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The First Six Weeks: Building Relationships

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Maureen Flint

on 10 August 2013

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Transcript of The First Six Weeks: Building Relationships

the first six weeks - building relationships
so what does this look like during the first six weeks?

Astin (1984): Peer influence on learning and involvement options
Found that:
Peers have enormous influence over each other
Inputs + environments --> outcomes (can be affected by RAs)

Schroder and Mable (1994): Integration of learning experiences and themed experiences within the residence hall
Found that:
Extended peer interaction is students education – shared experience
Structure of 1st year experience is vital
Students learn standards of behavior (norms!) from each other
Students prefer student initiated activities over institutional ones

Astin, A.W. (1984). Student Involvement: A developmental theory for higher education. Journal of College Student Personnel, 25, 297-308
Schroder, C.C. & Mable, P. (1994). Realizing the educational potential of residence halls. San Fransisco. Jossey-Bass
...so we want students to be successful
what does a successful student look like?
what does a successful community look like?
Tinto (2005) describes six institutional themes that led to student success:
commitment, expectations, support, feedback, involvement, and learning
Tinto, V. (2005) Taking student success seriously: rethinking the first year of college. Retrieved from: http://fdc.fullerton.edu/events/archives/2005/05-01/acadforum/Taking%20Success%20Seriously.pdf
more than half of all students who leave college do so in the first 6 weeks (Levitz & Noel, 1989).

why are you here?
Research on Residential Education:
did you know?
are on the front lines, providing these themes for your residents.
so where do you start?
first lets look at how we build relationships:
Personal Layer
Superficial Layer
The Onion
core layer
We've adapted “the onion model” developed by Erwin Altman and Donnis Tiller in 1973
-layers of the onion represent the layers of relationships with people through communication
social penetration theory
Superficial Layer
Basic knowledge about a person, that you know before meeting them or upon the first meeting.
• Learning names and faces
• Introducing yourself
• Initial getting to know someone
Getting to know individuals better (going to the next level)
Finding out details about them that that describe who they are
Learn aspects of their lives like major and involvement with any organizations or clubs
Personal Layer
• Having a floor meeting
• Going door to door to introduce yourself
• Learning which residents live in which rooms

**A great way to keep all of this new information straight is by mapping a sociogram!
Examples of Engaging Residents at the Superficial Level
What is a Sociogram?
A sociogram is a map of your community.

It can include resident's names, their majors, things they are interested in or clubs they are involved with.

As you get to know your community, you can add more detailed information about each resident, including detailing relationships that form on your floor. Through this you can focus on all levels of the "onion" model.
chemical engineering major
most of the time vegetarian
just got a new apartment
just turned 20
may have a new boyfriend?
just graduated highschool
is a lifeguard
wants to be an accountant
really likes chickflicks
has been shopping for a truck
is about to get a promotion at his job
works in data processing
has been watching arrested development all summer
likes long walks
likes sewing
lives in alabama
would really like a cat
Core Layer
Know individual residents well as a person
Learn things they are interested in as well as things they really care about
Notice where they spend their time
Be present and available
Examples of Engaging at the Core Layer
Plan activities that residents connect to
Interact consistently with residents to maintain relationships
be present and available to them
It is important to know and understand residents needs so that you can know how to meet them.
Connect them with appropriate campus partners
Provide activities so that they can come together as a community.
what do you know they're going to need?
could be passive
ex: instead of planning a time management program, make a flyer or digital signage for tips
recipes for easy microwave dinners or recipe of the week to be posted on doors
could be active:
example: schedule with your C.O.P. or the health and wellness center to come in during the first week and present to students before classes start.
before your students arrive:
week 1: welcome!!
greet them when they move in
introductions/icebreakers at the first floor meeting
hand out a survey of interests at the first floor meeting
do a door to door social after the first few days
check to see how they're settling in (especially out of state residents)
follow up on work orders placed during move in
week 2: orienting
should know 75 - 80% of your floor (faces and names)
starting to learn basic information
what is their major
are they pledging
(superficial level information)

what can you do?
campus tours - where are your classes/classrooms
week of welcome events - on and off campus
CSC - August 20th --> day of service
taking the floor to dinner at lakeside - reserve a private room!
go to the outdoor pool as a floor
writing center/center for academic success
week 3: ORIENTING!!!
should know all of your residents by name
starting to recognize personalities
who's the loud person on the floor
who's the center of action
who's the group leader?
flip side: who is more introverted, keeps to themself
where do they spend their time?
who's an early riser?
who's room is everyone in?
who's headed to other buildings or floors to hang out?
what are your residents interested in?

what do you do?
go to coffee or lunch with a quiet resident you haven't connected with
group activities focused on interests - start noticing themes
weeks 4, 5, & 6: making connections
a high number of residents have been transported to the hospital for alcohol

two or three residents haven't gotten connected to the campus, they really just go to class and come home at night

There have been some instances of community damage on your floor - including a bulletin board torn down and several ripped door decs.

while neighbors know each other well, the floor isn't connected as a whole

5 rooms on my floor really like music, and have instruments they brought with them

Learning Outcomes:
Safety -
My floor will have a greater awareness of alcohol issues

Support and Connectivity
I will reach out to residents who are quieter, and engage them with the floor or greater University of Alabama Community
Connect residents to the floor, residents will feel invested in their space.

Civility and Community:
students will respect the floor and be invested in their space

Build relationships around the floor - connect the floor as a whole by engaging residents with their interests

Community Development Plan
Ask my C.O.P to present on Alcohol Awareness next Thursday night, before swaps.
Reach out to and follow up with residents who are going out a lot - take them out to lunch
Stop by residents rooms who aren't connected.
Advertise for and bring a group of residents to 2 university events before the end of October (University Programs!)
Have an open door once a week- advertise on my wall
Connectivity (to space - investment)
Have a floor decorating contest for Halloween
Start family dinners once a month on Wednesday nights, because that's when most of my residents are around.
Build Relationships:
Have a music program/jam session in November in the courtyard
Do a bulletin board in November on residents interests - have post it notes so residents can comment and add additional comments.
Maureen's Onion
Graduate Community Director
From New York
higher education administration major
has two younger sisters
loves to read
sews in her free time
lives in somerville
bought her first car last summer
has expressive hand movements
is introverted
is often anxious when speaking in public
doesn't know what she wants to do after she graduates
misses her sisters, terribly.
loves coffee and tea
Phillips Thomas
Coordinator, Student Engagement

Maureen Flint
Graduate Community Director

Quenesha Ward
Resident Advisor

Derreck Humes
Resident Advisor

what is your role in this mission?
what is the mission of housing?
Housing and Residential Communities supports students' development, learning and engagement through intentionally designed environments, programs and services.
So... now:

what can you plan right now for your residents?
how are you going to use this?
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