As the College plans for the return of its full campus operations this fall, Resident Assistant Jillian Higgins '22 says she's most excited for the typical day-to-day social life in the residence halls.
“I am excited and hopeful that the COVID restrictions will be lightened this coming fall and residential life will go back to normal," she says. “I like to study in the lounges in the hall, and before the pandemic, residents would just come and sit with me, or if I were making a new bulletin board for the month, residents would come to chat and keep me company. There would always be people sitting in the lounges either just hanging out with their friends or studying with friends. It will be fun to get that back.”
The biochemistry major has served as a Resident Assistant in the North Campus Residence Hall for the last two years. She was motivated to apply for the position after gaining great support and friendships from the RA's in her building as a first-year student. "I saw how RA's were able to help students with problems or answer questions, and I wanted to return the favor for the incoming class," she says.
On top of the new friendships, students who live on campus are more satisfied with their college experience, earn better grades and are more likely to graduate. In a recent survey by the College, roughly 80 percent of the Resident Assistant staff achieved a GPA of 3.0 or above. Moreover, living on campus and making key decisions independently helps students develop important life skills, including balancing freedom, time management and responsibility.
"Seeing how much the first-year students grow from the time they move into their rooms in August to the time they leave campus for the last time is an incredible feeling," adds Higgins. "Knowing that I helped shape them, even if it's just in a tiny way, is a great feeling."
This fall, the College anticipates a near full capacity for most of the 19 residence halls on campus. All classes will be held in-person, and all other operations, including student activities and support and athletics, will resume in-person.
"I'm excited to go to a football game or cheer on my friends on the softball and lacrosse team," says Danny West '22, a community education major and resident assistant. "This last year living on campus has been different, but I feel lucky that we've been able to come back to campus safely."
Like Higgins, West is excited to see traditional student activities return this year and is hopeful of celebrating memorable events, including Senior Week or the Senior Formal. They and other RA's from different halls often trade ideas for fun programs for the residential students, from Mario Kart tournaments to puzzles. They are excited to create new student life initiatives for the fall. "I'm looking forward to the fun events we usually have on campus, and I think they are vital for helping students make new connections and friendships on campus."
Students and families can now begin reserving on-campus housing for the upcoming 2021-2022 academic year. To secure on-campus housing for the fall, deposit by May 5.