Tuesday, November 16, 2010

Res Life staff serving the world!

Oles participate in volunteer opportunities all the time, and it's great when our residence life staff gets involved! The Hill Kitt RA/JC staff formed a team to participate in putting together meals for Feed My Starving Children on campus on Friday, November 12.
The Hill Kitt staff raised almost $400 and packed enough meals to feed 152 kids for a year! These specific meals were sent to the Philippines.

Thank you to ALL of the Oles who participated and a special thank you to any and all res life student staff members who helped out!

Wednesday, October 27, 2010

Program Award Winners!

Congratulations to the Residence Life Student Staff Program Award winners for Session 1!
There were lots of great programs across campus.... but these programs were selected as some of the best this session.

Best All-Hall Programs of the Session
  • Amanda Kreun & Megan Makeever (Mohn) - "The Paula Abdul Dance Moves 80s Work-out Video" (Healthy habits)
  • Anna Fulton, Andrew Belsaas & Dan Anderson (Ellingson) - "Carniv-ELL!"
  • Erik Burton, Lauren Bartelt & John Broadway (Ellingson) - "Thirsty Thursday" alcohol education program.
Best Bulletin Boards of the Session
  • Eliza Snortland (Larson) - "Northfield Flooding information and resources"
  • Maria Ward & Jackie Scott (Kildahl) - "What does Julia Child have to do with espionage?"
  • Kayla Gronli & Dana Goetsch (Hill Kitt) - "The Human Puzzle"
Best Elective Programs of the Session
  • Andrew Belsaas & Zac Rakke (Ellingson) - "Sexual Health Scavenger Hunt"

Tuesday, October 12, 2010

Sophomore Leadership Institute

The Sophomore Leadership Institute started at St.Olaf this fall and the group has had a great first month of meetings!

The Sophomore Leadership Institute - or "SLI" - is a group of 16 sophomores interested in developing and enhancing leadership skills and talking about issues around student leadership. The group meets formally about once a month.

September's meeting was focused on defining leadership and talking about what it means to be a sophomore and a student leader at St.Olaf. October will be devoted to working with the Center for Experiential Learning on personality traits of leaders, as well as exploring civic engagement possibilities and ways to incorporate others sophomores into what the group is doing.

The 2010 (and first EVER) Sophomore Leadership Institute group...

Front row (L to R): Lauren Kramer, Patricia Garcia, Patrick Faunillan, Kari Swanson, Serena Xiong, Rachel Pauley.
Middle row (L to R): Elizabeth Harness, Mackenzie Wolter, Hannah Burson, Alisha Kasparec, Kong Vang, Sarah Moon.
Back row (L to R): Ashley Menzel, Ben Olsen.
Not pictured: Emily King and Maia Selkow.

Thursday, September 16, 2010

Area Coordinator Spotlight!

Jessica Pena
  • Hometown: I grew up in Rochester Minnesota but most recently would call my hometown in West Olive, Michigan
  • Undergraduate institution: I graduated from Calvin College in Grand Rapids, Michigan with a Major in Sociology and minor in Social Work.
  • Grad institution (and program): I attended the University of Wisconsin Oshkosh, Wisconsin. I received a Master's of Science Education in Professional Counseling and Student Affairs and Higher Education.
  • Organizations I was/am involved with include… American Counseling Association, Association of Christians in Student Development.
  • Favorite places to visit: My parents' cabin in Northern Minnesota.
  • Favorite food: Italian and Mexican.
  • The reason I work in res life is…I am very passionate about working with college students and seeing them in all aspects of their lives and watching them grow emotionally, academically, physically, and spiritually as Freshmen coming in and then seeing how they are when they leave as Seniors.
  • My favorite thing about St. Olaf is….The community of St. Olaf and how nice everyone has been to my husband and I since arriving.
  • What do I do in my free time: I like being outdoors going on walks, rollerblading, kayaking on a lake...but i also enjoy a good movie night as well.
  • One thing students should know about meI am spontaneous
Jessica is starting her first year at St. Olaf. She's the Area Coordinator in Ellingson & Larson Halls. She lives in Ellingson with her husband Moses. Jessica has office hours in both Ellingson & Larson. You can reach her at pena@stolaf.edu or 507-581-2078.

