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Life Hacks in the PRC

There is nothing worse than gathering up all your project materials and carrying them back to your dorm only to realize that you forgot bordette, a picture or a stencil.
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And somehow at least one of those pesky letters always seems to get up and walk away. We have all been there, myself included. I once walked from the Programming Resource Center all the way over to the Campus Center only to realize once I was standing in front of my board that I forgot background paper. There was a good minute or so where I contemplated just completing the board without it, but I begrudgingly went all the back to the PRC and cut myself enough green background paper to make three bulletin boards. (Don’t worry; I brought back the remaining scraps the next day. We need not waste). This sudden realization that something was forgotten or left behind can really put you on edge. Here are some ‘PRC hacks’ that will help your board creation go smoothly.

Keep Track of Your Letters. This may seem obvious, but it is one of the most common problems. There is actually a whole drawer in the pre-cut stencil box dedicated to lost letters. It also really helps to count out your letters beforehand on a post it note so you aren’t counting off in your head at the stencil station. And once you cut out all your letters, head on over to the adhesive machine. As you push your letters through, spell everything out. This way you can make sure that you have everything and can grab one before you leave. This is also really helpful to do with stencils. It also keeps all your letters on one giant sticker sheet, which is pretty hard to lose. 3Xuzn5l

Measure Twice, Cut Once. Once you get to the point where you are ready to cut out your background paper, make sure you know the dimensions of your board. If you don’t know or forgot to measure, we have your back on this one. There is a binder in the PRC that had all the dimensions of the bulletin boards in every hall in every dorm on campus. I would even recommend using this to double check your sizes. Once you know your sizes, measure out your background paper. Give yourself about 6 inches of wiggle room on each dimension. You can always cut down your background paper, but once it is cut you cannot add anymore. Then roll it up and use a rubber band to keep it nice and smooth. This will also prevent tearing from happening. tumblr_inline_mtcq8d1kyo1r79k32

Keep All Your Materials in the Same Place. The PRC is a big, wonderful space to work in, there is no denying that, but there are some drawbacks to this. When you go from working at the stencils to the glitter table, some things can get left behind. So as soon as you come in to work, claim a spot that will be designated as your holding station. Then after each work station, go back to your holding station and drop things off, pick things up or look at your to-do list. This will also help you keep track of how much more you have left to accomplish. Then once you are ready to head out, you only have to check one area for everything. tumblr_inline_mso18p6ZnS1qz4rgp

Have a Game Plan. You may have a great idea for a bulletin board in your head, but please plan it out before you get here. Or plan it out in the PRC, but before you starting cutting and printing; you should have an idea of what the end goal is going to look like. This way you can streamline the process and get your board up faster and with less hassle. I find that people who just have a conceptual idea in their head about a board tend to make more trips to the PRC for that one board. Planning is an essential part of the process.
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These are just some basics hacks, but they make things so much easier. If you keep yourself organized and do the things I have outlined above, you will thank yourself in the end. Then you can celebrate your successful new board. tumblr_inline_msv0ys73lW1qz4rgp

Hmm..how pINTERESTING

You guessed it! This blog post is going to be about Pinterest and all the resources it can offer you as part of Res Life staff. Male readers–keep reading! Contrary to what many believe, Pinterest offers so much more than creative wedding ideas, hair and wardrobe ideas for women (though those categories can be especially fun for me to browse).

The basics of how Pinterest works:

  • Once you have an account, you can choose to create “pins” which is an image or video you add to the site from another website or from your computer and these “pins” link back to their source, which is normally another website.
  • “Boards” on Pinterest are where you sort your pins based on themes (examples: party ideas, sports, style, art, wish list, fitness and health ideas, clothing ideas, cool places, bucket list, decorating ideas, DIY, wedding ideas)
  • Your pins can be re-pinned by others to their boards just as you can pin others’ pins to your boards
  • You can follow other users or their specific boards

You don’t have to have an account to use Pinterest. I don’t have one but I can still access all these cool ideas. Here’s how I do it:

Using the Google search bar, I type in “Pinterest search + ______”

Specific examples of things I have looked up include “Pinterest search + res life,” “Pinterest search + inspiration,”  and “Pinterest search + DIY” to look up ideas on these themes, but use whatever key word you want and related pins will generate from the Pinterest website.

