As the year is drawing to an end, there are a few things you can do as a RA to bring closure to your floor. With everything you do, whether it is writing a paper, giving a speech or leading a community, you must have a good introduction and good closure to inspire others.
You might work hard during a speech to keep your audience captive, but if the conclusion to the speech is not as well put together as the preceding thoughts, your main point can be lost. In the same way, you work hard all year long to keep your floor harmonious, but if you do not have the proper conclusion, the main theme of the floor can be lost in the excitement of semester close. To help preserve your hard work, I am going to give you a few good tips on how to bring proper closure to your floor community.
The end of the semester for most of us is very stressful due to final exams and large projects. For this reason, planning for an “end of the year” event should be done prior to the end of the year, while you still have some time to breathe easy. You may choose to host a social program or do something more passive instead.
Ideas for Lively Socialization and Bringing Closure to Your Floor
1. Use the nice spring weather to your advantage, have everyone get a bag lunch and have a picnic outside on one of your campus’s most coveted grassy spots. After dinner, you can all play Frisbee and discuss your favorite moments on the floor.
2. Join up with another floor in your building. You and the RA of the joining floor could set up relay races and provide fun summer prizes to award the winning floor. Afterwards you may want to have a joint pizza party.
3. Have your residents come to your floor lounge with pictures they took of the events on the floor this year. Provide them with scrap-booking materials and have them work on making their own collage to take home with them to remember the floor.
“Passive” Programming Ideas to Facilitate Closure
1.Set up a “Good Sport” Award Program for your floor. For example, “Floor Flirt” or “Floor Neat Freak”. Have your residents nominate people for the awards and then hold a voting day.
2. Tape up a piece of colored paper for each resident on a wall on your floor. On the paper write, “I had fun with _______ on the floor this year because…” Fill in each residents name and tack markers next to the papers. Allow your residents to write fun stories on each other’s papers and then let each resident take their paper home.
3. Start a countdown. Assign each resident a number and have them make up a sheet with that number on it and their best memory from the year on the floor. Tape up the sheets and start pulling them off as the year is drawing closer to an end.
If you cannot try any of the above because your residents are too busy, try to write each of your residents a thank you card. In the note, tell each one how much they meant to the community and how much you enjoyed having them on the floor. This simple gesture really goes a long way when residents are really stressed out.
If you have been a RA before and haven’t done a closing activity with your residents, make this year different and try either an active social or passive program designed to facilitate closure. Remember, you can work hard all year to build a rewarding community, but if you leave the ends loose and do not make a knot, what you have built might fall apart. Save what you worked hard for all year by planning your floor closure strategy in advance, and tie the knot in your floor community this year by facilitating closure activities with your residents.
Submitted by Susan Tomchak, Resident Assistant, Elizabethtown College