Wednesday, September 15, 2010

Area Coordinator Spotlight!

Glen Lloyd
  • Hometown: Alexandria, Virginia
  • Undergraduate institution: Catawba College (in North Carolina), majored in Communication Arts
  • Grad institution (and program): Bethel University, currently in a master's degree program in Organizational Leadership.
  • Organizations I am involved with include… St. Olaf Football (assistant coach), noon basketball, Young Life
  • Favorite places to visit: Charleston, South Carolina
  • Favorite food: Southern cooking/comfort food
  • The reason I work in res life is…to be a resource to residents to build a healthy, holistic life.
  • My favorite thing about St. Olaf is….the spirit behind UM YA YA.
  • What do I do in my free time: I watch movies and read John Grisham novels.
  • One thing students should know about merelationships are best built around meals together.
Glen is starting his fourth year at St. Olaf and his first in Residence Life. He's the Area Coordinator in Mellby & Hoyme Halls and is an assistant football coach. He lives in Mellby. Ross has office hours in both Mellby & Hoyme... you can reach him at lloyd@stolaf.edu or 507-581-1934.

Tuesday, September 14, 2010

Area Coordinator Spotlight!

Ross Jungers
  • Hometown: Prior Lake, MN
  • Undergraduate institution: University of Kansas (Major: Pschology, Minor: Leadership Studies).
  • Grad institution (and program): University of Kansas (Higher Education Administration).
  • Organizations I was involved with include… University Mascot, Housing, Cross Country, Chi Alpha.
  • Favorite places to visit: Minnesota Northshore (Duluth, Grand Marais, etc.)
  • Favorite food: Spaghetti.
  • The reason I work in res life is…I enjoy working with and for students.
  • My favorite thing about St. Olaf is….Turkey burger day in the Caf.
  • What do I do in my free time: Run, play games with Linnea, the dishes and laundry.
  • One thing students should know about meThe most played song on my iPod is - "Take your Mama" by the Scissor Sisters.
Ross is starting his fifth year at St. Olaf. He's the Area Coordinator in Kildahl & Rand Halls. He lives in Kildahl with his wife Anna and daughter Linnea. Ross has office hours in both Kildahl & Rand. You can reach him at jungers@stolaf.edu or 507-581-1914.

Wednesday, September 8, 2010

Be a part of your HALL COUNCIL!

Interested in taking on a leadership position in your residence hall? Hall Council is a great way to do it!

Check out www.oleville.com to find the link to "Election Central." You'll find information about positions, applications and deadlines.

All Hall Council applications will be due (submitted online) by 12:00 p.m. (noon) on Monday, September 20th.

Positions include President, Vice President, Treasurer, Council Recorder, Hall Senator and - in first-year halls only - the Environmental Representative. Each corridor/floor in each hall will also need representatives, so talk to your RA or JC if you are interested in that position.

Look for publicity and more information online and on the walls in your residence hall. You can also ask your Area Coordinator for more information. We look forward to seeing your application soon!

Friday, September 3, 2010

Your 2010-11 Residence Life Staff!

Here's the 2010-11 Res Life staff! You can follow us on Twitter (@StOlafResLife) or find our page on Facebook (find the group called "St. Olaf College Residence Life").

Friday, August 20, 2010

Area Coordinator Spotlight!

Ali Wobschall
  • Hometown: Medina, MN
  • Undergraduate institution: Gustavus Adolphus College, communication studies & religion majors
  • Grad institution (and program): University of St. Thomas. Counseling Psychology.
  • Organizations I was/am involved with include… basketball, track, Wellness/Peer Education, Sexual Assault Advocates
  • Favorite places to visit: Home!
  • Favorite food: Fruit
  • The reason I work in res life is…I love the college atmosphere and I think there's something really neat about the experience of living with others in a common place.
  • My favorite thing about St. Olaf is….the pride students and faculty have about being Oles!
  • What do I do in my free time: run, play basketball, visit family, organize things, watch the Vikings!
  • One thing students should know about meSundays are for football. :)
This is Ali's first year at St. Olaf. She's the Area Coordinator in Ytterboe & Hill Kitt. She lives in Ytterboe Hall with her husband Mike and has office hours in both Ytterboe & Hill Kitt. You can reach her at wobschal@stolaf.edu or 507-581-4555.

