Wednesday, November 25, 2015

Western Washington University - Resident Advisors Then, Resident Advisors Now

Back in the day, that would be the 80's for you youngsters, I was an RA.

Resident Advisor. My chosen job site? Western Washington University in Bellingham. Loved the campus. Being 4 hours from home was an added bonus. Plus the rain. Lots of rain.

The RA's I knew dealt with plenty of funny, tense, scary, and weird scenarios. We were part program director, confidant, counselor, friend, goof-off, and building manager.

We delivered mail, let lock-outs back into their rooms, sat weekly duty nights and regular duty weekends, planned educational/and/or/fun programs for residents, and offered listenting ears.

Counseling occured on occasion and I even once took a resident to the ER. Pre and post-arrival inventories of the building were on our list of duties as well as being the happy WWU greeters upon the arrival of students in the fall. Conflict resolution and roommate disagreements kept us busy. The worst we faced were drunk residents playing naked poker, being interrupted on campus and having to return to the dorm to let frantic students into their rooms, and carting food back to the sick. Our building was against a hillside, so we added the joy of marauding raccoons when they entered rooms that had open windows.

That was about it. Nothing too bad, some things pretty funny, other events sad.

But today! I hadn't even thought about what RA's face in current times.

The daily newspaper had an article where WWU classes were cancelled yesterday and students were sent home early for Thanksgiving due to a serious bomb threat! Campus threats, racism, staged protests, and I'm sure much more face university staff on a regular basis. But the bomb scare really caused me to stop and consider.

What do students and staff face now that was not an issue 30 years ago? Bombs, illegal drugs, legal drugs, physical attacks, cyber attacks, human trafficking, and a changing-so-rapidly-society that difficulties in keeping up are plentiful.

Just like in the world, scary, unsettling, and dangerous happenings seem to be occurring more often and with more frequency.

One could even become depressed and adopt reclusiveness as a lifestyle choice.

But. Hope.

There is always hope. Prayer is needed, on a big scale. I was happy to see a photo of students in Red Square praying and singing for university students.

I can help. From home. I'm sure that WWU is not the only educational institution under attack. More than sure.

I choose hope and prayer. In these troubling times, hope and prayer will work.

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