Month: January 2019


Residence Life Professional Staff of the Month

School: University of Florida Region: SAACURH
Nominee: Rafa Cruzado Nominator: Scott Blackburn

On-Campus Population: 9300 Chapter Size: 93

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

When proposing attending a Foundations of Teamwork leadership retreat at Disney World, you would doubt that the Associate Director of Finance would support it, let alone become an Advisor on the trip. However, Rafa Cruzado did just that and has created a lasting bond with the 13 student leaders he accompanied. In January, he supported this leadership retreat as well as addressed student-employment stipend concerns distinguishing himself as the January Residence Life Professional Staff Member of the month.

Heading into the retreat, there was confusion regarding coordinating schedules of three student organization executive boards as well as two professional staff members. Rafa ensured setting up meeting times to have agendas planned as well as transportation and lodging arranged even joining the Tri-Board Bonding Social 5:30-7:30pm on Friday 1/18. Yes, he delayed his weekend to bond with the students prior to the trip! Initially the plan was to leave early in the morning and have a marathon day before heading back, but Rafa found the budgetary resources to allow us to stay overnight for the weekend 1/25 - 1/27. While driving to Disney he supported a fun sense of competition between vans with his "ride or die" mantra and quips/memes in the groupme at whichever van was behind the other.

While at Disney, Rafa ensured all logistics of the day were planned out and each group would have fun. He obtained all park passes after the retreat session ended navigating the various guest services lines. Additionally, during the teamwork session, he actively challenged the students in defining what a team is as well as activities forming a consensus. Further, he actively participated in a group improv activity rather than standing off to the side. A debriefing session discussing the lasting takeaways of the program as well as building bonds between the three organizations: National Residence Hall Honorary, Staff Advisory Board, and Inter-Residence Hall Association was also held affirming Rafa's commitment to seeing programs like this, benefiting the student leaders, continue.

The students fell in love with him, "several times Rafa made sure to tell us explicitly how much respect he has for us as student leaders." --Casey Diduryk. He also spoke on how his views of leadership are to let people be themselves and their personalities shine. The finance department is often heard laughing and Rafa actively pursues getting to know students rather than being an obscure housing director only found in their office. In fact, multiple employees in the main housing office say he is continuing to talk about this Disney trip weeks after it happened.

Beyond the Leadership Retreat at Disney, Rafa also assisted addressing student- employment stipend concerns in January. On January 4th graduate students and RA's discovered that the advertised stipend amounts were not aligning with amounts in paychecks. Housing quickly began assessing the issue to determine the cause for this payroll issue. Updates were shared on the 17th, 25th, and 31st with Rafa meeting with representatives from HR, Housing, and housing student employees to explain the issue and process moving forward. On the 31st, it was revealed that student employees could pick-up an emergency back-pay check to make up for the missing wages. Throughout this stressful time, Rafa maintained positivity assuring a solution would be found.

Despite claiming to be more nervous at leading a domestic trip than leading an international trip like he used to, Rafa embodied amazing leadership developing lasting bonds with the students and did not appear to be nervous at all! Thank you Rafa for breaking assumptions about Finance directors and being the January Residence Life Professional Staff Member of the month.

Word Count: 600

Date of entry into database: 2019-02-05 14:36:50

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