RAs continue programming during pandemic

During a normal school year at Waynesburg University, students living in the residence halls could expect their resident assistants to plan events for them. This school year has been anything but normal, but the RAs are still hard at work to make the residents’ stay more fun. 

RAs are still planning events and programs for their residents during the pandemic. RAs will be hosting both active and passive programs.

Active programs include activities that allow active engagement with the residents. Passive programs include items that are set up for students to interact with as they move throughout the halls.

Although active programming is still permitted, there will be some new restrictions to the events.

“We are following all of the Keep Waynesburg Well safety plans and protocols through our programming,” Lauren White, resident director of SWEP, said. “There’s not going to be events where we’re sharing supplies or where students are making things together.”

To help prevent the spread of COVID-19, there will not be any programs where students will be within six feet of each other. During programming, students must wear masks and only a limited number of students are permitted to attend each event.

SWEP residence halls will be hosting their first active program this Thursday in West. RAs will be going door-to-door, passing out premade goody bags and talking to residents.

“They’re going to be knocking on every door in West and trying to get students to participate in this goody bag program that they have,” White said.

The RAs will be wearing gloves and masks to hand out their items from the cart they’ll have with them, and the residents will not be allowed to touch anything on the cart.

Although COVID-19 has changed the way the academic school years looks, there will still be the same amount of programming this year as there was in previous years from the RAs in SWEP.

“Each RA needs to do at least one active and one passive. Then there’s a third program that they get to choose if it’s active or passive,” White said.

After the RAs brainstorm the type kind of program they want to hold, White approves them with the Keep Waynesburg Well plan in mind.

For programs that will be giving out food, the items must be prepackaged or in bags that can be handed out to individuals.

“We do want to be able to pass out food and we want to be able to do programs, but we’re doing them in a way that’s safe so it just causes a little bit extra work on the front end,” White said.

Hannah Wilson, an RA in Burns Hall, held a mask decorating program where residents could bring their masks and use paint to decorate them. For her first year as an RA, Wilson is working with the new policies.

“We did Capri Suns, so they were self-serve basically,” Wilson said.

According to Wilson, a limited number of students could attend the program so there was space for social distancing.

“It’s still safe to go to [programming]. We’re taking the precautions that have to be taken so that [students] are safe,” Wilson said.

Riley Holsinger, RA at Willison Hall, held his first active program two weekends ago, hosting an outdoor s’mores night in Johnson Commons.

For Holsinger, most of the RA training this year was geared towards COVID.

“90 percent of it was online where as last year I had RA training it was mostly in person,” Holsinger said. “We covered more COVID stuff than RA stuff just because there’s so many rules and policies regarding COVID-19 now.”

Holsinger said that for his first program last year, over 40 people turned out, but with this year’s restrictions in place, that won’t be able to happen.

“If I have [the program] in the Willison Hall lounge, I have to limit it to a certain number of people. I have to have sign ups and everything to make sure only a certain number of people can come,” Holsinger said.

Holsinger’s program this past weekend was held outside, allowing students to social distance properly while still being social and involved with a campfire for students to roast s’mores over. All food items were prepackaged for students to easily grab before building a s’more.

“With the weather getting cold quicker, I thought it would be nice to have one last summer hoorah,” Holsinger said.