ResLife Myth #3: Community Happens… Magically

Believing that community building happens naturally and doesn’t require intervention is a myth. This “myth” is often not one that is widely believed by most professionals that work in residence life, but rather those that work outside of it. What many individuals do not realize is the amount of work and intentionality that goes into developing happy, healthy, and productive communities. Rather than just providing “sleeps and eats,” campus housing and residence life departments construct living spaces with intentionality. This intentionality has many benefits beyond just the “warm fuzzies” of community belonging. It… Read More

Free Pizza! 6 Ways of Building Community UPDATED for a Social Media Residential Curriculum

“Door decs” with your name on it… Crafting in the lobby… An icebreaker where you rhyme your name with a vegetable… free pizza… all cliché ways a college Resident Assistant (RA) goes about building and maintaining community.  Of course, the RA position is far more complex than the stereotype that often gets portrayed, or the hokey activities that are often the source of satire, but some of this “hokiness” is there because it works… and yes, some of it is just hokey. One of the most important aspects of social media that still… Read More

Cookies in the Lounge! What The College Dorm Can Teach Us About Building Community Online

“Door decs” with your name on it… Crafting in the lobby… An icebreaker where you rhyme your name with a vegetable… you might be surprised by how a college Resident Assistant (RA) goes about building and maintaining community.  Of course, the RA position is far more complex than the stereotype that often gets portrayed, or the hokey activities that are often the source of satire, but some of this “hokiness” is there because it works… and yes, some of it is just hokey. One of the current courses I am taking at… Read More

Bowling Leagues, Cheers Bar, and Central Perk: Cultivate a Third Place, Cultivate Your Brand

In his 1989 work, The Great Good Place, Ray Oldenburg floated the idea of our needing a “third place.” Our first place is our home, where we live. Our second place is our work, where we spend a large portion of our time. Our “third place,” however, is an informal space that brings us together in community and where we interact with others and build social bonds. Classic “third places” in pop culture have included the bar from the television show Cheers and Central Perk, the coffee shop from Friends. At our… Read More