Wednesday, March 2, 2011

Resident assistants build community in halls

Jenna Capelle
Feature Editor

Junior theology major Ellen Bina is the resident assistant for the women in Vlazny Hall. Bina enjoys getting to know her residents’ needs and helping them individually. She likes to be a resource and to be available for students when they have decisions to make, big or small.

“As a resident assistant, I feel that I am a link between the university and student body,” said Bina.

Bina returned as a resident assistant for a second year because she had a great experience last year. Apart from her resident assistant responsibilities, she is an intern with Saint Mary’s Press. She also leads retreats with the leadership program for the Office of Campus Ministry.

“Whatever personality or dynamic you are, Residence Life needs you,” said Bina. “There’s a niche for every type of person.”

Jackie Jones is a sophomore double majoring in human services and psychology. As a resident assistant in Saint Edward’s Hall, Jones has developed great friendships with her fellow Resident Life staff and the residents in her building.

“It’s not always easy telling people what they don’t want to hear. I’m not the most assertive person but I’ve learned how to show authority when dealing with documenting residents,” said Jones.

In addition to being a resident assistant, Jones is a member of the Psychology Club, Ballroom Dance, and volunteers at the Humane Society of Winona.

Matt Tessmer, sophomore outfield player for the SMU baseball team, is a resident assistant in Saint Edward’s Hall. He’s a secondary education major with an emphasis in math. Tessmer’s responsibilities are to assist residents when they have questions and watch over the building when he’s on duty once per week and on the weekends.

The commitment of being a resident assistant has helped Tessmer manage his time better with classes and baseball practice. He decided to become a resident assistant because he thought it looked like a great opportunity to learn from a variety of people.

“The focus of Residence Life is community building,” said Bina.

To ensure this, resident assistants host programs for their residents to meet up and take a break from homework. The Residence Life staff for Saint Edward’s and Vlazny hosted a Super Bowl program for the residents, said Tessmer.

The programs have varied between different activities such as baking cookies, volunteering together and tours of sophomore dorms. Some programs are planned well in advanced and others are spontaneous, catering to what the residents want, said Jones.

For information about becoming a resident assistant in the future, visit the Residence Life Office in the basement of the Michael H. Toner Student Center.

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