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This is a question that seems to plague
most RAs. Residents either think they already
know the information or are not interested enough
to attend anything that is not considered social and
So what do you do? Well focus on those two reasons that residents seem to throw out.
1. Show your residents that there is information that can benefit them at your program through little teasers. For example, say you are putting on a program on self defense against sexual assault. You might put up a poster a week before that says "Did you know that most convicted attackers said that they looked for potential victims that had their hair tied up in a pony tail because it would be easier to grab them? Find out more useful preventative tips at our program...."
2. Make it fun and social. Rather than duplicating a scene from a classroom where the speaker lectures to the students for some set amount of time. Make the activity fun and interactive. If you are doing a program on underage drinking, try making mocktails and staging a party. You could even have the police bust in half way through to talk about underage drinking and consequences. Here again, this should even attract people who may not have wanted to come initially because they will see how the program seems to be more of a party.
Hope these ideas help. Good luck and if you have more questions, feel free to contact me.
Ray Gasser - Assistant Director of Residential Life for Student Development - Indiana State University
A. That's always been a hard thing to do! One idea that has worked for me in the past is to turn my serious programs into games. Any type of Q&A game will work. I would pattern my game off of the popular game shows on TV. Good luck!
Tim Stockton - Associate Director for Apartment Housing - Indiana University
Good question. I would say that it might be
helpful to create weekly "conversation pieces"
for your floor to have, sometimes conversations with
coffee starting at 10:00ish or so give students a
chance to unwind. Start off one week with some
general conversations about what is happening around
campus, and then you can move onto more national/regional
topics. Campuses always have some kind of crisis/ethical
issue facing them so when students know the "players"
involved they may be more likely to talk about things
that affect them like the tuition hike, racist comments
written on the door of a resident, etc. Sometimes
those conversations are more lasting to those
involved rather than let's have a program on race.
My humble thoughts.... good luck and thanks for being an RA, we need more like you!
Tom Ellett - Director of Residence Life - Syracuse University
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