Month: November 2017


Resident Assistant of the Month

School: Indiana University Purdue University Indianapolis Region: GLACURH
Nominee: Natalie Mendez Nominator: Rebecca Yeh

On-Campus Population: 2400 Chapter Size: 24

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

Natalie Mendez is a senior and second-year resident assistant (RA) at Ball Residence Hall. She serves a community of fifty-two first-year students. This month, Natalie planned astronomical programs, supported her residents, and superseded what was expected of her in the RA role.

The eleven-membered staff planned a building-wide program called “Around the World in 4 Days”. Each day was dedicated toward a different continent. Prior to the weeklong event, Natalie enthusiastically volunteered to assist with decorations. She helped create banners by stringing flags together and a display of the globe covered with handprints. Natalie was part of the group that put on Asia Day. She put together the shopping list, coordinated collaboration with the Tai Chi Club on campus, and prepared the food for the program. The program’s success was largely influenced by Natalie’s commitment to educating residents and proactive leadership within the group. Following Asia Day, Natalie took charge on America Day where she 1) recognized and voiced that American culture is made up of numerous other cultures, 2) therefore, this should be reflected in the menu, and 3) put together a jeopardy game to assess students’ learning throughout the week. While facilitating the jeopardy game at America Day, Natalie did not delay in educating a resident when they made a derogatory comment when others remained silent or walked away. She is not one to keep quiet in times of injustice and oppression.

In a second program, “Is Everyone Really Equal?”, Natalie implemented what she learned through her education courses. The program was designed to raise awareness for socioeconomic status and privilege. Residents attending the programs were separated into three groups, an “upper”, “middle”, and “lower” class. Residents in the upper class were served wings, residents in the middle class were served pizza, and residents in the lower class were served instant noodles. Natalie facilitated an activity where residents all stood in a line and stepped forwards and backwards depending on statements that may or may not have applied to them (ex. “Step forward if your family owned their own home” and “Step back if either of your parents did not graduate from college”) as an avenue of visualizing privilege. Then, Natalie facilitated a discussion on privilege and socioeconomic status by reinforcing what residents were saying and hitting on the take-home messages.

Furthermore, she easily wrote over a hundred encouraging messages on post-it notes for a passive program. She stuck them on the back of restroom stalls for her residents as final exams were approaching.

Separate from her programming responsibilities, Natalie supports her residents’ personal health and needs. She had an overwhelming number of residents who would benefit from counseling and psychological services (CAPS). However, CAPS was full for the semester and in the process of scheduling students for the spring. Natalie worked closely with her supervisor to provide assistance to her residents in a timely manner. Additionally, she conducted roommate mediations to ensure a positive living experience for her residents.

The housing and residence life department at Indiana University–Purdue University Indianapolis (IUPUI) conducts an annual winter training session for RAs. As a returning RA, Natalie actively volunteered to put together a program on how not to get burnt out as an RA for training. From the outside, one would have never known the chaos simultaneously occurring in her personal life because of how professional and put-together she presented herself in the month of November. She puts the needs of others before hers and that is a very admirable quality. Natalie embodies the saying, “Not all heroes wear capes.” This hero wears a red polo, khakis, and fuzzy slippers.

Word Count: 600

Date of entry into database: 2017-12-05 11:25:05

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