Area Coordinator Spotlight!

Amanda McConnell
  • Hometown: Grinnell, Iowa
  • Undergraduate institution: Hope College, Intercultural Studies major
  • Grad institution (and program): University of Maryland, College Park. College Student Personnel
  • Organizations I was/am involved with include…Omicron Delta Kappa, ACPA, NASPA. At U of Maryland: Ten Man/Ten Woman Plan (A Sexual Assault Prevention Program). At Hope College: Phelps Scholars Living-Learning Program, Hope's Asian Perspective Association, Black Student Union, International
  • Favorite places to visit: Tokyo, Japan; Seoul, South Korea; New Zealand; Melbourne, Australia; anywhere my friends live!
  • Favorite food: Sushi, Korean, or Thai!
  • The reason I work in res life is…I love working with students and helping them grow during college.
  • My favorite thing about St. Olaf is….the great sense of community!!!
  • What do I do in my free time: watch tv/movies
  • One thing students should know about meI am very passionate about Social Justice.
This is Amanda's first year at St. Olaf. She's the Area Coordinator in Thorson and Mohn. She lives in Thorson Hall and has office hours in both buildings. You can reach her at mcconnel@stolaf.edu or 507-581-2090.

Training starts soon!

It's almost time for residence life student staff training to start! Student Hall Coordinators move in on Tuesday, August 24; Senior RAs move in on Friday, August 27; RAs/JCs move in and start training on Saturday, August 28!

Res Life student staff training - a.k.a. "Week Zero" - is a busy, fun and intense week of training to prepare student staff to do great things in their residence halls.

The Area Coordinators have been preparing for your arrival, too! Here they are...
From left to right: Ross Jungers (Kildahl/Rand), Jessica Pena (Ellingson/Larson), Ali Wobschall (Ytterboe/Hill Kitt), Glen Lloyd (Mellby/Hoyme) and Amanda McConnell (Thorson/Mohn).

Each Area Coordinator will be featured on this blog in the next couple weeks. Just a little background information to help you get to know them!

Tuesday, June 1, 2010


It's June 1 at St. Olaf (and pretty much everywhere else, I guess), which means it's officially SUMMER on campus.

Graduation was held on a gorgeous Sunday afternoon and Memorial Day was busy as several hundred Oles packed their belongings and said goodbye.

Mohn (the summer hall) opens today and the rest of the halls clear out for a bit until summer conferences/programs show up.

The Res Life blog will likely take an extended hiatus, but check back this summer for some updates about the fall.

Have a safe, happy and relaxing summer!

Friday, April 30, 2010

InterHall Council 2009-10

Here's your St. Olaf College InterHall Council. IHC is made up of the Hall Council Presidents in the 10 residence halls. The group meets weekly to plan campus-wide events and to share info and ideas from their halls. The picture above is the 2009-10 IHC group.

They are:
Amy Kraushaar (IHC Chair)
Chelsea Ray (Thorson HC President)
Caryn McKinney (Ellingson HC President)
Hannah Trumm & Bryan Wells (Mohn HC co-Presidents)
Ben Keisling (Kildahl HC President)
Robert Pieh & Stephen Noyes (Rand HC co-Presidents)
Tim Collins (Ytterboe HC President)
Richard Aviles (Hoyme HC President)
Stanford Scriven (Mellby HC President)
Paul Ranum (Larson HC President)
Will Carlson (Hill Kitt HC President)

They did a lot of work this year to bring you some great programs (such as Casino Night and the Hunt for the Pot of Gold). Thank you, IHC!

Friday, April 16, 2010

Suite Room Showcase!

