With the start of the new semester, Waynesburg Resident Assistants are no longer required to hold programming events and are shifting their focus toward personalized community initiatives. Matt Pioch, assistant dean of student services, initiated the shift of activities and gave some insight on the old programming events that he says have been around for at least 10 years.
“RAs were responsible to create specific events and advertise those events to students in their building and hold those events throughout the course of each semester,” Pioch said. “Sometimes they were educational and sometimes they were more social.”
Events varied from student gatherings to watch football games in the lounge, or meetings to discuss class schedules. The events did not always come with a large turnout though, which Pioch said contributed to the change.
“In a typical month, we may have had two programs, maybe three programs per hall. Depending on who shows up, maybe one of the events has 10 people, maybe one of them may have only two people,” Pioch said. “We wanted a way to initiate things and also keep things on the smaller side too. And to also add a personal touch where the individual is feeling reached out to.”
Resident Assistants now submit community initiatives on a weekly basis. They look to spread community by reaching out to students on a more personal level, whether it be asking students to go out to dinner or to go see a sporting event.
Aaron Sielski, the newly appointed Resident Director of Thayer Hall, oversees these new initiatives.
“The RAs will fill out a form which describes their community initiative like what they did and what students were involved and all of those come to me. I then take all those initiatives and take the data and put it into an excel sheet,” Sielski said. “Basically, it’s a way to quantify the impact that the resident assistants are having on the students here on campus.”
In the month of September alone, Resident Assistants have reached out to over 317 students, 77 of which came from Burns Hall. Sielski is interested to see how the Resident Assistants can continue to make an impact on the residence life community in the future.
“I can’t ask much more of them other than to just keep doing what they’re doing. I’m very interested to see how many students they’ll end up reaching by the end of the semester and by the end of the year,” Sielski said.