Residence life is such a rewarding experience to work for. But one challenging aspect of being an RA can be how make program successful.
This year, my first year working as a Resident Assistant, I’m working with mainly freshman on my floor. It’s honestly great. So far, I love seeing them grow in just the few weeks they’ve been on campus.
For my first program, I partnered with another RA in my building, Lexie, with an all girls, all freshman floor. We wanted to center around program around tie dying t-shirts as they look totally awesome, and who wouldn’t want to come tie dye a shirt. So at three in the morning, together our brains came up with a tie dye-diversity pun and we went with it.
The basic idea we came up with was from a diversity survey we took during RA training.
Only with a twist.
What you’ll need.
For this program we were able to budget to use $20 total from both mine and Lexie’s small floor budgets. We also asked our university’s Residence Hall Association for $150, which they happily gave us.
For this program we bought:
- 4 packs of plain white t-shirts
- 4 packs of white tank tops for residence to tie-dye
- 1 large tie-dye kit
- 1 box of 100 rubber gloves
- 4 packs of cookies
- 1 bag of candy
While we didn’t go through all the shirts and tank tops, residences loved having a variety that they could choose from. We also forgot about the snacks until after a few residence left so we didn’t go through of those either.
What we did.
- We created a list of questions related to diversity (which you can find attached at the end of this post) and assigned each question two colors of they dye we had and printed off a stack of those for the residence attended. We also cut up squares of paper that correlated to those colors and stapled one color to each paper.
- Before the program started we mixed up all 8 colors of dye that we would be using that corralled with the questions. This actually took quite some time and was very messy so make sure you have enough time for this step before your program.
- We did our program outside on the grass so if it got a little mess (which it did) we weren’t worried about ruining anything in the residence hall. So we had to venture to that spot with all of our materials.
- Once residence arrived, we handed out the question sheets with their assigned color attached and had them sign in. We collect attendance for all of our programs, so after they signed in they could go get whatever size and type of shirt they wanted to dye.
- Once everyone was signed in and had a shirt, we explained the rules. To use the color that the resident was assigned, they needed to ask two other people one of the questions on their sheet that was of the same color. For a resident to use a color that was different from theirs, they had to ask three other residents of that color so they could use the color. After they did that they were to come tell me or Lexie who they talked to so they could get that color.
While this didn’t go exactly to plan, it was still a great program. It was hard for residences to keep track of who they were talking to and how many of what color they had talked to. One of my residence told me that she was just walking around asking people questions off the sheet. However, while walking around both Lexie and I could hear them getting into a great discussion about the questions.
We planned the program for a Friday, such a taboo thing for an RA to do here since we are largely a commuter school and a majority of residence seem to leave every weekend for one reason or another. However, we had an impressive 21 residence attend.
This was such an achievement for both Lexie and I as we were really worried prior to the program starting that no one would show up. And for it being the first RA program, minus a kick off for our entire building that we did, it gives me hope that this year will be fantastic with not only my floor but all of the building.