Month: September 2018


Spotlight of the Month

School: UNC Chapel Hill Region: SAACURH
Nominee: Balance RLP Leadership Team Nominator: Katie Lewis

On-Campus Population: 9000 Chapter Size: 35

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

It is with great honor I submit a Spotlight Of the Month award to the Balance Residential Learning Program (RLP) Leadership Team, otherwise known as BLT, for the month of September. The following members on BLT include Resident Advisors (RAs) Josh Boll and Mads Pennington, along with residents Will Barrett, Natalie Giduz, Katy Howard, Grace Jung, Vidhi Shah, and Dalton Wheeless.

Balance is a community that helps residents to explore the Eight Dimension of Wellness - emotional, environmental, financial, intellectual, career, physical, social, and spiritual. Balance strives to build a supportive community where residents feel connected, comfortable, and capable of making the most of their experience at Carolina alongside their peers. BLT, comprised mostly of volunteer student leaders, dedicate their time, energy, and commitment to Balance's mission, vision, values, and goals stated above. While they gain skills related to leadership, communication, and mentoring, they are intrinsically motivated to serve the community.

Balance, and in particular BLT, went through an evolution in its program and structure based on resident and BLT feedback from previous years. The most noteworthy changes include a strong partnership with the Center for Student Wellness on campus, its policies around responsible alcohol consumption for residents of legal age, its programmatic components, and its leadership board. As the Community Director for this RLP, I have never seen a Leadership Team more adaptable and committed to these revisions.

Firstly, BLT opened its minds and hearts welcoming two RAs to lead the program's efforts, although they weren't past participants of Balance; BLT recognized their passion, enthusiasm, and skills that would translate well to the community. With a mixture of new and returning BLT members, the team has embraced its opportunity to be innovative, which keeping the spirit and tradition of the community alive. With fewer individuals on BLT than previous years, the group has been successfully carrying its weight to implement all the initiatives it has in store.

Some new components implemented in Balance include BLT members serving in a 'peer mentor' capacity; this allows for the primary role of BLT to support residents' individual needs and connect them with the community on a more intimate level. With a RLP of over 50 residents, it can be daunting to get to know each person organically; clusters allow for residents to interact with members in the community they may not otherwise have met. Each BLT member is responsible for checking in with their clusters, facilitate our new journaling initiative, and create opportunities for their groups to connect socially. As a result of this change, BLT members report feeling more connected to their peers in the community even only after being together for just a few short weeks. BLT members also report increased resident engagement and interaction not only in person at social and educational programs, but also through communication channels.

BLT also created a strategic and realistic recruitment plan to retain current members and raise awareness to prospective members that will be implemented throughout the next few months. BLT has also worked with Student Wellness to gain wellness resources and to implement workshops specifically for the community. So far there has been great turnout at these workshops and educational programs, and I am confident that is, in large part, due to the dedication and encouragement of BLT.

Because of BLT's enthusiasm and buy-in to recent changes in Balance, I strongly believe that BLT is worthy of recognition for the month of September. With such a strong start to the semester, I am excited to experience what's in store for Balance and the hard work BLT will continue to practice.

Word Count: 599

Date of entry into database: 2018-10-03 13:02:33

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