InterHall Council is once again sponsoring the Suite Room Showcase event on campus. The winners from each hall have already been selected, and the top 20 rooms (2 from each hall) are now in the campus-wide contest!

IHC (your hall council presidents) will walk around campus and judge rooms on Sunday, April 18, 2010 from 12:30 p.m. - 2:30 p.m. During the judging time, all St. Olaf students are encouraged to wander around and check out some cool rooms. You might be wondering exactly where you want to live - and ROOM DRAW is coming up soon! This event is a great way to see what rooms in all residence halls look like and to maybe get some creative decorating ideas.

Get out and enjoy the spring weather with a walk around campus and check out some cool rooms!

There will be small pink slips of paper at each front desk with a full list of participating rooms. Feel free to stop by during the two-hour judging period listed above to check 'em out.

The rooms are....
Thorson 115 and 414
Ellingson 106 and 206
Mohn 105 and 814
Kildahl 110 and 117
Rand 246 and 345/346
Hoyme 202 and 422
Mellby 301 and 410
Larson 609 and 205* (note: this is a change from the posters and small pink slips!)
Hilleboe 211 and Kittelsby 256
Ytterboe 117C and 264B

Have fun and good luck to the contestants!

Tuesday, March 16, 2010

Update: Hunt for the Pot of Gold!

The Pot of Gold has been found!!!!

Congratulations to Josef Lorentz and Shahid Jaffer! The Pot of Gold was hidden in the vicinity of the wind turbine. Congrats to Josef and Shahid for their excellent detective work...

Thank you to everyone who participated!


The InterHall Council (your Hall Council Presidents...)

Thank your Hall Council!

Yesterday (Monday, March 15, 2010) was


Say "thank you" to your corridor/floor representative and your executive board. Hall Councils work hard to put on fun events in the residence halls. The holiday gift? That's Hall Council. Food for Finals? That's Hall Council.

While the official Appreciation Day was yesterday, we ALWAYS appreciate the hard work that the councils do!

Hunt for the Pot of Gold! Clue #2

The Hunt for the Pot of Gold continues! Here is the clue for today...

Clue #2:

I'm a two-headed beast

spanning large chunks of land

I sport nine appendages

on each of my hands

between the fourth and the fifth

in a cluster of green

will be one step closer

to your PS3

*Winner must be a current St. Olaf student!*

If you find the Pot of Gold, contact Charlie in the res life office at x3011 or email potts@stolaf.edu.

Monday, March 15, 2010

Res Life Headlines

Staff in the News!

Our SHCs, SRAs, RAs, JCs, BAs, etc. do more than just work for us – they make news! Here are just some of the ways that our staff shows their awesome-ness (click on the links for the article and more information):

  • Larson SHC John Schantzen wins shot put title at NCAA Indoor Championships.
  • Mohn JC Mat Deram and team win at the annual Konhauser Problemfest.
  • Kittelsby JC Mara Fink and Hoyme JC Bryce Danielson featured in an article about the Rube Goldberg Team’s quest for victory. They probably honed their skills during the group process of their JC interview last year.
  • Kildahl BA Eric Sheforgen, Ellingson BA Nathan Meyer, and Thorson BA Sam Grasso all running for SGA positions.

Do you have other news items to share about res life staff members? Let us know! Our eagle eyes can only catch so much in the daily news, so be sure to send a note and a link to anything you want the Res Life Blog readers to know about our amazing staff!

Hunt for the Pot of Gold! Clue #1

Hey Oles!

I hope you all have heard by now about InterHall Council's "Hunt for the Pot of Gold." We're celebrating St. Patrick's Day with a little game... follow the clues to find a Pot of Gold* (contains no actual gold - but looks like it!) hidden somewhere on campus. The Pot of Gold will be hidden somewhere accessible to all students any time of day.

The prize for finding the Pot of Gold? A PLAYSTATION 3!!! How awesome is that?!?

Clues will be posted in Buntrock Commons and on this blog. Check the blog each day at 10:00 a.m. for the new clue!

