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ResLifePro.com > Programming Guide in the Residence Halls

 
  GUIDE TO PROGRAMMING


Programming: Planning an Activity in 7 Easy Steps

1. ASSESSING RESIDENTSí NEEDS/DESIRES

2. GENERATING IDEAS/Idea formulation

3. DRAFTING THE PROGRAM/Setting the date

4. GETTING YOUR HANDS DIRTY

5. GETTING THEM THERE/Activity Implementation/Publicity

6. CELEBRATING THE EVENT: ITíS SHOWTIME

7. EVALUATION/Wrapping up: Youíre done . . .
 

PROGRAM CHECKLIST

Publicity and Promotion

PROGRAM EVALUATION

The Year In Programming

Programming Ideas.
 
 
 
 

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1. ASSESSING RESIDENTSí NEEDS/DESIRES

All too often RAs attempt to plan programs without assessing the needs/desires of their residents.  Assessing needs and areas of interest of your residents is the first and most important step in planning successful programs.  The tendency is to program based on your needs or likes or what easily fits into the topic of the month and then to be upset when only one person shows up. Needs assessment can be handled in several ways.  You may want to start out your year with a written interest assessment questionnaire, which lists a number of possible programs and ask people to evaluate how they feel about having those programs on their floor.  The survey may also include a section for the students to reply if they have any specific interests or resources.  If you use these surveys, try assessing programming needs at the beginning of the year, and then, intermittently throughout the year, review and update the surveys with your residents.

Sometimes there are topics that residents donít express interest in at first, but are necessary as a part of college life.  Those may include alcohol awareness, sexual assault, financial aid, health issues, etc. By using interest awareness surveys you can determine programming needs within the hall.  Informal discussions with students can also help determine needs and interests because they may bring out a need for study skills from one resident or test anxiety from another or an interest in sports from yet another resident.  Attentive listening skills may develop a wide variety of interesting topics for you to explore as programming ideas.  Being able to plan an event will help you in the future.  Supervisors look for employees who are able to plan projects and follow through with details.

This year we have compiled programs that address various issues of Social, Educational, Community Service, Unity, Cultural/Diversity, Spiritual/Emotional and Sports/Physical areas.  Other Programming Ideas are available as well.  Various issues will be identified during the school year.  These Needs and Responses have been added also.  The programs and ideas are available on the Department of Residence Life web page.



 
 
 
 



2. GENERATING IDEAS/Idea formulation

One method used to design a program or provide ideas is brainstorming.  When you brainstorm an idea, all criticism is ruled out, freewheeling is encouraged, and a large QUANTITY of ideas is the goal.  Brainstorming ideas could be incorporated into the assessment of your residents needs and interests. Brainstorming at a floor meeting is another good way to generate ideas for programs. Brainstorming is best done in small groups.  After the entire process, focus on three or four ideas and make them

REALITY.

Utilize the ideas from the Department of Residence Life web page.  There are many program ideas that cover many topics.  There is also a section that addresses several issues that occur throughout the year.



 



3. DRAFTING THE PROGRAM/Setting the date

Now youíve evaluated the students and come up with a great idea for a program, all you have to do now is decide when to have it. Take each of the items that the group expressed an interest in.  Tackle one idea at a time.  Decide what needs to be done and who will complete the task.  This is a wonderful time to think about "Tackling the Topic of Leadership."  Take into consideration how developed your community is and the various skills of your residents.  Do your residents need you to provide them with direction, or could you involve your residents and coach them through what they do not know to help them plan the activity?

Set a tentative date. Check with the Hall Director & Hall Council to see if other activities or events are planned for that date. Find out what other activities (movies, concerts, etc.) may be planned for campus. Check a long range TV Guide or call the local stations to see if there might be a special or movie which could detract from your program.

Check around the hall to see how the residents feel about the date.

Finalize the date and STICK to it.  Confusion will result if you keep changing the date.

Do not simply ask for volunteers.  Ask residents, by name, if they will take part of the responsibility.

Take into consideration the best time of day to hold the activity.  Think about the most visible andaccessible areas of the floor.  Lounges or lobbies generally have the maximum ability to attract residents.

Donít be afraid to experiment with different locations.




