RAs… we appreciate you!

Jen Lassen, Editor-in-chief

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The Office of Residential Education would like to recognize the University Residential Adviser (RA) and Peer Assistants (PA) for their hard work and dedication in this year’s RA Appreciation Week.

RA Appreciation Week and RA Appreciation Day, which occurred Feb. 19, are sponsored by the Bison Chapter of the National Residence Hall Honorary (NRHH). In January, new Director of Residential Education Josh Hartman inducted the first class of residential leaders, the top 1 percent of student leaders in the University’s residence halls, into the Bison Chapter of the NRHH. The Bison Chapter currently has 31 members.

“Residential Advisers are extremely hard-working and dedicated to their residents, fellow staff members, and campus community. Many times, their work is visible, but even more often it is behind the scenes. RAs support students in need, form individual relationships with residents, respond to crisis situations, and develop their community through programs and events, all while being a full time student.We are a better Bucknell for having such amazing student leaders within our halls,” Hartman said.

Also in January, the Office of Residential Education awarded Of-The-Month Awards to RAs, advisers, programs, and University staff. Of-The-Months (OTM) recognize the outstanding efforts by residential staff, communities, programs, and individual residents. There are specific guidelines for award nominations. By following the guidelines outlined by the Office of Residential Education, anyone can fill out an online nomination form. Nominees and winners then receive a certificate and other forms of recognition.

Logan Bechdel ’16 won Residential Adviser Of-The-Month for Swartz Hall for offering support to his residents after the loss of Joseph Walsh ’17. For the same reason and for others, Swartz Hall also won the Community Of-The-Month award. Other Of-The-Month Award winners included Turner Stulting ’16, Student Of-The-Month; Value Size, Program Of-The-Month; Office of Residential Education, Organization Of-The-Month; Assistant Director of the Campus and Activities Program Chelsea Burghoff, Adviser Of-The-Month; and Sergeant of Public Safety Curtis Cooke, Spotlight Of-The-Month.

The Office of Residential Education would also like to recognize the support and contributions of the RA and PA supervisors. These supervisors are Nadir Sharif, assistant director of Residential Education (oversees Vedder, Smith, and Small Houses); Cait Bjellquist, assistant director of Residential Education (oversees Swartz, McDonnell, and Bucknell West); Zabrina Andres, assistant director of Residential Education (oversees Roberts, Trax, Kress, Larison, Larison Cottage, Harris, and the Gateways); JJ Mitchell, Graduate Assistant (supervises Larison and Larison Cottage, under direction from Andres); Karen Stefaniak, Graduate Assistant (supervises Smith under direction from Sharif); Carl Jones, Graduate Assistant (supervises Bucknell West under direction from Bjellquist); Glenn Skinner, assistant director for Fraternity Affairs; and Barbara Perlman, assistant director for Sorority Affairs.

“I am so grateful and appreciative for the hard work that each of [the RAs, PAs, supervisors, and advisers] puts in every day and night,” Hartman said.

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STUDENT RESPONSES 

These quotes were taken from a residential life student survey sent out via email during the Fall 2013 semester. Students who responded did not enter their names or class years; the feedback was anonymous. 

“He is great at making us feel like we can approach him with any concern.”

“My RA is a very fun person and relates well to everyone, but he is also capable of taking a professional role when necessary.”

“He is very professional, but also knows how to make everyone on the hall feel welcome and happy.”
“He is really inclusive and makes an effort to know all of us personally.”
“My RA truly cares about her residents and treats us all with respect. Her greatest strength is communication, she is always willing to talk to us about anything.”
“My RA is simply amazing. She is able to connect with everybody in a kind and loving manner and is always trying to make our house more of a community. She is very approachable and is so fun to be around. I feel comfortable going to her with any issue I might have. She is very enthusiastic about the house, which makes it a wonderful environment to live in.”
Other student responses:
“My residential experience has been great! While I don’t use my RA as often as I could, it’s nice to know that there’s always someone there if I need the support.”

-Anders Velischek ’16

“My residential experience has been awesome! I am so lucky to have become so close to my hall during orientation, and throughout the year, that I know they will always have my back. My RA has definitely played a role. She has made sure that we have had hall events that engage us all and foster conversations on important issues, as well as having some fun. My RA also sometimes just hangs out on the hall and talks with us which gives us he chance to ask an upperclassman questions or advice about bucknell or life in general.”
-Katie Chambers ’17

“As far as the residential experience goes, it’s been really great. My hall has been really close; we’re actually going to keep the same hall together next year. Our RA (Caesar Vulley) is great. He’s been able to help us, stay out of the way when he needs to, and be there when we need him to be there.”-Prescott Bliss ’17

“Emily [Burnett] is incredibly caring and thoughtful, always coming up with new ways to bring us together and put a smile on someone’s face. She is responsible and trustworthy, and we know we can always come to her with a problem- she’s an amazing RA!!” -Beth Klunk ’14

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