Or you can make an account and keep track of all the pins you like with your boards! Which is probably what I should do since I’ve been using Pinterest a lot more frequently…

Pinterest can be used for:

  • Making a wishlist
  • Planning a trip
  • Organizing an event
  • Starting a collection
  • Planning a project
  • Promoting corporate/non-profit efforts (many companies have Pinterest accounts to enhance marketing, communication and their online presence)

Some ideas on how you can use Pinterest as an RA or other member of Res Life staff:

  • consider creating a Pinterest page for your hall and advertising it as a place where people can submit and pin ideas to the board or page
  • create a board of ideas, images, videos or links that inspire your event planning and activities
  • search the site for ideas on board themes and design
  • search Pinterest for fitness, time management, organizational, health, food and professional tips

Here are some cool Pinterest pages for you to browse!

  • General Information on Interesting Things (great poster resources/ theme ideas for boards despite this vague sub-heading)

http://www.pinterest.com/search/?q=infographics

http://www.pinterest.com/sharp/best-infographics/(a board of one of the co-founders of Pinterest)

  • Inspiration

http://www.pinterest.com/theinspiredroom/

http://www.pinterest.com/colleen_hanten/the-natural/

http://www.pinterest.com/caitlin_cawley/graphic-design-lust/

http://www.pinterest.com/chrisem/design-in-textiles/

  • Just for Funsies:

http://www.pinterest.com/ahsmith08/interspecies-buddying/

http://www.pinterest.com/chrisem/dog-friendly/

  • Food:

http://www.pinterest.com/krislinnh/sweet-tooth/

http://www.pinterest.com/danielhunley/gastro/

  • To Keep Up the PRC 90s Theme:

http://www.pinterest.com/mandaleexx/90-s-nostalgia/

Happy Pinteresting!

 

 

 

 

It’s back again another year! The day many anticipate, and others dread… FAMILY WEEKEND!!! Often considered TWAMP mayhem on account of the lack of parking spaces as well as lack of classroom seats, there are several underrated perks to having them rents come to town! Not to mention all of the fun events included as part of Family Weekend! You may think of this weekend as a negative experience as well, but listen up, and PRAISE BEYONCE that Family Weekend is a thing!

First of all, let’s get to it and discuss food. Ain’t you getting bored of having Sadler 5 times a week, EVERY. WEEK. Then conveniently when you finally need a break from the cycle, BOOM! – Your parents have arrived to whisk you away to MULTIPLE meals of your choice. And also, hopefully they will also take you out supply shopping or if you’re really lucky or persistent, clothes shopping!! Plus who needs a car on campus when your parents are coming down?! And the best part of these perks, YOU DON’T HAVE TO PAY. As college students, we are slowly being immersed into the actual real world, in which lovely Mumsie and Popsicle can’t or won’t always be able to help you out financially. So take advantage of it while you can y’all!

As for the official events taking place, here is a run-down of them all!

SATURDAY:

1)      Featured Faculty Series – There will be faculty lectures from a variety of subjects.

President’s Welcome Session – Come listen to yours truly, President Reveley, and let your parents know about the guy they’ve been missing out on!

2)      Family Weekend Picnic – Enjoy a picnic lunch complete with a jazz trio, tours of the historic Wren Building and President’s house, and socializing with other W&M families. Wren Yard (Ticket Purchase REQUIRED!)

3)      William & Mary Sings – An A Capella Concert featuring a dozen talented student a cappella groups.  Lake Matoaka Amphitheater (IN CASE OF RAIN, the event will be held in W&M Hall)

4)      Tribe Football! – Zable Stadium (Ticket Purchase REQUIRED!)

SUNDAY:

1)      Bone Marrow Family Weekend 5K (Begins at 8:30 a.m. in front of the Student Recreation Center) – Pre-register or arrive at 7:30 a.m. for race day registration.

 

No matter what you do, just make sure you make most of the time you have with your family, for you likely won’t see them for quite a long while. It is the weekend, so try not to push your fam right out the door on account of “homework” that “immediately needs to be done.” PUH-LEASE. I’m pretty sure we all appreciate the things our families do for us, so why not show it!

