Month: October 2017


Residential Community of the Month

School: Georgia State University Region: SAACURH
Nominee: University Commons B Nominator: Brett Ellis

On-Campus Population: 5100 Chapter Size: 51

Please explain the outstanding contributions of the nominee during the month of nomination

The Golden Rule states: "Do unto others as you would have them do unto you." This assumes that people want to be treated the way that you want to be treated. While this concept is built on good intentions, it is not the best approach to working with students.

Commons B decided to use the Platinum Rule to guide its actions during October. The Platinum Rule states, "Treat others the way THEY want to be treated." Many times, residence life staff allow their beliefs, ideas, and assumptions to dictate what should be provided to students. Events, services, and resources are often provided based on what the professionals think would be best for students. The Commons B staff decided to shift their focus to more of an individualized and needs-based model this month.

The first thing to assess was to understand what Commons B residents really wanted. Because the community is mostly upperclassmen, they indicated convenience as the most important factor determining what they wanted to see. They didn't want to have to go out of their way to receive the resources they needed, so Commons B decided to meet them where they were…IN THE RESIDENCE HALLS! The idea was to bring the services they needed into the building, so residents didn't have the obstacles of transportation, weather, time, etc. preventing their participation.

The first implementation of the Platinum Rule was to make that a centralized idea with the bulletin board theme choices of conflict resolution or hunger/homelessness. Conflict resolution bulletin boards evolved from generic conflict mediation tips to placing emphasis on empathy and understanding how their actions affect their roommates’ emotions. The hunger/homelessness boards shifted from providing statistics and random facts to sharing stories of homeless individuals and personalizing the challenges. The quality of the bulletin boards increased dramatically as well by placing more importance on the potential impact on the readers.

The next implementation was to collaborate with Career Services to bring employers into the residence halls. This had never been done before, but it could change how campus/college recruiters interact with local colleges and universities. Throughout the month of October, Amazon, Chick-Fil-A, Urban Educators, and the Atlanta Braves tabled in the University Commons to talk to residents about the potential employment opportunities and internships with their companies. This collaboration went so well that a post about it on LinkedIn received over 6100 views! Many local recruiters and college administrators from around the country commented that they would be trying this approach in the future.

The final implementation was a large, building-wide program facilitated by the Commons B Resident Assistants. In 1-on-1 conversations with residents, the Commons B RAs explained that this was a very stressful time of the year for students with midterms, roommate issues, etc. They decided to plan a stress relief program called “Chill Out.” However, this program would be structured differently to accommodate the needs of the residents. Because convenience was so important to their residents, they wanted the program to have a stop-and-go feel. Residents could stop by for 5-10 minutes before or after classes or work to relieve their stress. There were 4 different stations for residents to make their own essential oils blends, interact with puppies from a local dog shelter, attend brief meditation sessions, and complete a survey to receive a free dessert. Over 300 residents attended the event, and the surveys showed that 97% of residents felt the event helped relieve their stress.

The Platinum Rule will continue to be a central focus for Commons B this year, and it is a great model for others try in their communities.

Word Count: 600

Date of entry into database: 2017-10-30 15:50:25

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