free food.

Students can now learn how to budget their money or manage their time — while eating pizza.

Renee Doddy, residence hall director for Centennial Court A and B, said the Department of Residence Services changed how resident assistants create their required programs for their floor.

She said resident assistants are now required to create programs including one of the four “desired learning outcomes” they want their residents to have, Doddy said. The four desired learning outcomes are Academic/Learning, Decision Making, Diversity/Culture and Citizenship/Service.

Dana Dewitt, sophomore nursing major, said she thinks the department made the change because the staff wants to help students more. She said some things the department wants to help residents with include living on their own and surviving college.

Michelle Limle, residence hall director of Stopher and Johnson halls, said a planning committee that helped decide the changes of the resident assistant programs, wanted them to be “programming with a purpose.” She said the planning committee comprised residence hall directors, area coordinators and administrators.

Stopher and Johnson halls follow a separate model from the other residence halls, which follow a “roots” model, Limle said.

She said her programming for the halls has to include programs for freshmen, honors and the Quest Learning Community residents.

Limle said the staff created something similar to a curriculum for resident assistants to follow.

“There are certain things we want students to learn or obtain as residents of a residence hall, so we establish those things and then we plan our programs toward those particular values,” she said.

She said residents will see some of the same programs from previous semesters. She said the change has helped resident assistants learn more about their residents and has made it easier for them to plan programs.

“I think that we’re really hitting the mark when it comes to what it is that we feel like students need to learn as residence hall students,” Limle said.

Stopher and Johnson halls have offered a program that taught students how to use the exercise machines at the Student Recreation and Wellness Center, she said. There was also a tea party for students to discuss A Hope in the Unseen, the freshmen required reading for the summer.

She said she believes the programs are better now because they are more thought out and intentional. She said she has seen better student attendance because of the new resident assistant programming.

Dewitt said she thinks most of the programs she has seen on her floor are focused more on educational lessons.

“I spend 18 hours a week in class, I don’t want to go to another class,” Dewitt said.

Riane Ghanrawi, freshman biology chemistry major, said she thinks the programs should be more diverse. She said the staff should try to help residents understand they don’t have to think about classes and homework constantly.

Contact room and board reporter Noelle Pennyman at [email protected].