Any student who has lived in the residence halls has most likely seen different posters every week advertising an activity being put on by an RA. The activities can range from doing arts and crafts, playing games or watching a movie, but what is the purpose of these activities?
According to RAs AJ Arechiga and Greg Russel, who respectively work in Puterbaugh and Ward halls, the goal is all about getting students involved with others on campus through various activities, usually by taking a group of residents to events held on campus or holding their own activities for residents.
“It is the expectation of RAs to take residents to campus wide events to encourage residents to get involved with different communities and organizations that Ferris State has to offer,” Russel said. “Likewise, RAs put on their own events, which have some sort of educational but fun aspect to them… Encouraging student involvement on campus has influenced many different resident’s lives, where friendships are established along with other connections on campus.”
Even though the activities are a part of doing their job, it doesn’t mean that RAs don’t like participating in them. In fact, the reality is quite the opposite.
“My favorite part of my job is interacting with residents,” Arechiga said.
Russel had a similar sentiment, “I love doing activities with residents. Each activity an RA puts on has hours of thought and preparation. Having residents in the community attend and even enjoy themselves is fulfilling as an RA.”
Of course, the activities are not only enjoyed by the RAs, residents also like having something to do. Junior Bailey Good, who lives in Ward hall, said that in past years she didn’t go to that many activities, but now she attends and prefers the events that interest her and offer her free things.
Of course, there are certain activities that are considered favorites. As RAs, Arechiga and Russel like the bigger events.
“I like planning all halls because we are given a larger budget, and typically we are able to get more residents to engage,” Arechiga said.
“Through my experiences, we had a massive north-campus Mario event where residents went to each residence hall on north campus, played certain games, won tickets and competed in a raffle,” Russel said. “I love planning these types of events because they really bring tons of different people together to make new connections.”
As a resident, Good prefers programs that can offer a distraction from school.
“I really like programs that calm me or take my mind off of school work for a little while,” Good said. “Crafts are so much fun and an easy distraction when I need a break from homework.”
Even though the RAs do put on these activities, sometimes residents don’t attend, and that can be disappointing. It doesn’t deter RAs from trying to plan the best activities, though.
“While turn out has declined over the past couple of years, I try to remain optimistic and maintain a high quality of events that I plan. While there may be less turn out at these events, it’s even more important to be looking to make a quality event,” Russel said. “I would say that an event was successful if three residents showed up and genuinely learned something they could adapt into their lives, rather than 100 people showing up and grabbing a snack and leaving.”
If all RAs put in their best efforts when it comes to creating activities that they think students will enjoy, then perhaps more students should consider attending some activities, they may be pleasantly surprised by the experience.