4. GETTING YOUR HANDS DIRTY

So now you have an idea and a date!  The next step is putting the program together.  Taking care of the details is where the work begins.  You can look upon making the arrangements as a real pain or view it as a learning experience that will help you in life.  If you take the second view you will have a much more enjoyable experience and continue to develop your skills and residents.  To ensure that your program is
one of quality and success, the following is a description of the essential elements found in a qualityprogram:

The program is publicized at least three days to a week prior to the program date.

The speaker/presenter is an authority on the subject matter or has researched the topic thoroughly.

The presentation emphasizes involvement rather than a passive attendance.

Students learn about a pertinent topic, each other, or themselves.

The program is well organized, planned, and followed through appropriately.

Arrangements should be made several weeks prior to the program.  You will avoid last minute
complications and save yourself headaches by planning ahead.

A good programmer uses some sort of checklist to organize the details of the event.  On the following pages is a thorough checklist for you to follow to develop and implement a SUCCESSFUL program.

Any program that will demand a large audience could utilize this popularity by charging a can of food or an article of clothing for the local Food Banks or a clothing drive for admittance.



 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 



5. GETTING THEM THERE/Activity Implementation/Publicity

Advertising

This can make or break a program.  You may have the best idea in the world, but unless people know the 5 Wís: who, what, where, why, and when, the program may flop.  Following are some of the hints to help you when planning your publicity.

Utilize:

bulletin boards

flyers or posters in unique areas (stairwell ceilings, floors, common area bathrooms "stall talk")

word of mouth

personal invitations and approaching residents personally

newsletters

monthly calendars

e-mail

web-pages

FOOD!

Mention the programs during floor meetings or have them in conjunction with floor meetings.
An unusual, gimmicky, out of the ordinary advertisement will be the most effective. You can write on balloons and tie them to residentsí doors.

It is best to use two waves of advertisements.  The first wave should be about a week before the program
so that people can plan ahead; the second wave should be three days prior to the event. NOTE: A large-scale program (i.e., semiformal, little brother/sister weekend) will need much earlier advertisement.

Place posters and flyers up at least two weeks prior to the event; add a little information at a time on the same poster.

Always remind people the day of the program. Door Knock, Door Knock, Door Knock!!!!!!!!

Themes

Develop a theme or logo and use it throughout your publicity! Picture the idea or logo all around you.

You can get ideas from some of the following places: Magazines, books, catalogues, posters, newspapers, clip are, quotes, comic strips, etc.

Lettering

Lettering is an integral part of any publicity campaign. It comes in many styles, sizes, and can be done in different colors depending on use.  Different types of lettering are stencils, adhesive, typeset, computer, free hand and press on.  Publicity is only as effective as you make it. Lettering allows you to capture someoneís attention.  Donít loose that attention by CONFUSING the reader with too many different styles of letters.

Signs

The signs, posters, and flyers you design will be a vital part of your programming. Here are a few hints to make your signs more successful.

A successful sign tells the story quickly, boldly, and in a direct way.

1. Drop all extraneous matter, topics, and minor details at the outset of your planning.

2. Write down what you want to say.  Use only specific information to tell the story.

3. The type of style should be easy to read. Most people read from top to bottom. Place information in this order - important information first.

4. Make your sign an attention getter.

5. Emphasize one word to capture someoneís attention.  Make it larger; a different color; different lettering or use capital letters.

6. Space letters close together, but far enough apart that theyíre still easily readable.

7. Include American Disabilities Association (ADA) accommodations: Persons with disabilities please contact (your contact #) to inform us of your special needs.  We request notification 3 working days prior to the event to enable us to assist you to the best of our abilities.

Colors

Color is very important when making signs.  Certain color combinations work better than other colors. Here are several color combinations with the most readable colors to the least readable.

1. Purple on Yellow

2. Black on White

3. Yellow on Black

4. White on Black

5. Purple on White

6. White on Purple

7. White on Green

8. Green on White

9. Red on White

10. White on Red

11. Black on Orange

12. Orange on Black

13. Red on Green

14. Green on Red

15. 15. Yellow on White

16. White on Yellow

Where To Publicize
 
 

Try These Helpful Color Combinations When Advertising. They progress from most readable to least.
 
 







Be sure to check with your hall director and follow Department of Residence Life-posting guidelines.

6. CELEBRATING THE EVENT: ITíS SHOWTIME

Make sure that the following are accomplished to insure a successful program.

The person(s) in charge of the program should arrive early enough to make sure all last minute details are handled.

Make sure to meet presenters and special guests at a predetermined location to make them feel
comfortable and avoid confusion.

