NACURH Winner
Month: May 2019

NACURH, INC.

Advisor of the Month

School: Western Oregon University Region: PACURH
Nominee: TJ Smith Nominator: Kaiana Bradley

On-Campus Population: 1500 Chapter Size: 20

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

This year, the structure of the Hall Government for the on-campus apartments, Arbor Park, was altered to allow more flexibility within the group. This change was prompted by an observation that a traditional, structured Hall Government did not function well within the group of entirely upperclassmen. The new group, the Arbor Park Activity Committee (APAC), only has to elect a treasurer and the rest of the group is made up of general members. With every new system, there is always a learning curve. APAC found that the lack of designated positions could make it difficult at times to determine a leader. This is where APAC’s Advising Resident Assistant, TJ Smith comes into play.

The month of May was a busy time for APAC as they prepared for their biggest program yet, a campus-wide funfair they called Enchanted Forest. At an APAC meeting during the month of May, I got to see TJ’s advising skills in action. TJ helped two committee chairs lead a conversation on deciding which activities to keep and cut depending on the budget they had for the program. When part of the group started to get down about running out of money for all of the ideas they had, TJ reminded them of cheaper versions they could trade for or other areas where money could be taken from to help. Other members of the group let their ideas soar to high heights to which TJ was able to remind them of the budget and the necessity of choosing activities with intent. TJ took on the advisor role flawlessly, mediating this discussion between peers his own age. His skills only continued to shine as the month continued.

We had had weeks of beautiful Oregon sunshine and Saturday, May 25, the day of Enchanted Forest, was the one day the forecast called for rain. The rain did not fail to show, threatening to cancel APAC’s program they had been working so hard for. When volunteers showed up to set up, TJ already had his members pulling activities into a nearby building, turning classrooms into craft centers and movie theaters and filling the hallways between them with games. His quick thinking and ability to delegate tasks saved their feature program and calmed his committee members who were able to stay excited about this event they were so passionate about. TJ took on the role of managing volunteers and completing tasks behind the scenes, all while maintaining a positive attitude. He never failed to spread this positivity as he thanked everyone who donated their time to help make the program possible.

TJ went through the same Resident Assistant training course as I did in 2017 during our first year at Western Oregon and it was so great to see him absolutely flourishing in this Advising Resident Assistant role every time I saw him at work this May. The Merriam-Webster definition of the word “advisor” is simply “someone who gives advice,” yet TJ Smith has done so much more than that. He has managed to balance the roles of student, Resident Assistant, and advisor smoothly and, from what I saw this month, to truly run with these roles. He has done way more for his activity committee than provide advice. He has provided an outlet for these students to let their creativity fly, to feel valued, and most of all to feel supported.

Word Count: 562


Date of entry into database: 2019-06-06 01:55:08

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