What is residence life about?
Residence life is about much more than putting students in a room and hoping that they get along. The primary mission of the Office of Residence Life is three-fold:
- Promote, encourage and support the holistic growth and development of the residence life staff.
- Promote, encourage and support the holistic growth and development of all students.
- Promote, encourage and support the creation of a residential community.
The Office of Residence Life values:
We accomplish our mission primarily through programming and "teachable moments".
What is "programming"?
Programs (or programming) are events/activities developed by the Residence Life Staff to encourage student interaction, growth and development. We firmly believe that there is a large amount of learning that occurs outside the classroom and our events are designed to compliment the academic education. To that end, each RA is required to sponsor one event from each area of wellness (Spiritual, Occupations, Social, Physical, Intellectual and Emotional) per semester. We believe offering activities that help students grow is these areas will help them leave CUI as well-rounded people.
What are "teachable moments"?
We believe that everything we do teaches a lesson! As a result, we do our best not to teach students anything they will have to unlearn. For example, many students believe (or have learned) that having their parents call or intervene will change the outcome of a particular situation. Residence Life firmly believes in serving students to the best of our ability, regardless of parental involvement. So you can rest assured that your son or daughter will receive the same service regardless of your involvement. Many of our "teachable moments" occur during a conflict (usually roommate) where a staff member helps the student learn from a mistake or teaches them how to handle a particular situation on the spot.
What are RAs and RDs?
RA stands for Resident Assistant. RAs are students who live on the floor (or wing) with your student and serve as a resource for students. Some of their responsibilities include sponsoring events, mediating roommate conflicts, and conducting Health and Safety Checks. RAs are selected during the Spring semester and are trained and mentored by the professional staff. RD stands for Resident Director. There are four Residence Directors: Rachel Mendivel (Coordinator of Living Learning Communities and Special Programs), Johanna Lohrmann (Programming Coordinator) or Larry Rice (Training Coordinator). The RDs are highly trained, experienced, and gifted professionals that live in the buildings and are responsible for their housing area.
What if my son or daughter has a problem with his or her roommate?
As with any relationship, it sometimes takes students a while to learn how to live together and to share the same living space. While sharing a room with another person can be a test of one's patience, it can also be a very rewarding experience. Once students understand the importance of communicating their feelings, compromising and exercising patience, problems are often easily resolved. You may want to suggest that your son take the following steps to hopefully resolve the problems he is currently having with his/roommate(s):
- Air gripes and concerns immediately, before they escalate.
- Acknowledge and respect one another's feelings.
- Be realistic about expectations.
- Keep the lines of communication open at all times.
- Be considerate of one another's privacy and possessions.
There is a lot of learning that occurs outside the classroom and our goal is to help your student develop into a well-rounded individual. Some very important parts of human development are learning how to live with different people, communication skills, and conflict resolution skills. We view a roommate conflict as one of the greatest opportunities to learn all these skills. Therefore, we take a very developmentally focused approach in addressing these issues.
For instance, we require students to speak with their roommates first so they can have the experience of confrontation and develop their communication skills. If this is too much for a particular student, we try to coach them through the process so that they can go into the experience with all the necessary tools. If the confrontation of a roommate does not resolve the issue, we progressively become more and more involved. Our next step would be mediation with their RA and if that does not solve it, then the issue would go to the RD for final resolution.
What if I have questions?
If you have general questions about Residence Life, please contact the main office and Scott Keith, Director of Residential Education and Services, will respond to you. However, if you have a specific question about a roommate conflict or a specific building issue it is best that you speak with the RD from that building.