I have developed an activity for resident assistants that can be used during annual training or as a session for staff development throughout the academic year. A university requested that I give a presentation on “What role does on campus housing have in the overall collegiate experience and student success?” Rather than doing the typical PowerPoint presentation and frequently cite research from Pascarella and Terenzini’s How College Affects Students, I thought I’d create a more active and creative experience. Click here to get a free PDF activity sheet that you can print and use with your own staff.
Not only do the student participants get to understand important outcomes associated with living on campus, but they get to reflect on their own personal residence life experience, and actually get to walk away with a personally-significant souvenir. Participants are given a pack of beads and a plastic bracelet strand with a knot tied in the end. You can obtain bags of these beads at a craft store, such as Michaels and Jo-Ann Fabric and Craft Stores. The activity leader reads each outcome and the participants put that bead on their bracelet strand if it pertains to them. If not, they simply leave the bead in their pack. Everyone’s experience is different, so it’s perfectly fine if they have different looking strands of beads!
Outcomes include the following:
- Orange = Held a leadership position in the halls
- Yellow = Participate in at least one extracurricular activity on campus
- Red = Resolved a conflict or argument with a roommates
- Lavender = Have a friend or have a hall mate who is GLBTQ
- Dark Blue = Participated in an living-learning community activity or program
- Pink = Feel you have made good decisions for yourself
- White =You are satisfied with being at your university
- Light Blue = Have met your significant other
- Cream = You have decided to go to graduate school
- Black = You feel that you are an independent person
- Clear Light Blue = You have decided on a profession
- Clear Dark Blue = You have a friend or hall mate who is of another culture or nation
- Clear Yellow = You enjoy your college experience
- Clear Red = Your political views have changed since high school
- Clear Pink = Your religious views have changed since high school
- Clear Green = You feel confident about your academic abilities
- Clear Orange = You feel self-confident about yourself
- Clear = You feel like you have personally grown while living in the halls
- Green = You have made close friends
- Animal (or other special bead different from the others) = You will be graduating this year
The following questions can be used to engage discussion related to the outcomes:
- Which of these outcomes stood out the most for you personally?
- How have you felt you contributed to one of these outcomes for a resident you oversee?
- What can the residence life program do to foster more of these outcomes for residents?
- How has this activity motivated you to any new action or attitude?
Additionally, the participants can continue to customize their bead strands into a bracelet or keychain with supplies you provide. This can include lettered beads into which they can incorporate their names. This is a great way for your staff to learn about the important role of living on campus while also giving them time to bond, share their own experiences with each other, and be creative.
Please comment below if you use this activity and let us know how it went!