The primary motive behind residential hall programs is the same whether it is a freshman or upperclassman hall: to build a rapport between hall mates. Freshman and upperclassman halls are certainly different in composition and atmosphere, yet residential adviser programming requirements are virtually the same for both. Currently RAs face blanket rules that lead to a wide variance in the quality of programming – some hall events are largely fruitless, meaningless efforts by RAs to meet superfluous programming requirements.
For the newly arrived freshman hall, these programs are the perfect opportunity for students to strengthen bonds. Ideally,’ upperclassmen should also befriend their hall mates in formalized events, but the incentive to do so certainly drops off after their first year when students have better defined social groups.
All RAs must plan a minimum of five programs a semester that meet certain requirements, such as relating to diversity events or bringing students off campus. Although these programs hold more meaning for freshman students, reducing the required number to two or three events for upperclassmen will likely make the remaining events more successful.
At times, upperclassman RAs squander $80 budgets for programs only two or three residents attend – if there is ever any appeal for freshmen to participate in a hall ‘event’ that’s going to a performance in Strong Auditorium, it is even less attractive to upperclassmen.
By reducing the number and emphasizing RAs to pool their funding to throw larger, more exciting events – for example, having more off-campus activities – ResLife would help make these activities more worthwhile.
Residential Life faces an unfortunate situation in upperclassman housing: settled students will be more apathetic toward attempts to unite the hall. ResLife, therefore, can better reflect this reality by adjusting its expectations of RAs.