Have someone introduce all presenters and special guests at the beginning of the program.

ENJOY YOURSELF

After the program, thank the presenter and make sure that clean up and breakdown is accomplished.

Donít put it off until another time.

7. EVALUATION/Wrapping up: Youíre done . . .

This is the most important aspect of the programming process.  The information obtained will help you in planning future activities and will aid people in the future who are considering similar events.  Evaluation should be done regardless of how formal or informal your program is.  Evaluation can come in the form of verbal feedback or written feedback. Both are effective as long as you apply it to your future activities.  There are two ways in which you should evaluate your program:

1. Formal Evaluation Ė Fill out a Program Evaluation form (white copy to the Office of Residence Life, Yellow copy to your hall director, and the pink copy is  for you to keep for your records.

2. Informal Evaluation - Ask program attendees what they thought.  Evaluate and critique the results with the planning committee. Some particular things to keep in mind when evaluating:

Donít judge success by attendance alone.

What was the level of involvement between the audiences and the presenter?

Was the effort put into planning worth the results achieved?

Did the patrons feel it was worth their time? Money?

A good sign is when the presenter or speaker says to you "Letís do that again sometime soon."

Since the program was started to satisfy some need that the students had, ask yourself and them if that need was satisfied.

Donít Forget To Send A Thank You!



 
 
 
 



PROGRAM CHECKLIST

Planning

1. Is there sufficient time to plan the function to insure its success?

2. Does the planned date conflict with any other campus or residence hall programs?

3. Is the desired location available on the planned date?

4. Have funds been allocated for the event?

5. Have committee work assignments been made?

6. Is the committee culturally diverse?

7. Have all of the hall executive officers and staff members been informed of the program?
 

Special Arrangements

1. Have the necessary forms been submitted and approved to reserve the facility?

2. Is the facility accessible to community members with disabilities?

3. Have there been any arrangements for students with disabilities?

4. Have arrangements been made for food and beverage requirements?

5. Have required security deposits been paid?

6. Has entertainment been selected?

7. Has the entertainer contract been secured and approved through the proper channels?

8. Have arrangements been made for any special equipment needs (i.e., stage risers, lighting, dressing room, tickets, cash box, etc.)?

9. Check the Student handbook for University Requirements.



 
 
 
 



Publicity and Promotion

1. Check with facility manager regarding any restrictions on decorating/advertising.

2. Ensure that publicity invites all community members to attend, not just those of the topic focus.

3. Plan decorations to compliment program theme.

4. Be sure advertisements do not depict persons by stereotype.

5. Are committee members assigned to put up and take down publicity, etc.?
 

Refreshments

1. Have all arrangements been made for refreshments?

2. Has catering contract been secured?

3. Have all serving arrangements been made (set up, plates, cups, etc.)?
 

During the Event

1. Be prepared to facilitate discussion, even if the group is hesitant to open up.

2. Be prepared to appropriately confront insensitive comments or behavior of participants.

Clean-Up

1. Have individuals been assigned to a clean up committee?

2. Is cleaning equipment available if needed?

3. Check with the facility manager to know exactly what clean up procedures to follow.

After the Event

1. Have all the bills been paid?

2. Has borrowed equipment been returned?

3. Have the facilities managers been contacted for follow-up comments regarding the event and clean up?

4. Have "thank you" notes been sent?

5. Have you conducted an evaluation of this event?



 
 
 
 



PROGRAM EVALUATION

Program Evaluation forms are available at the Department of Residence Life (Plamerton 108).  Every effort will be made to try to get these evaluation forms on the internet for your completion.



 
 
 
 
 
 
 



The Year In Programming

Students go through a number of situations and emotions during the school year.  These situations and emotions change during the course of the year.  The following are some examples of studentsí needs and programming responses broken down for the months of the year.