Have fun this weekend y’all! But not too much fun! :)

Deuces,

David Kilpatrick

It may only be the second week of school, but your residents (and you) may already be feeling the burden of too much reading, too many papers, and those tough decisions of whether to do work or take a break and enjoy the last few warm days with friends. Freshmen especially may be realizing that the study strats that worked in high school may not live up to the demands of college. And though many William and Mary student might think asking for help is as good as defeat, our school has lots of resources in place to make sure those students who want to succeed will do so. Check out some of these resources below:

1. The number one resource there for you is the Dean of Students Office. Don’t just think about them as disciplinarians or the ones you go to in emergencies, the DoSo has both worksheets and workshops for time management, study skills, and strategic learning. They’re also happy to hold one of these workshops for a hall as a hall program!

2. Tribe Tutor Zone. Technically, this is part of the Dean of Students Office, but it’s in Swem and run by students. The Tribe Tutors were recommended by faculty members because they had outstanding performance in the classes that they now tutor for. Because these are specialized and individualized tutoring sessions, they do cost money, but it’s a very low fee of $10/55 minute session, and it’s charged to the student account, so many students can just rely on their parents to foot the bill. If you know of a resident who’s struggling in a specific class, consider recommending the Tribe Tutor Zone to help them master both study skills and course-specific material.

3. The Writing Resource Center. Also in Swem, the Writing Resource Center is a free resource to help students improve their writing and public speaking skills. They also have tons of handouts and resources available online. Consider asking a WRC consultant  to come to your hall to give a brief presentation or to host your residents for a 15-minute tour at the WRC (services they advertise as available to professors of small classes, but which are certainly generalizable to residence halls).

4. The Office of Academic Advising. Does a resident need help planning their class schedule? Can’t quite figure out how to get in all their major requirements, GERs, and take that semester abroad? Academic Advising is the department of experts, who know the school’s policies inside and out and can set up an 8-semester plan in just a few minutes.

5. Professors! If a student is struggling in a class, they may not need to look any further than the front of the class room. Professors know more than anyone else on campus about what they expect and what it takes to do well in their class. They also appreciate it when students actively seek help and try to develop relationships. Go to a professor’s office hours, and you may see the difference when you get your next essay back!

With these resources at your fingertips, you and your residents will be sure to have a great semester!

 

 

Welcome back, res life staff! After all your hard work, residents are finally moved in and classes have begun. You could think that means it’s time to sit back and take a well-deserved break, but you know that in the life of a William & Mary student that’s simply not the case. Instead, it’s time to start building relationships within your hall and to  foster your residents’ intellectual and personal growth outside the classroom. Luckily for you, Residence Life has developed a model to help you do just that.

In the past, we have operated by the Residents’ Needs model, whereby programming (as well as everything else you do as an Res Life staff member) is based on assessing the needs of both individual residents and the community as a whole and then working to meet those needs. Though we still use this model, past RAs have complained that it’s more than a little bit vague, and so the Res Life powers that be have added another model: the first 4 weeks.

Week 1: Social Event with Community. This is a getting to know each other-type event. As always, food based events like going to dinner, baking, or going on a CW cider run are good, but you might also consider adding an interactive component like an icebreaker or other game. Maybe even go all out and have a game night!

Week 2: Active Event with Community. It may be hard to  distinguish this from a social event, but the true difference is that here the focus lies more in doing something than simply getting to know one another. You could choose to take “active” literally by attending a group fitness class, signing up for an IM sports team, or just playing a casual game of frisbee in the Sunken gardens; or you could engage in other active events like a scavenger hunt, attending an AMP event together, or going on a ghost tour.

Week 3: Passive Event with Community. This should be an event for which residents don’t necessarily need to be in the same place at the same time. You might have a bulletin board decorating contest, a game of pay it forward (where residents do something nice for one another or leave one another compliments or words of wisdom), or just leave some pizza in the lounge.

Week 4: An Event with Another Community. This can be a great break for you because you can co-program with one of your friends. You also have more residents available to come to your program, so use this as a chance to do something big. You could do something competitive, like a volleyball game, bake-off, or talent show, or do something that will last all year or semester such as creating a upperclassman-freshmen buddy system.

