Resident Advisors work to keep their residents engaged during this difficult time, while respecting CDC guidelines.
School life has changed drastically for everyone ever since the COVID-19 pandemic hit the world. Causing many to wonder, how will we manage to adjust to our new normal?
As Saint Mary’s continues to reopen and welcome back students on campus, there is a need to maintain a balance between keeping on campus residents enjoying their time in a residence hall, and the new campus guidelines set by Saint Mary’s. Resident Advisors (RA) have a challenge ahead of themselves trying to plan hall events, and keeping the residents safe and following SMC guidelines. This comes with increasing difficulty as the virus has proven to be very contagious in the wake of the superspreader event that occurred at the White House earlier last month. Where several people in attendance contracted the virus, proving that no one is immune.
RA’s are now tasked with making sure that their residents are enjoying their time in a residence hall, while also ensuring their safety. Samantha Newman, an RA in the townhouse Thille, has been doing all she can to create a space for residents by hosting hall events. Per the schools guidelines, all events must be hosted via Zoom. So far she has done self care nights, paint nights, online learning tips, and encouraged residents to also attend other school events like SCAAR events.
“I want the students to feel involved, rather than feel locked in their rooms,” mentions Newman. That is why she puts all the thought she can into hosting these events and encouraging her residents to be involved. Being with upperclassmen the attendance to some of these events are naturally lower due to students having been on campus for some time, however Newman still works to provide events that appeal to them.
All RA’s need to remain fluid during these ever changing times as anything can change in an instant. To prepare for quick changes all RA’s attend weekly meetings with Residential Experience to ensure that they have the most up to date information. During these meetings RA’s will receive updates from Saint Mary’s administration about updated school and county guidelines.
Tom Latz, a first year RA in Mitty Hall, is excited that the school has just given the greenlight to allowing in person hall events (given they take place outside and all must wear a mask and physically distance). He sees this as a step in the right direction as he can plan more fun events for the first year students who are new to the college experience.
“Since most of the students are alone in their rooms I try to plan fun events that can get them involved, like hosting an Among Us game night over Zoom,” mentions Latz as he bakes cookies for residents. Baking for residents is now allowed to happen again as the school has begun to lessen the restrictions as cases go down in the county.
“All the RA’s are doing their best adjusting to the new normal and they are all doing so well,” says Latz. He is very happy with the turnout of students to his hall events and seems to be really enjoying their time living on campus.
All the RA’s must remain ready for things to change in an instant, as this pandemic is ever changing. But they are all doing their best navigating these challenges, while ensuring they are involving students and keeping their safety as a top priority. In the new age of living during a pandemic we need to start adjusting to a new normal, where we can have fun but ensure the safety of us and others around us.
Victoria Vidales '21,