August and September

Studentsí Needs:

Homesickness
Roommate Conflict
Value Crisis
Adjustment to New Academic Environment
Socialization
Long Distant Relationships
Financial Adjustments
Orientation to Campus
Loneliness

Program Responses:

Floor Parties
Get Acquainted Parties
Campus Tours
Cook Outs
Scavenger Hunt
Room Decoration
Birthday Calendar
Roommate Conflict
Movie Night
Pre-game Socials

October

Studentsí Needs:

Test Anxiety
Stress from Midterms
Grief from not Being Part of a Group
Summer Pregnancies Beginning to Show
Sexual Conflicts
Dating/Non-dating Relationships
Roommate Problems
Low Self-esteem
Homecoming Blues

Program Responses:

Study Workshops
Pre-game Socials
Test Taking Skills
Study Breaks
Human Sexuality Program
Parenthood Planning
Halloween Costume Party
Alcohol Policies
Door Decorating Contest
Time Management Skills
Intramural Sports

November

Studentsí Needs:

Thoughts on Suicide
Academic Pressures
Pre-final Stress
Depression and Anxiety
Increase Alcohol Consumption
Time Management Skills
Pregnancies
Roommate Problems
Health Problems
Lack of Friends
Financial Distress

Program Responses:

Floor Activities
Hair and Makeup Demo
Nutrition and Physical Fitness
Time Management Skills
Alcohol and Drug Awareness
Course Study Groups
Tutoring Programs
Thanksgiving Donations
Aerobics Program at the Rec Center
Living on a College Budget - Financial Advice

December

Studentsí Needs:

Extracurricular Activities Time Strains
Anxiety, Fear, and Guilt
Academic Failure Forthcoming
Pressure to Perform Sexually and Socially
Little Money for Holiday Presents

Program Responses:

Food and Toy Drive
Holiday Party
Secret Santa
24 Hour Study Area
Door Decorating

January

Studentsí Needs:

Post Holiday Depression
Loss of Loved One Over Break
New Student Orientation
Anxiety About 2nd Semester Performance
Money Problems
Weight Gain over Holidays
Probation Due to Grades

Program Responses:

Post New Yearís Party
Floor Feuds
Income Tax Preparation
New Year's Resolution Session
Superbowl Party
Exercise Program
Nutrition and Weight Control
Women's Month Activities

February

Studentsí Needs:

Academic Pressures
Cabin Fever
Summer Job Hunting
Relationships
Fall Housing Plans
Depression Increases for Some
Fear of "Real World" after Graduation
Apartment Hunting
 

Program Responses:

Secret Valentine's
Things to do for Spring Break
Student Financial Aid
Preparing a Resume
Job Interview Techniques
Career Placement Center Info.
Camping Trip
Off Campus Housing Program

March

Studentsí Needs:

Drug and Alcohol Abuse
Thoughts on Suicide
Academic Pressures
Senior Job Hunting
Depression Due to Separation of College Friends
Summer Job Hunting
Money for Spring Break
Senior Stress

Program Responses:

Job Search Skills
Summer Co-op
24 Hour Study for Mid-terms
Spring Break Ride Board
Travel Safety
Rape Awareness
Drug and Alcohol Awareness
Mid-term Study Groups

April

Studentsí Needs:

Academic Pressures
Frustration about Registration
Summer Job Pressures
Changing Majors
Test anxiety
Papers and Projects Pile Up
Drop-out - Graduation
Starting Crash Diets
Spring Relationship Depression

Program Responses:

Cook Out
Relaxation Techniques
Beach Party
Hall Banquets
Where to Now?
Dress for Success
Dating Skills
Class Registration Progra

May

Studentsí Needs:

Senior Panic About Jobs
Year-end Anxiety
Depression of Leaving Friends
Facing Conflict with Family
Finals Pressures

Program Responses:

How to Say Goodbye Party
Address Party
Farewell Cook Out
Finals Study Break
Roommate Appreciation
Going Home Pot luck/Good Luck Dinner
 

Programming Ideas.

Social Program Ideas

Getting to know you Pizza Party.

Hold a talent show.

Take a group of residents to go bowling or shoot pool in Surbeck.

Weekend Lunch/Cookout.

Ice Cream social: Ice cream with all the toppings, hall council serves it to keep it from becoming a huge mess and it is BYOB (bring your own bowl).

Go on a trip to the cheap movies (or regular movies).

Have a common night that anyone who wants to can meet in the t.v. lounge to watch a particular t.v. show. For instance, "Friends" or "E.R." on Thursday night.  Also, plan t.v. nights on special occasions; Academy Awards, Superbowl, etc.

Decorating your Door (Holiday Themes- Halloween, Christmas, Valentineís Day, Easter, etc.). Can build community spirit.

Visit a skating rink.

Hold a scavenger hunt.

Hold "Study Breaks" from time to time. Use food, "caffeine break"-sodas, coffee, etc., holiday decorating (Halloween, Christmas, Valentineís Day etc.), hour t.v. show, go shopping, make fudge, rice crispy treats.

