An update from Ann Batenburg, Faculty in Residence (FiR) for the Virginia-Snider Residential Commons:
Week 1, August 12: First Impressions
The Boulevard is my front lawn. Before I completely moved in, I quickly decided that I am never leaving.
I feel like I’ve moved into a fancy hotel. My apartment in the residence hall, carved out of the space in which several student rooms used to be, is swanky by my standards: beautiful hardwood floors, granite countertops, a larger kitchen and pantry than my cooking skills deserve, top of the line appliances and cabinetry, two bedrooms, and 2.5 baths in roughly 1,400 square feet of space. I am swimming in luxury. One of the resident assistants noted tonight that she felt like she was in a real home that was far away from her room in the residence hall. I think it’s like that scene from Harry Potter when they are at the Quidditch World Cup: there are a bunch of standard tents all over, but when you open the tent flaps, you find a mansion. (Undetectable extension charm.) A la Doctor Who’s TARDIS, it’s bigger – and nicer – on the inside than anyone could possibly expect.
My first official meeting was with the residence hall director and the 7 resident assistants with whom I will be working. We met for about 90 minutes, introduced ourselves, went over expectations, and began brainstorming programming ideas. We decided immediately that one good idea that would “stick” would be “Sunday Night Snacks” (SNS). I will bake cookies and have other munchies available for students on Sunday nights during the semester. Students can stop by to grab a bite and leave, or they can stay for a chat. Apparently, any programming will be tolerated if food accompanies it. We all put forth various ideas for programs for students: a knighting ceremony for the Order of the Elephant, Pancakes and Potter, and Wellness programs. This residence hall team, as in every residence hall, has specific goals for programming during the first six weeks of the semester, so we knocked out plans for those programs, and then made plans to discuss ideas further at our next big meeting.
This group of people has been so welcoming to me. I feel very comfortable and supported already. We had a spontaneous meal together in Umph toward the end of the week. Tonight, we had our first inaugural SNS. What a lovely bunch of people! I liked them all immediately. The RAs are an interesting and diverse group of undergraduates, taking on an immense amount of responsibility and training. RAs go through eight intense days of training (8 to 10 hours each day) before the opening day (move-in). I am a small part of that training, though I have been welcomed to all of it. Tomorrow, I have four hours set aside to meet with them to discuss programming, and Tuesday, another three hours. All hands will be on deck for move-in day, so it will be an intense week! This first week before classes begin is definitely devoted to the “in Residence” part of the “Faculty in Residence.”
I am sure I have syllabi to write somewhere.