SSLI Conference invites RAs from around the country

Hunter Campbell, Staff Writer

Last weekend, Bucknell was the proud host of the Student Staff Live-In Conference (SSLI) for Residential Advisors (RAs) and Residential Education Staff. The conference featured 49 daytime educational sessions, a formal reception for professional and graduate staff, and a student reception and dance party. Approximately 500 undergraduate students representing 59 different institutions from the mid-Atlantic region and over 100 professional staff members attended the event.

“This year, our aim was to provide a professional conference experience for our paraprofessional staff, and we believe that we have done just that,” Josh Hartman, SSLI Host Committee co-chair and director of Community and Leadership, said.

Each of the educational sessions focused on the categories of online engagement, innovative practices, academic engagement, independent living, programming, life skills, and professional and personal development. The sessions enabled the undergraduate attendees to reflect on students’ practices at their own universities, encouraging them to think about community engagement, healthy and happy living communities, positive staff energy, diversity, Greek life, social media, and gender and sexual orientation, among others.

Several of the educational sessions offered included: “The Emotionally Intelligent Professional: Communication Skills for Building Stronger Communities,” “Welcome to the Neighborhood: Simple Tools to Transform a Residence Hall Into a Home,” and “Becoming More Than Just Coworkers: 10 Tips on How To Form True Friendships Within Your Staff.”

Tom Ellett, senior associate vice president of Student Affairs at NYU, started the weekend events by delivering a Keynote address.

The theme of the conference was based on “The Lego Movie.” Upon checking in for the weekend, attendees were given a small bag of Legos, which they could use to contribute to one of two Lego Creation Rooms in Larison Hall and Olin Science Building. Throughout the weekend, they could add their Legos to the construction or rebuild sections, enhancing each final creation. At the end of the weekend, the Lego pieces were donated to children’s charities.

“We hope that all attendees leave learning something new, and also sharing a best practice from their own institution,” Hartman said.

The weekend concluded with an Awards Ceremony, celebrating the attendees’ efforts with the Our Region’s Best (ORB) Awards. Kailey Tindle ’15 and Jasmine King ’15, were finalists for the ORB ‘Outstanding Student Residence Life Staff’ Award.

“It was such a wonderful experience to help plan SSLI and to attend the conference. I loved hearing from other RAs in the mid-Atlantic region and gaining ideas for programming and staff development. I’m excited for Bucknell to host other conferences like this in the future, and to continue to build relationships with residential education departments from other universities,” Tindle said.

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