Clue #1:

You probably pass me at least once a day

but whether you take notice, that I can't say

I'm helpful and useful and right on the way

A focal point of news, and I'm here to stay

Thursday, February 25, 2010



Thursday, February 25, 2010 is "Student Staff Appreciation Day." This day is intended to recognize the hard work that the Resident Assistants and Junior Counselors do in the residence halls.

Your work is appreciated all the time, but we felt it was important to set aside a day just to say THANK YOU!

Keep up the good work!

Monday, February 8, 2010

Thinking about the future...

Consider a Career in Student Affairs

Dear Res Life Blog Readers,

This is Adam, the Area Coordinator in Ellingson & Larson. For some of you the road ahead after your time here as St. Olaf is clear. Some of you may still be exploring your interests and wondering about your future. The following information is to help you to consider a career in college student affairs. The information you will find below has been collected from several professional organizations that represent student affairs professionals.

Student affairs is a relatively young profession. It has evolved over the past 100 years into a field that is dedicated to the holistic education of students and is committed to helping students develop into educated, responsible people ready to enter into the professional field. "Student affairs" is represented by a wide range of roles and departments at colleges and universities, which includes - but is not limited to: Dean Of Students Offices, Student Activities, Academic Advising, Academic Student Support, Trio, SSS, Upward Bound, Registrars Offices, Admissions Offices, Leadership and Service Offices, Multicultural Offices, Women’s Centers, LGBT Centers, and Residence Life. There are so many areas in which student affairs play a vital role to the college experience for all students. If you are interested in having a career that impacts the lives of others and a career that is driven by a passion to educate, then we encourage you to learn more about the student affairs profession. If you have any questions please feel free to seek out any of us in the Residence Life Department.

(The following information can also be viewed at the homepage for the National Association of Student Personnel Administrators...)

NASPA: Consider a Career in Student Affairs

If you answer yes to any of these questions, then you may want to consider a career in student affairs.

  • Would you like to work on a college campus?
  • Do you enjoy being a part of a dynamic and enriching environment?
  • Are you interested in making a difference in the lives of college students?
  • Are you committed to creating environments of learning, diversity, and tolerance for all people?

Who are Student Affairs Professionals? They work in a variety of settings on college and university campuses, from financial aid, orientation, and residence life to athletics, international services, and student activities. They provide services and develop programs that affect all aspects of students' lives inside and outside of the classroom. Some of the things student affairs professionals do in their day-to-day jobs include: enhancing student learning; helping students make academic and career decisions; mentoring students and helping them develop their leadership skills; and meeting students' needs by providing a range of housing, dining, health services, and recreational facilities.

If you like working in a dynamic, exciting, and enriching environment; are interested in making a difference in the lives of college student; and enjoy intellectual challenge, then you are a good candidate for a career in student affairs. Other qualities useful in student affairs work include creativity, motivation, leadership, and the abilities to work well both individually and in groups, to multi-task, to organize and coordinate work efficiently, and to be an effective communicator. You may work on developing many of these qualities during your undergraduate years.

You will also need some special skills – in advising/counseling, human development, administration, and management, for example – to enter the student affairs profession. Training in these skills will be a part of your graduate study.

Steps to Exploring a Career in Student Affairs

If the idea of a career in student affairs appeals to you, you can take these steps to learn more about the profession:

