NWACUHO
Northwest Association of College & University Housing Officers

A Quick Note to People Who Work in Residence

Curran Craig

Residence Life Coordinator, Grant MacEwan University

 

I have been living in residences now for somewhere around 7 years, the last two as a Residence Life Coordinator.   As many people in this line of work, I started off by getting involved in my undergrad.  I didn’t know what I wanted to do in terms of getting an education, but I knew I wanted to do something where I lived.

As I mentioned above, I started off as a volunteer.  I was convinced to sing a Backstreet Boys song at a karaoke night with the student administrator of the residence discipline system and a couple of VPs from the community association.  It was pretty appalling, but I felt that certain connection that you can only really have after singing Backstreet Boys in front of a large crowd, and with a little coaxing,  I signed up to be a volunteer on the discipline committee.  This experience taught me two important lesson:  1-sometimes, the Backstreet Boys really do bring people together and 2-sometimes you have to get out of your comfort zone to get others involved.

Fast forward a year and I find myself in the position of the disciplinary administrator and community service coordinator.  During this time, I found myself struggling through school, trying to find my own identity, and in general, figure out what I wanted to do with my life.  I had some great guidance from a number of people that kept me on track and provided me with some invaluable insights.  A friend and mentor of mine, Karl, was inspiring in his dedication and willingness to help out.  In fact, he was so inspirational that he convinced me to run for the president of the community association.  I learned a great deal about diplomacy from Karl, and the importance of being able to laugh and have fun in whatever position you find yourself in.

Jump ahead and I find myself as president of the community association and with a great new RLC, Chris.  His easygoing personality, patience and willingness to work together to get things done for the residence taught me a thing or two about how to do things.  Chris was very helpful in navigating some of the politics that come up within residence life.

The next year, I became a Residence Assistant, and had a new RLC, Mel.  During this year I decided that it was time to go big and leave something for the next group of people coming through.  So, with the help and support of my RLC, I organized an inter-resident blood drive for the last semester.   I had originally set a goal of 110 donations, but because I was going big, I bumped it up to 150.  We ended the year with 143 total donations, which was great.  I even won an award for that, which was unexpected. The award was great, but even better was that I had helped save a possible 429 lives with those donations and even more if those people continue to donate on a regular basis.  Not bad for my last year I figured.  A lot of this was due to the time and effort that Mel put in to help me along the way.

In closing, I think that it’s important to recognize the people that have really helped me and scores of others out along the way because it is unlikely that I would have ended up where I am now without the support and dedication of these people.  I‘ve learned a lot from everyone that I have been lucky enough to work with; from fellow students up to those in charge of running things.  So to all the people that take the time to slow down and chat when you have a million things to do, to those that put countless hours in behind the scenes, to those that are there for students when they need it most: thanks.  For some, words that you probably don’t hear enough, so I thought that I would say it on behalf of myself and those that don’t yet realize the difference you’ll make.

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