Month: December 2017


Residence Life Professional Staff of the Month

School: University of Hawai`i at Manoa Region: PACURH
Nominee: Niea Gardner Nominator: Matthew Markham

On-Campus Population: 3,450 Chapter Size: 34

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

As the Leadership and Programming Assistant (LPA), Niea has many responsibilities to fit into this part-time role. She co-supervises the Residence Hall Association (RHA) Executive Board (Eboard), she co-advises the Diversity and Social Justice Committee (DSJC), she manages resources that make Resident Assistants (RAs) and RHA successful, and last but not least, she co-supervises Late Nights. In December, Niea made major contributions in all these areas of her position to the benefit of the community while successfully balancing her other contributions to her growth and the larger Honolulu community.

Late Nights provide safe, substance-free alternative events throughout the year for residents on weekend nights. At the start of December, she hit the ground running and ensured that the RHA Eboard executed a successful Late Night program entitled “Baby It’s Lit Outside”. At this event, residents had the opportunity to do various winter-themed crafts and activities while enjoying free boba tea drinks and BBQ from food trucks. Her role supervising this event was made all the more challenging for a few reasons. First, she found out just days before the event that there were problems with the insurance that one of the food trucks had and she had to problem solve to ensure the event remained in compliance while not disappointing the residents who were planning on attending. Second, the event had to be hosted outside to accommodate the food trucks but there was rainy weather that night. She and the RHA Eboard redesigned the event to work with the weather. Both of these challenges were exacerbated by the fact that the professional staff member that co-supervises the events with Niea, was out of the country so she was left to problem solve on her own. These challenges did not stop Niea and the RHA Eboard from executing a successful event that was enjoyed by over 150 UHM SHS residents.

Shortly after the Late Night event, Niea worked with a group of RAs on the DSJC to host a screening of The Hunting Ground, a documentary that discusses sexual assault on college campuses. DSJC partnered with the Sex Abuse Treatment Center Hawai‘i and UHM Prevention, Awareness, Understanding Violence Program to facilitate a discussion after the film. As LPA, Niea is required to serve as co-advisor of a committee and she uses her passion and knowledge of diversity and social justice issues to work and produce quality educational events with RAs to the benefit of the residential community.

Finally, to wrap up the semester, she launched on a major project to rethink the Resource Room that is used by RAs and RHA to host their various programs for residents. The Resource Room is used by almost 150 RAs, RHA members, and other SHS staff which means it constantly needs to be restocked and managed. Just like everything Niea does, she was not content just to maintain the Resource Room as her position requires. Instead, despite an already busy December and so it would be ready before the start of spring semester, she re- imagined how the rooms was used and rearranged it to better meet the needs of everyone.

In December, while masterfully tackling all these aspects of being LPA, Niea also completed finals for seven classes across two Master’s degree programs. Additionally, she was giving back to the larger community by volunteering at the 2017 Pacific Asian Affairs Council Global Vision Summit and WorldQuest competition for over 150 high school students. While these things might not directly impact the UHM SHS community, they show the values, experiences, and time management skills that LPA Niea brings to the benefit of residents at UHM.

Word Count: 600

Date of entry into database: 2018-01-09 22:31:46

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