  • Talk to student affairs professionals at your school, a nearby college or your alma mater. Talk to the senior student affairs officer, usually known as the Dean of Students or the Vice President for Student Affairs. Or talk with another student affairs professional on campus – perhaps the director of orientation, the coordinator of student activities, or staff in residence life. You may want to start with a brief informational interview to learn more about what they do or set up a day of job shadowing. If you're not sure how to get started with this idea, the career services office on campus will be able to help. Also, if you are still a student or working on a campus, go a step farther and establish a mentoring relationship with one of the professionals that you talk to. Sample Informational Interview Questions
  • If you are a student, you have a great opportunity to explore your potential workplace. Take advantage of every chance you can to learn how your college works and develop your skills. If you are a student, run for an office in student government or in a student organization; serve on a judicial board; be a tour guide, orientation leader, resident assistant, or peer educator; or join a student organization. If you are not sure where to start, ask a member of the student activities staff.
  • Work in a student affairs office. Ask about internships, jobs, and volunteer opportunities in student affairs offices on campus. Consider possibilities during the summer as well as during the school year. You'll get hands-on experience and have a chance to interact with professionals in the field.
  • If your college offers an undergraduate class geared toward learning more about student affairs (or related paraprofessional or leadership classes), sign up. Often, these classes are taught by student affairs professionals and can help you learn more about your interests and preferences, as well as what it is like to work on a college campus.
  • Join a student affairs professional association. Undergraduate students can become a member of NASPA for $25 a year. Benefits include member discounts, access to publications and online resources, and a range of professional development opportunities (including regional/national conferences and workshops).
  • Explore programs designed to help you learn more about careers in student affairs and higher education. These include the NASPA Undergraduate Fellows Program, targeted toward increasing the number of ethnic minority, LGBT, and persons with disabilities in student affairs; the National Orientation Directors Association's (NODA) internship program; and the Association of College and University Housing Officers-International's (ACUHO-I) STARS College and Housing Internship programs. Learn more about graduate study. You'll find graduate programs in student affairs (also known as "college student personnel") and higher education at colleges and universities across the country. A helpful resource is NASPA's comprehensive online Directory of Graduate Programs. Once you've identified programs that you're interested in, call, write, or e-mail them to request more information. Ask for admissions, curriculum, and financial aid information, as well as information about possible assistantships and fellowships. If possible, visit the campus, meet with current students and faculty in the program, and talk with recent graduates.

Benefits of a Career in Student Affairs

The personal rewards of a career in student affairs are numerous. Here are just a few:

The Ability to Make a Difference

As a student affairs practitioner, you will have the opportunity to help students during a critical time in their development. You'll see the results of your work in the lives of individuals and the community, and build mentoring relationships with students that can last a lifetime.

A Wide Range of Choices

Student affairs offers a broad range of career possibilities. It also attracts people with many different interests. If you like business or technology, for example, you might consider a career in financial aid or admissions. If you've been active in student government or greek life, you might enjoy coordinating student activities. Or, if you like to study human behavior, career counseling or residence life might be right for you.

You can consider a career in student affairs no matter what your undergraduate major is or was. Many professionals who enter the field have a background in psychology, sociology, education, or human development. But having a major in another field – from political science to art to physics – is also useful when working in an academic setting.

Your possibilities expand even more when you consider the variety of workplaces available to you as a student affairs professional. You can choose a campus based on its geographic location, its student population, or any other requirement that's important to your life plans and career goals. All colleges and universities – large or small, public or private, two-year or four-year, rural or urban – need professionals trained in student affairs.

An Exciting Work Environment

Student affairs professionals rarely have a boring day at the office. They perform many different types of tasks – advising groups, chairing meetings, coordinating events, overseeing budgets, and working with a range of students, staff, and faculty. The campus environment continually offers new challenges and requires new strategies to deal with them. On top of that, working with students generates its own kind of energy and excitement.

Access to the Profession

There are numerous entry-level positions available each year in the nation's 4,000+ colleges and universities. Because of the need for student affairs professionals on campus, your services will be in demand.

Potential for Advancement

A master's degree in college student affairs is your ticket to enter the profession. Through assistantships and internships, you'll have the opportunity to gain valuable experience while you attend graduate school.

Once you enter the profession, the possibilities for career growth are limitless. New student affairs professionals who demonstrate talent can move quickly from entry level positions to roles of increasing responsibility.

Some student affairs professionals take advantage of the opportunity to pursue a doctoral degree, which gives them even more options, including becoming a director, a faculty member in a student affairs graduate program, a dean of students, or even a vice president for student affairs.

Fringe Benefits

Colleges and universities often offer an attractive benefits package. One of the greatest advantages is the opportunity for additional education – some schools provide tuition remission for employees and their family members. Student affairs professionals also enjoy comprehensive medical benefits, retirement plans, generous vacation time, and access to all of the cultural, recreational, and social opportunities that a college campus has to offer.

