Close-Knit Community

by Christopher Wood

As this is my first blog entry on this page, I feel that I should give a little background information on myself. I am a first year Master’s student in the Higher Education and Student Affairs program at The Ohio State University. My graduate assistantship is with University Housing, where I work as an Assistant Hall Director in our largest residence hall on campus, Morrill Tower, which houses approximately 1,400 primarily first-year residents. This is pretty daunting as I just graduated from Otterbein University, a private liberal-arts institution near Columbus, Ohio, that only has approximately 3,000 students in its entirety.

My goal this year is to make our building of 1,400 residents feel like a small, close-knit community. I know this may be challenging, and it will be nearly impossible for me to get to know all of my residents individually, but I have some ideas that I think will at least help them get to know me, and the rest of the senior staff in our building. So far, my ideas for “down-sizing” our community include the following:

  1. Birthday cards. I plan to have enough birthday cards printed to put in each resident’s mailbox on their birthday. It will have a printed saying inside, with the names of our building’s three senior staff member’s names in them. To make the residents with summer birthdays not feel left out, we will put cards in their mailboxes on their half-birthdays.
  2. Judicial notes. After each judicial meeting that I have with a student, I am going to write a note and put in their mailbox. I want them to know that having to meet with me for a judicial issue does not mean that I am mad at them. I want them to know that they can still come to me with issues and that I am still a resource for them.
  3. Building walk-throughs. I plan to walk through my building at least once per week at various times. I will have candy or other treats with me and hand out to residents as I walk through. I want them to know that even though our building is huge, I am still nearby when they need me.
  4. Attend programs. The plan of the senior staff in my building is to attend as many programs as possible during the weeks that we are serving in the on-call duty rotation. This will get our faces out there and not only show the residents that we care, but also show our RAs and Hall Council members that we care about the programs that they are putting on.

What do you all do to make your buildings feel like a close-knit community, even if you don’t have 1,400 residents that you are in charge of?

Student Affairs - the First Years

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