Have a "movie night" every once in a while, on the floor, in a residentís or RAís room.

Have a monthly birthday celebration at the beginning of each month for everyone who has a birthday during that month.  Have cake, refreshments, presents, etc. Utilize the floor bulletin board, web-page, or e-mail to find out residents' birthdays.

Post, on the floor web-page or bulletin board, New Yearís resolutions by floor members.  This will help the residents help each other sustain their resolution and let them socialize also about their resolutions.

Hold an Easter Egg Hunt and other holiday events.

Coffeehouse: Hold a program that introduces residents to various types of coffee, espresso, and cappuccino. Teach them how to make the refreshments and mingle.

Hold a Cinco de Mayo celebration and incorporate Hispanic diversity awareness.

Hold a pumpkin-carving contest for Halloween.
 

Educational Program Ideas.
 

Have a contract renewal party for your wing.

Hold a registration information session in which an RA can explain how to register for classes to the new freshman.

Hold a "professor pick" in which students could tell each other which professors they have had, which one were good and which ones were challenging.

Car Maintenance 101. Take people to a car shop to learn basic repairs and maintenance.

Various academic programs: Study skills, time management, stress management, adapting to college life, etc.

Graduate School Information: Discussion about how to get into graduate school and the value of getting into graduate school over working and vice versa; tests and admission applications to be covered; have graduate students come in and discuss these issues.

Diet dilemmas: Have a nutritional based program that discusses the pros and cons of different eating plans and the problems associated with dieting; bring in a speaker from campus that has expertise in dieting and nutrition.

Women in the workplace: Brief discussion on the issues that women face in the workplace; possibly bring in women speakers from the community that have "real world" experience.

CPR Certification: Find a red cross CPR instructor and ask him/her to teach a CPR certification class.

Spirituality in today's world: Discuss issues facing those choosing to lead spiritual lives; bring in
community ministers and student leaders.

Hold a Cinco de Mayo celebration and incorporate Hispanic diversity awareness.

Hold a program celebrating Black History Month during that month.

Have members of various student organizations come in and talk about their organization, what they do, how they do it, and how to join if interested.

Have someone from the Career Center come talk. They can talk about how to find a job, what job you would be best suited for, etc. This is also a good program for halls with a lot of upperclassmen. Service Program Ideas.

Have a contract renewal party for your wing.

During Room consolidations, have a party for the residents to be room consolidated.  This can give them an opportunity to meet each other and decide who they wanted to be consolidated with.

Hold a registration information session in which an RA can explain how to register for classes to the new freshman.

Hold a "professor pick" in which students could tell each other which professors they have had, which one were good and which ones were challenging.

Have someone from the Career Center come talk. They can talk about how to find a job, what job you would be best suited for, etc. This is also a good program for halls with a lot of upperclassmen.

Have members of various student organizations come in and talk about their organization, what they do, how they do it, and how to join if interested.

Run a food or clothing drive.

Have your residents get involved with March of Dimes Walk America Program.
Recreation Program Ideas.

Take a group of residents to go bowling or shoot pool in Surbeck.

Dominoes: Pull out three sets of dominoes for students in lounge.  Buy two litters of soda and just have good communication and commradere.

Midnight Madpeople (men and women!): A group of residents, usually accompanied by an RA, run at 11:00pm every other night.

Hold a volleyball tournament.

Have members of various student organizations come in and talk about their organization, what they do, how they do it, and how to join if interested.

Have a "movie night" every once in a while, on the floor, in a residentís or RAís room.

Hold "Study Breaks" from time to time. Use food, "caffeine break"-sodas, coffee, etc., holiday decorating (Halloween, Christmas, Valentineís Day), hour t.v. show, go shopping, make fudge, rice crispy treats.

Go on a trip to the cheap movies (or regular movies).

Visit a skating rink.

Have a common night that anyone who wants to can meet in the t.v. lounge to watch a particular t.v. show. For instance, "Friends" or "E.R." on Thursday night. Also, plan t.v. nights on special occasions; Academy Awards, Superbowl, etc.

Hold a scavenger hunt.

Hold an Easter Egg Hunt and other holiday celebrations.

Hold a pumpkin-carving contest for Halloween.
 
 
 
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The content on these pages was originally provided by Brian C. Steinberg, the founder of http://www.theallygroup.org and http://www.safezoneforall.com (Creater of the previous: http://www.residentassistant.com/reslifepro)

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