Additional Websites for Resources:



The American College Personnel Association (www.myacpa.org)

Search for Graduate School Programs at:




Wednesday, January 27, 2010

IHC's Casino Night

The St. Olaf InterHall Council held the 2nd Annual "Casino Night" on Friday, January 22, 2010. InterHall Council (IHC) is a representative group of the campus's hall councils. Each Hall Council President is on IHC and meets weekly to discuss hall council and residence hall issues as well as plan campus-wide events.

Over 550 Oles attended the free Casino Night event. Students "gambled" with chips they received at the door - the more chips they won, the more raffle tickets they could get. Prizes were raffled off during the evening... great items like iPod shuffles, Snuggies, residence hall room accessories and even a 26" Vizio HD television!

Faculty, staff and some students served as dealers. Here's Kevin Rusk from Admissions intensely dealing a hand of blackjack:
Ben Wilson, a Resident Assistant in Mellby and a former Hall Council President,
The event started at 7:30 p.m. and by 8:00 p.m. the ballrooms were getting full...
In addition to poker and blackjack, students could choose to play "less risky" games like Bingo and Super Smash Brothers...
Students exchange chips for raffle tickets...
The event was a HUGE success. IHC and the hall councils did a great job planning and organizing this event. Two years in a row with a great turn-out... next year should be even better!

Thursday, January 14, 2010

Some words of wisdom...

Are you an RA or JC who is considering coming back to staff next year? Returning as a Senior Resident Assistant or a Student Hall Coordinator can be a fun and rewarding experience. Your AC has passed out (or will give you) a sheet titled "Should I apply to be an SRA or SHC?" that includes some questions that may help you think through your options.

SRAs and SHCs do the same work that an RA or JC does, but they have some added responsibilities in the hall and with the staff. You may be working with an SRA or SHC now - if so, take a few minutes to ask them about their experience to see if it's something you'd like to pursue. Applications are available on the Residence Life website now and are due by noon on Wednesday, February 24, 2010.


The St. Olaf Residence Life Blog recently sat down with two current Student Hall Coordinators - Andrew Fjerstad (from Hoyme) and Grace Wilkinson (from Rand) to find out their thoughts on their decision to return to staff this year.
Blog: Why did you apply to be a returning staff member?
AF: I was a last-minute applicant. I realized Res Life was a really big part of my life and I really appreciated being able to work in an environment with friends... It added a little more structure and it added a little more fun [to my life].
GW: [Being on staff] was something I really enjoyed.... not only living in a community but being able to build that community. I knew I probably wouldn't live near my friends but I knew I'd still have the opportunity to spend time with them and be [an SHC].

Blog: What have been the challenges of being a returning staff member?
GW: The biggest challenge in the beginning (during Week One especially) is that you need to change your mind-set that it's NOT going to be last year.
AF: As one of only two returners on staff in Hoyme (along with Ajay - who was a JC for spring semester 2009), I got so many questions [from new JCs] at the start of the year. A lot of those questions were things that you just sort of figure out by doing it, so especially during training I was a resource for new staff and letting them know everything will work out and it will be great!
GW: Rand is half returners and half new staff, which has been great. We pair up when we do new things and having that experience and knowledge of what works and what doesn't work helps.

Blog: What are the biggest differences between being an RA/JC and being an SRA/SHC?
AF: Added responsibility. Also, you have to make sure there's more of a staff dynamic that's being fostered. It's easy to compartmentalize and be better friends with some staff members and not with others, but as the SHC or SRA you are the facilitator, so you have to step into that role of "let's include everyone." It's a lot more fun that way because you get to set the tone.

