UNC students attend conference to improve residence life
By Kinsey Richardson, UNC-RHA National Communications Coordinator
“R-O-C-K! You rock! You rock!” College students from all across the nation and other countries as well could be heard screaming this cheer at the top of their lungs. Along with several other UNC students, I attended the annual NACURH (National Association of College and University Residence Halls) as part of my role in UNC’s Residence Hall Association (RHA). We congregated together for one reason: to improve residence halls (not dorms) in colleges and universities.
Hosted by the University of Colorado at Boulder, the 2012 NACURH conference paid tribute to the upcoming summer Olympic Games with a theme of “passing the leadership torch.” As members of Residence Hall Associations (RHA) and the National Residence Hall Honorary (NRHH), we were encouraged and challenged to be leaders and create innovative and effective programs that would benefit the residents at our respective schools. Presentations about different cultures, sex education, leadership, GLBTSA issues and much more were given during the conference. Though NACURH serves to provide informative programs that students can bring back to their campuses, the conference is not designed to be dull lectures and socials…
Being an RA is more than a job, and it’s more than a lifestyle. It’s going to sleep, waking up, eating, studying, socializing, working, loving—then repeating—all in your “workplace.” There is no such thing as off-duty. Your residents depend on you to have the answers and to set the living standards of your hall. It’s a position that demands responsibility and a good plan of action.
When I first got back to campus for training, I had no clue what being an RA would mean. I didn’t know how to plan a program or how to handle all the ridiculous situations I envisioned happening. To be honest, I was even concerned about how I was going to learn everyone’s name.
But in training, Housing gives you the tools to handle just about anything you could imagine. From how to use positive body language, to the proper way to respond to a shooter on campus, and even how to deal with vomit (which we don’t do, because it’s “above our pay grade.” Love that one.) Housing gave us all the tools we would need to make a safe and happy community. Putting those tools to practice, however, was a much more challenging game, one that I expect I’ll still be learning the rules for long after I graduate.
The challenges and rewards of life as a Resident Advisor
Overwhelming. tiring. stressful. busy. FUN. AMAZING. WONDERFUL. OUTSTANDING. All of the preceding and so many more words describe the RA position on campus. As much as I’d like not to include the first few, they are a part of the job as much as they are a part of life.
Nowhere in your RA contract do you stop being a human being—and, no, your superhero cape and uniform probably won’t show up anytime soon. Being an RA can teach you so much about other people—and even more about yourself and your capabilities.
We can tell you the basics all day long of what the job entails: door decorations, bulletin boards (yes, even those of you, like me, who question your own creativity), duty, rounds, programming—the general idea of the job is something that is so easily advertised.
What we can’t tell you is what residents or experiences you’ll run into. Your hall will become like a family. When someone is in distress, the natural thing you want to do is help them. When someone is singing loudly in the lounge, you’ll want to first remind them of quiet hours, then join along.
Hey everybody! My name’s Connor Chapman, I’m from Charlotte, NC, and I am majoring in Information Science with a minor in Business Administration.
Getting involved in campus rec is a great way to start off your first year at UNC.
As a varsity athlete in two sports in high school I knew I wanted to get involved with campus rec on
campus any way possible when I came to Carolina. My first year I took advantage of many of the amenities included on campus including Rams Head Gym, Ehringhaus field, and the South Campus rec center. And because they were so close (I lived in Horton Residence Hall) it was extremely easy to get a group of friends together to go kick the soccer ball or play some tennis in a moment’s notice.
Living on campus helps make the transition smoother
Hi I’m Michelle from Cary, NC, double majoring in Advertising within the School of Journalism and Mass Communication and Studio Art.
I grew up near UNC so I knew the basics of where everything was before I transferred to UNC. Yet I didn’t get a feel for the UNC culture until I actually walked, ate, and participated at UNC on a day-to-day basis.
I transferred last fall as a sophomore from a school with 1,800 students, so I know that the idea of joining 18,000 undergraduates may be a bit daunting. If you’re transferring to UNC, you may be worried about finding your place in a new college. Living on campus provides an experience that makes the transition to life as a Carolina student much easier, much faster.
Hey everyone! My name is Paulina and I’m a rising senior from Raleigh, North Carolina. I’m studying business administration and am minoring in journalism. As you all prepare to join the Carolina community, I wanted to share my experience with eating on campus.
As a first-year, I was looking for anything that would make my transition to college a little bit easier—which is why I decided to purchase a meal plan. The food was already cooked and prepared, I could eat as much as I wanted, and best of all, there was no mess. I never even had to wash dishes. Most of my friends had meal plans too, so trips to the dining hall turned into social hour (or hours).
Hi, my name is Savannah Helvey and I am a rising sophomore at UNC. I am an English major from Burlington, North Carolina and I’m excited you’ve chosen to become (or you are thinking of becoming) a first-year at UNC next year! If you enjoy being with people that are intelligent, enthusiastic, and caring, then the people at UNC are going to be your kind of people.
A year ago at this time I was in your shoes, and maybe even a little more discombobulated than you are. I didn’t know what I wanted to major in, what organizations I wanted to join, or even how to navigate around campus (because I hadn’t moved in yet, of course). It was a time of major transition for me, as well as many of my classmates who were going to UNC with me. Unlike many of them, however, I decided to join a Living-Learning Community called RELIC (Religion as Explorative Learning Integrated into our Community) for my first year of college.
I was interested in the idea of learning about religion, certainly, but another major incentive was a room on the northern part of campus, near all of the classroom buildings. As my school year continued, however, I appreciated more and more the community that I had stumbled upon and was selected to be the RELIC Student Coordinator for the 2010-2011 school year. I never thought I would have this opportunity as a sophomore, but I’m excited and ready to take on the challenge.