Unlike the typical Bryant student, I was not involved in the activities that accompanied this year’s Friends and Family Weekend. Being an International student, it is a bit difficult for my parents to come up to the little town of Smithfield for just a weekend. They have work and other responsibilities, not to mention the cost of a flight is not spare change. I know what you must be thinking, poor me but honestly I enjoyed parents and family weekend. I spent it off campus with my Resident Assistant (RA) Family.
This past weekend a few other Resident Assistants and myself got the amazing opportunity to attend the 3rd Annual Resident Assistant Leadership Conference at Providence College. I found it to be a day well spent. The staff at Providence College as well the Resident Assistants there did an excellent job at making us feel welcome on their campus. The conference kicked off with a Keynote Panel with four exceptional individuals who started their college career as Resident Assistants and gained lifelong skills. The panel did an amazing job at explaining to a room full of Resident Assistants that their role makes a huge difference in someone else’s life. By using their own life stories, they explained how being a Resident Assistant helped to place them on the path that they are now on.
There was a variety of different sessions to go to throughout the day. I decided to choose the sessions that would benefit me. Three of our amazing Resident Assistants from Bryant University were also doing a presentation, which was such a great honor. Even though I did not attend their presentations, I knew they did an amazing job.
The first session that I attended was “The Importance of Bulletin Boards and Passive Programming.” The goal of this presentation was to highlight the importance of having great bulletin boards. I absolutely enjoy doing passive programs for my residents. It is a great opportunity to educate my residents even through the busiest time of the year. It gives you the opportunity to build a community and show your residents that you truly care thus making you more approachable. It also allows you to provide information in a colorful, logical way. After listening to the different passive programs that other Resident Assistants have done throughout their time and the response that they receive from their residents, it allowed me to have a higher level of appreciation for passive programming. There are many different kinds of bulletin boards that a Resident Assistant could complete throughout their time. It can either be campus –related, inspiring, interactive or even themed. Bulletin boards allow the personality of the Resident Assistant to truly come out. It provides the perfect setting to address serious topics in a not-so-intimidating way. Honestly, I did not know that bulletin boards could have such an effect on a resident. At the end of the presentation I was truly set on giving my all when it comes to making a bulletin board.
The second session that I went to was “ABC’S of LGBT” which sought to provide us with an overview of the LGBTQ community, allowing us to feel more confident on how bring more LGBT inclusive events and ideas to our halls on campus. This session was similar to another session that we went through in Resident Assistant training. However, it reinforced everything and cemented the importance of having inclusive events in our halls. We participated in an exercise that allowed us to step into the shoes of how a resident would feel if they are dealing with issues such as acceptance or coming out to their peers. The last session that I had the opportunity to sit in on was “Why HRA?” (HRA stands for Head Resident Assistant) which focused on the role of a Head Resident Assistant, looking at the best parts of the positions and the potential drawbacks. This session also spoke on how to be a good Head Resident Assistant and the interview process for this position. For me, this session was very helpful because I hope to be given the opportunity to be a Head Resident Assistant in my Senior Year here at Bryant. This session help me to realize how passionate I am about being a Resident Assistant and it is that very passion that will allow me to be a great Head Resident Assistant if given the opportunity.
So even though I did not spend Parents and Family Weekend in all the festivities hosted by Student Senate and the Office of Campus Engagement, I still had a family weekend with my RA Family. What you will learn about Bryant when you are coming to visit on a tour or you are starting your first year here, you will find your place here whether by being involved in Residence Life or Student Senate on campus. There are many opportunities that lie ahead, just follow your passion and find something that you will truly enjoy being a part of. It is only then that you will find your family away from home.