Blog: What advice do you have for those thinking about applying to be an SRA or SHC?
AF: Even if you just have the slightest inkling that you might want to apply, go through with it. I wasn't sure that I wanted to at first, but I'm so glad I did. It's opened up so many doors for me. Things work out - you need to know you will still have your friends. You have to make the effort to see them, but they are still there.
GW: It's important to think it through. Think about what role Res Life plays in your life. Why do you enjoy it? What do you find challenging? What will be harder about it next year?
AF: Another thing to do is talk to your AC about it. They can help you figure out your interests. Talk to Charlie, talk to Pamela, just talk about the position with other people. I think that's why some people [don't apply] is that they don't know what is expected of them [as a returner], so just getting those expectations understood now is good. Go to the informational session.
Blog: How do you balance your time as a returning staff member?
AF: My biggest weakness is time management. At the beginning it was difficult to get adjusted, but it's actually helped me align myself.
GW: I needed to remind myself of the RA duties that come along with the SHC duties. I needed to remember to plan those into my week.

Blog: What opportunities have you had as an SRA/SHC that you've really enjoyed?
AF: I really like making the duty schedule. It's like a puzzle and I really like puzzles!
GW: I like being part of hall council and getting the RAs involved with hall council and the hall council involved with what the RAs are doing.
AF: I really appreciate hall council. It's fun to see "the other side" of the dorm. You get to know a lot of people that you otherwise wouldn't get to know.

Blog: What was the transition like to a new supervisor?
GW: I was a little apprehensive to change because I was very used to one style. But I was really really excited to see how another AC does things and at the same time bring in the way I've done things before. [Switching supervisors] really helped me change my mindset that this year wasn't going to be exactly the same as last year.
AF: It's interesting to see different managing styles and you can learn so much from any of the ACs about yourself and how to deal with things - it's been great.

Blog: Any other words of wisdom?
AF: Do it! Apply. It's so rewarding. The reward outweighs the risk.
GW: [Being a returner] been a fantastic experience. The added responsibility, the apartment [for SHCs]. I'm really glad I'm here enjoying my last [semester] at St. Olaf with this experience.


Andrew and Grace thought talking to SRAs and SHCs about the job was very helpful in their decision-making process when they first considered applying. They encourage you to talk with some current returners to find out the pros and cons of doing this job a second time. Below is a list of current SRAs and SHCs. Send them a note, stop them in Buntrock, call 'em up - if you are contemplating the application, take a few minutes to discuss it with someone who is doing the job now and find out what advice they have. I look forward to seeing your application by February 24th!

Current SHCs:
John Schantzen (Larson)
Holly Samuelson (Hill Kitt)
Andrew Fjerstad (Hoyme)
Grace Wilkinson (Rand)
Emily McNee (Thorson)
Kate Helmich (Mohn)

Current SRAs:
Jonathan Woolums (Hill Kitt)
Michael Lenz (Larson)
Pa Houa Xiong (Mellby)
Kyle Glanton (Mohn)
Emma Johanson (Mohn)
Erin Bonawitz (Rand)
Bryce Kennedy (Rand)
Jared Fisher (Thorson)
Elizabeth Mitchell (Thorson)
Aline Skogstoe (Ytterboe)
Ben Brown (Ytterboe)

Monday, January 11, 2010

Student Staff Conference!

The Residence Life professional staff members (the five ACs, Pamela and Charlie) are members of a group called the Associated Twin Cities College Housing Administrators (or "ATCCHA").

Each year, ATCCHA sponsors a day-long conference for student staff members from all over the metro area. This conference brings together students from several campuses to share ideas, talk about the challenges and rewards of being a staff member, and to have some fun. This is really a great event and it's an opportunity to develop some leadership skills that will help you be an even better RA or JC. (This year it's titled an "RA Conference," but it's for ALL student staff members!)

This year's conference is on Saturday, February 6, 2010. This is at the very end of interim break, just before second semester starts. We'll pay your registration fee and will organize transportation.

If you are thinking of applying to be an SHC or SRA for 2010-11, I highly encourage you to attend if you are able! A couple of our returning staff this year attended last February and had a great time!

Please send me an email to let me know if you are interested (email potts@stolaf.edu). The registration is due very soon, so I'll be in touch again with a reminder and to get a final list of those interested in attending. Let me know if you have any questions, or talk to your AC about it. Please let me know if you want to attend by contacting me by Wednesday, January 13 (that's in two days...)