Month: August 2017


Passive Program of the Month
Ask Me About.....

School: Virginia Tech Region: SAACURH
Person in charge: Zachary Herritt Nominator: Amy Davis

Target Population: 52 Time Needed to Organize: 3 hours
Number of People in Attendance: Date(s) of Program: August 28th- present
Number of People Needed to Organize: 1 Cost of Program: $0
On-Campus Population: 9400 Chapter Size: 94

Origin of Program:

In preparation for his second year as Resident Advisor, Zach brainstormed ideas for a meaningful theme for his hall that he could focus on during the entirety of the school year. He hoped the theme would bring an additional sense of unity and connectedness to his hall as he strived to create a community based on understanding, civility and inclusiveness. Zach decided on the theme of Questions. As an engineering student, Zach is incredibly curious and always challenging himself to answer the question of “why” and to discover more about topics he is not familiar with. This theme and his goals inspired him to create the passive program titled “Ask me about…”

Word Count: 113

Please give a short description of the program:

At his first community meeting in August, Zach gave each one of his residents a notecard that asked for their name, birthday, a fun fact, and a line that said “Ask me about ____.” Within the next two days, Zach typed and printed all of the responses of what residents said they wanted to be asked about, glued them on colored construction paper then taped them beneath each residents’ door name tag. Zach received an authentic and diverse collection of responses. Residents listed topics including, drawing, “environmental things”, politics, music, computer software, movies, TV shows, video games, fishing, space, and different sports and subjects in school. Some students also listed topics such as traveling, their hometown, or country of origin. Quite a few students responded with “anything,” with the reasoning that they were open to any conversation others wanted to have. With the statements present on the hall, residents are able to freely engage with each other at their leisure. They are able to find and make connections with those who share similar conversation topic interests or learn from those with different passions.

Word Count: 184

Goals of the program:

One of the goals of the program was to serve as a means to casually start dialogue between residents as they began to know each other at the beginning of the year. Zach hoped to engage residents early in conversations about their interests and topics they feel comfortable discussing. He hopes this passive program will pave the way for deeper conversations later in the year as residents feel more comfortable discussing values and their points of view. Zach realizes that asking questions leads to understanding, which in turn can minimize conflict and help create a safe community atmosphere.

Word Count: 98

Positive and lasting effects of the program:

Within the first 24 hours of having the signs up, Zach had multiple residents come to his room to discuss his topic that he listed, which is religion. Zach was able to share his beliefs with residents as they shared theirs with him. This led to a deeper understanding and connection between them. Additionally, Zach has noticed residents who live on opposite ends of the hallway interacting and bonding over shared interests, particularly sports. I think the effects will be long lasting this semester as Zach builds a community based on dialogue, mutual respect, civility and understanding. I look forward to seeing the longer-lasting effects this program has throughout the year.

Word Count: 112

Short evaluation of the program:

They say the first few weeks as an RA are critical for building relationships with your residents and community on the hall. Zach proactively created this program within the first five days of his residents moving in so they could engage in conversation and learn about each other early at the very start of the year. An additional strength of this program is that it involved all 51 residents on the hall. It allowed individuals who are both introverted and extroverted to passively share the things they feel passionate about. It also provides a way for residents on opposite ends of the hallway to engage in conversation as they can ask each other about topics as they walk down the hallway.

Word Count: 121

How could this program be adapted to other campuses?

Resident Advisors on other campuses could easily replicate this program, as no special materials are required. This passive program could transform into an active event where students wear an “Ask me about…” nametag with their chosen topics listed on the tag. Students could then engage in conversation with multiple individuals with the opportunity to find someone with similar interests or also opposing viewpoints. A discussion on civility could follow. Additionally, this program could help narrow that gap that often exists between residents and professional staff. Staff could have an “Ask me about…” sign outside of their office to serve as a conversation starter to build relationships and encourage students to visit.

Word Count: 111

Date of entry into database: 2017-09-08 22:55:08

NRHH Database Home