What’s best about this system is that it really doesn’t need to be limited to the first four weeks. Use it as a model for the rest of the semester so that you don’t get stuck in a rut of TV nights or making cookies.  Before you know it, you’ll be a programming wiz!

Awesome First Four Weeks board made by P.A. Paula

Awesome First Four Weeks board made by P.A. Paula

Admitted Students Day is always an exciting time – it makes the returners excited for the coming year or nostalgic for the last four years and, personally, I don’t think you could have come on a better day.  Our campus is beautiful all the time but there is something about a spring day that makes it so much better.  Hopefully you’ll be able to experience that more fully next year!

 

So, are you still trying to make your decisions, newbies?  I admit that our weather is… special… but WM is really awesome, especially our WM community.  I’m sure you have heard about the community a lot already (if you haven’t I can guarantee you will) but it truly makes us unique.  A big part of your early community here will be your freshman hall – really take advantage of these early friendships you make.  They will stay with you.  Also, just as importantly, take advantage of your RA.  They are here to help you transition to college life – whether it is academic or social.  If you have a question or there is an activity you want to do, ask your RA!  We don’t want you to fumble – we want you to love it here as much as we do!

 

So, once again, welcome!

Look outside: flowers are growing and students are peeping out of their rooms and Swem like the munchkins in the Wizard of Oz, uncertain whether the sunshine is a reality or another cruel joke from the Williamsburg weather gods. It’s April, and while April brings the the possibilities of lounging on the Sunken Gardens or chatting with your friends on the terrace, it also brings two less healthy changes of behavior. The first is the acknowledgment of innumerous final project that you know you should be working on but can’t seem to find the motivation for. Students are burnt out, and unfortunately it takes a lot of energy and focus to get through this last month of schoolwork. That means a lot of excess stress, less sleep, and general unhappiness. The second is the desire to live it up in the remaining days before you part from your friends for this summer. This means more drinking and more careless drinking, and may include other risky behaviors (there’s no denying that some students are going to think participation in 4/20 is a grand idea). As a student, you may be experiencing some of this yourself, but as an RA you’ve almost certainly seen it on your hall or heard of what seems like an unusually high number of write-ups. As an RA, it’s also your responsibility to try and meet your residents’ needs as best you can, and these are needs. Stress relief programs, or advice on how to focus and study more effectively will help the first group I described. Mocktails, a visit from the WM police (did you know you can have them perform a fake arrest?), or other information on drug and alcohol safety may help the second. Check out the Programming board in the PRC (the one next to the poster printer) for a cool programming idea on Alcohol education.

Remember that you can always browse the programming database for inspiration from other RA’s past programs or check out the Programs at Your Fingertips that are next to the Bulletin Boards in a Bag in the PRC.

 

Let’s be real! When your brain is at capacity with the theories and concepts you have memorized for midterms, it is hard to focus on programming. So, here is an idea for an ongoing, month-long program. This program is doubly efficient as it serves as a bulletin board and a program. It does not require any money from your programming budget.  The program is inspired by a social networking trend—the photo a day challenges! You can call the program the April Photo A Day Challenge.

For the board, you will simply need to print out the image of the challenge. There are several versions for April. The image embedded in this post is just one example. You can find more by doing a Google search—“April Photo A Day Challenge.” Your residents can refer to the board to figure out the theme of the photo for the day. For example, if the first day is “fun,” one of your residents might decide to take picture with you (because you are such a fun RA!) or of one of your programs (because your programs are the best!), or of them frolicking across the Sunken Gardens. After they take pictures, have them send them to you. On a weekly or biweekly (twice a week) basis, you can print them out and post them on the board for everyone to see! That way, the board is evolving throughout the month. If necessary, you can easily change the days on the challenge so that they correspond with the first day that your board is up. It will be fun to see each resident’s different interpretation of the theme.

