Many students around campuses everywhere, but especially at the University of Northwestern– St. Paul claim that Residence Life is an unhelpful monstrosity. Students do not meet with their resident assistants unless there is a problem, they aren’t attending hall events catered to them, and they do not try to build up friendships within their halls. Students are frustrated that resident assistants are catching them breaking visitation hours, and therefore, giving them fines. Here are five myths that most students believe about Residence Life and give them a negative view.
Myth 1: Residence Life is boring and no one even wants to be involved
People enjoy being in Residence Life! It is a great way to make friends and to go to fun and creative events hosted around different living spaces on-campus. Many events are created by groups of Resident Assistants (RAs) based on location around campus as well as gender. The photo below is an example of a nerf war that was a men’s event hosted in the Robertson Student Center by Knutson, the men’s halls in the building. They all came together with a bunch of nerf guns and plastic pipes to have a long and intense nerf war. The hall that ended with the most men still “alive” won an Eagle trophy to flaunt in their hall until the end of the year or until the next nerf war. This event is always a hit and many guys get to know the other men in their hall and make long-lasting friendships.
While Knutson is busy with their nerf wars, KnuHa, one of the two women’s sections in the Robertson Student Center, hosts an annual camping trip. Nearly everything is provided for those that choose to go on the trip, which makes it quite affordable. Therefore, more women are able to attend the two day trip and build a more meaningful community without financial stress weighing on their shoulders. The women spend a lot of time in the evenings around the campfire telling stories and in the mornings they set up their hammocks before and after breakfast to read their Bibles and do their devotionals.
Residence Life is a great way to make friends around campus because the people involved in leadership positions want to be there and want to love those around them. The activities hosted by individual RAs as well as a group of RAs are always a great way to meet new people and to make long-lasting friendships.
Myth 2: Residence Life sucks and they are out to get people for breaking VIS hours
Most of Residence Life doesn’t want to catch someone in the act of breaking visitation hours. It is awkward for both the leader and the student to be caught. RAs do not enjoy receiving tips from other students about people breaking vis hours because they are obligated to knock on whoever’s door and ask people to disperse. It is uncomfortable for them and embarrassing for the people who are caught.
Myth 3: RAs don’t even do anything
RAs run around campus and their residence halls almost daily because of their job. RAs have duty shifts that range from 5-7 hours and they take care of any serious issue that arises during that time as well as unlock doors for students and walk around to make sure the building is all right and rules aren’t being broken.
In addition to that, RAs plan several hall events each semester to boost the sense of community in their halls as well as with their brother and sister halls. The events are typically fun and creatively catered to each hall and its residents. The “Hartill Harvest Bash,” is an event that is organized by several RAs to celebrate Autumn with joyful and grateful attitudes. There are seasonal activities offered as well as seasonal beverages such as pumpkin spice lattes.
RAs have various training sessions throughout the year. At the beginning of the school year, there is A-train in August where all sorts of rules are made known to them and they run through different scenarios regarding broken rules, physical injuries, mental health struggles, bias or racially tense situations and even circumstances where title IX would need to be involved. They have some serious training and work in their position and it’s very respectable.
Myth 4: MPs don’t even do anything
Ministry Partners (MPs) have the weighty task of supporting each person in the hall spiritually. This is a difficult task because many people do not always want help with their walk with God. This can sometimes cause tension between residents and MPs, which the MP needs to navigate and solve if possible.
Taking care of and supporting 15-35 other people in their spiritual lives is difficult. It’s a time-consuming task. MPs are given different ideas about how to go about spiritual formation for such a large group and are encouraged to host weekly meetings. Most MPs decide to host a weekly Bible study in their dorm. Sometimes, Bible studies aren’t very popular in halls because of conflicting schedules. Therefore, MPs are encouraged to reach out to their residents to have one-on-one meetings. This is an enjoyable task for many; however, each meeting typically takes about an hour and each MP has a handful of residents that prefer one-on-one meetings to Bible study.
Myth 5: Many people who are MPs first wanted to be an RA, but did not receive the position
Many people who are in the position of MPs are there because they want to be. Most MPs did not apply to be an RA in the first place and chose MP because it better fits their desires and passions. There are some MPs that did apply for RA and did not get it, so they decided to try a new position. Sometimes that position is the MP and other times it’s not. Many times, if that person did not get the RA position, they may not get the MP position either.
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