Referred to as "Community Builders", our programming philosophy includes simple activities by our staff members, such as taking the time to get to know residents, being available, eating meals with students, listening, and helping residents get to know each other. In essence, making sure people feel a part of their residence hall community.
It has long been the contention of the Office of Residence Life, that having lunch with students who live on your floor, taking a group to a play on campus, having an impromptu discussion in the hallway, going to an intramural softball game or a quick trip to a snack shop have been important community builders. These activities may provide more memories and may better benefit residents than a typical speaker or structured program.
We believe that our residence hall students need to feel that they matter to others. One strength of Central Michigan University has been the perception that it is a very friendly campus. That friendly, warm feeling especially needs to be felt in the student´s home. It is our staff´s responsibility to welcome all students and help them feel a true part of their community. Community Builders are certainly an excellent way to begin.
In addition to the myriad of Community Builders staff are expected to complete, there is still a need for more formalized programming in each residence hall community. Presentations on alcohol and other drug use and abuse, sexual assault and harassment, discipline matters and subjects of educational and personal interests are issues still very much needed.
As a result, the unique CMU PASSAGES programming model was designed to assist residents in the many transitions they will encounter during the academic year. PASSAGES is an acronym for selected theme months. They are:
- P (late August/September) is for Personal programs. Many of our students are away from home and doing many things for the first time. They need a sense of belonging. They are going though many feelings: homesickness, loneliness, etc. and need programs catered toward their many personal needs.
- A (October) is for Academic Initiatives. Residents will be preparing for midterms, understanding what it really means to be a college student, and getting ready to register for classes. They may need a better understanding of alcohol, should be developing a positive relationship with faculty members, and learning about a million new things.
- S (November) is for Self-Awareness. Who are residents becoming, how and why have they changed, some may be suffering from academic pressures, struggling with wellness and nutrition, having suicidal thoughts, or feeling tortured because of a sexual assault.
- S (December) is for Seasonal programs including learning how to celebrate all people. Preparing to go home can be a struggle or students may be dealing with depression or excitement for the holidays and preparing for exams.
- A (January) is for Acceptance programs. We celebrate the birthday of Martin Luther King, Jr., celebrate all diversity, may be dealing with post holiday blues, resolutions, and perhaps overcoming a poor semester with grades.
- G (February) is for Growth programs. Special month celebrations, preparing for spring break, community service projects, summer job search, and sibling´s weekend.
- E (March) is for Emotional programs. It includes spring break, internship opportunities, preparing to graduate, managing stress and the emotional changes that have taken place in this transitional year.
- S (April/early May) is for Send-Off programs. Closure for the year, preparing for final exams, and finalizing summer plans are all part of the send-off.
Every staff member is responsible for one program each month that fits into the PASSAGES categories. If the hall director or staff member believe there is no true feeling of community on the floor, then more programs may be required.
If you would like to be involved in what happens on your floor or in your hall, just speak up! The RAs and MAs will welcome your help and your suggestions.
College life offers everyone a chance to experience new ideas, dreams, outlooks and agendas. In this residence hall community each of us must respect the rights of others. This is a fundamental aspect of residence hall living.