 

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With that, I think we all need a pep talk! We are a month away from finals and this is the time when things start to get tough. We must not forget, though, that we are William and Mary students and we have done this at least once before. I hope this video makes you smile and puts a little pep in your step. As kid president says, “We were made to be awesome!” Good luck with

 

Apartment Programming

sad-child-birthday-party

Did you ever have that fear when you were a little kid that noone was going to come to your birthday party? Maybe you feared that even your own parents would forget. That’s how it feels when you put hours of work into a program and then nobody shows- not even your own roommate. And instead of just being a five year old nightmare, this time it’s for real. Suddenly the 30 cupcakes you baked and had to resist eating don’t taste so good.

Unfortunately, this scenerio may be all too familiar for upperclassmen RAs, and especially RAs of apartment-style housing. Programs serve the purpose of building and educating a community, but in order for them to work, you need to have residents who are interested in being a part of that community. Otherwise, they’ll just grab some food and run, maybe making some awkward small talk along the way.

The good news? You’re not the first ones to have this problem, and Brian McGowan, a Residence Life Coordinator from Rutgers University has created  a six-step approach to programming specially designed for aparment RAs. If you’re not an apartment RA, don’t stop reading though– these steps have some great ideas for other RAs as well.

 

1. Collaborate: You’re not alone when it comes to programming, so why try to go at it alone? Collaborating with other RAs, hall council, organizations, or offices on campus both divies up the work of planning for a program and increases attendence by drawing people who are associated with the partner organization

2. Relate: Realize that the people who choose to live in apartments are different from those who live in halls. Find out why your residents decided to live in apartment-style housing and program to that. Is it because of the extra parking? Do a car maintence program. Because of the kitchens? Do a cooking program. Because they’re sophomores and it was the only place they *could* live? They’re probably missing the hall atmosphere, so maybe try a passive program that encourages them to meet the other people in their building (like ghosting, or apartment buddies).

3. Educate: Unlike many other RAs, educational programs may actually be some of your most successful programs rather than the bane of your existence. Those people living in Ludwell aren’t going to want to walk all the way to the Career Center, so see if you can bring someone from the Career Center to them. The seniors living in the Randolph Complex and Tribe Square are freaking out about how to survive in the real world, and so a representative from the Career Center could be helpful to them as well, or perhaps a budget workshop to help them learn how to manage that grad school dept (and FAFSAs and tax returns, and all that other stuff they need to learn how to do, if they haven’t already). Think to yourself “If I were a busy upperclassman, what would I think was useful enough to take time out of my schedule to go to?” and you’ll be golden.

4. Advertise: Things people don’t pay attention to: bulletin boards in stairwells. Location of most of the public and RA posting boards in our apartment housing: stairwells. What this means for you is that you’ll have to be more creative in your advertising as well as more aggressive. If you think you’ve advertised so much that even the maintence people know exactly where and when your program is, advertise more. Put it in e-mails, post it on Facebook (be really annoying and friend all your residents, then post it on their walls), put it in the apartment/hall council email, put flyers on the door hanger of every single door, heck, maybe even create a catchy YouTube video about it. Most importantly, start advertising as early as possible so that residents can put the program in their calendars before they get booked up.

5. Timing: You may have a stellar program idea, but it’s not going to be successful if it’s at a time when no one can come. Try to avoid programming around midterms or days of major campus events (this will help you as well, since who really wants to plan a program when they have 3 exams to study for?) and take into account what the whether might be like when picking a location (program outside as much as possible during late spring and early fall in order to attract passers-by). Of course, also pick a time of day that makes sense for what you’re doing. If you’re serving a meal, choose dinner time. Educational programs should go right after dinner so that they’re not an interruption to homework, and dessert programs go later so that they are that perfect homework break snack.

6. Evaluate: After you have your program, don’t just move onto the next thing. Think about what worked and what didn’t so that you can adjust as necessary for next time. And don’t forget to put it in the programming database as a suggestion for other RAs.

 

Snow

Do these things:

10. Make a snow angel.

9. Make hot chocolate.

8. Play board games.

7. Have a pajama party.

6. Go to the Blue Talon for free hot chocolate.

5. Go to Bruster’s for a free scoop of ice cream.

4. Work on your favorite coloring book.

3. Host a book club.

2. Stay warm.

1. Make a snowman and put a hat on him and watch him run around and play with him and be nice to him.

0. Look at pictures of cats.

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