RAs use creativity and flexibility to create new programs for residents


Kenzie Schroeder

Warde Hall RAs and residents mask up to enjoy an event called “Pop the Bias” with splatter paint.

Kenzie Schroeder, Contributing Writer

Res Life programming is looking a bit different this year as it faces challenges from the COVID-19 pandemic.

Social distancing has thrown Res Life and RAs for a loop this year on how to bring their residence halls, apartments and townhouses together.

While coming up with programs that follow the COVID-19 rules is difficult, RAs are looking for a more creative outlet. Warde Hall RA Nick Brodfuehrer has put on two programs so far this year for his residents.

His first program took place virtually through a Mercyhurst Trivia Kahoot. His second program was in person, with masks, called “Pop the Bias”.

“Programming has been more challenging this year. Res Life has made many changes on top of new COVID-19 policies that we now have to enforce. Virtual programming is a unique experience, and it has been interesting trying to navigate how to turn a typical program into something virtual,” Brodfuehrer said.

RA for the Wayne Apartments, Lea Chojnacki, did her own outdoor program this week with her residents. She hosted a tie-dye activity which her residents really enjoyed because of its relaxing and social aspects.

“The program went well. We talked about how art can be a great resource to destress, so it was an awesome opportunity to be able to relax while also being social with other students under the new COVID-19 policies,” Chojnacki said.

All programs must incorporate one pillar from ANCHOR goals RAs must meet. Included in these pillars are values such as Health and Wellness, Respect and Consent and Normalizing Diversity and Inclusion.

Every academic school year, RAs need to complete a minimum of eight active programs and four passive programs.

Active programs should be gathering students through an engaging activity, presentation or opportunity that the residents can participate in.

Passive programs have no active participation, but still convey important information and coincide with a program pillar. Some passive programs include flyers, signage, giveaways, encouragement and social media campaigns.

One program that was hit for Lewis Townhouses was the “Chalk Your Walk” event.

Residents were given chalk for them to decorate their stoop or pathway, which allowed for some creativity in the Lewis Townhouse community. Resident and junior Intelligence Studies major Maddie Boorse was one of the students who participated in the program.

“I thought that the chalk event was a fun, creative way for residents to get outside our homes and express ourselves,” Boorse said. “It was fun to see all the designs that our neighbors did, and some people wrote “don’t forget your mask” as a reminder on their steps, which was creative.”

Despite the COVID-19 pandemic, RAs are still getting out there and hosting programs for their residents, making the Hurst feel more like home!