Resident Advisors (RAs) have a lot of responsibility, acting as peer counselors and leaders in the residence halls. But this year they added another task to their duties — serving as social directors during a time when COVID-19 restrictions limited gatherings and interaction among students.

Hamilton RAs proved to be up to the task, planning and orchestrating a variety of programs for residents throughout the semester. For example, Desiree Pico’22, an RA in Minor, held a program called “Let’s Start from Scratch!”

“Since COVID really limited students’ abilities to communicate with each other and introduce themselves to people in their building that are outside their Extended Family Unit (EFU), I hosted a scratch art program for them to create something that represented what was important to them and then post it on the outside of their door,” Pico said.

Each floor voted for the best one, and the winners got a goody bag with hand sanitizer, a deck of cards, Silly Putty, mug cakes, stickers, and candy. “The residents seemed to enjoy this program, and it definitely sparked conversation about some residents’ overlapping interests,” Pico said.

She also hosted a study break snack grab. “I was really feeling disconnected from my residents on the floor who were outside of my EFU, since I was not allowed to go onto that floor to hang out and get to know them. Our communication was mostly via text … so we really did not know much about each other,” Pico said. “With people’s workloads really starting to rev up at that time, I thought a quick break would be beneficial for everyone, so I hosted a study break snack grab event outside of Minor for them to pass by for a bit, grab a snack, and chat with me. It was really nice for us to be able to interact in person and get to know one another better.”

Man Nguyen ’22, a Woollcott House RA, led residents in making customized face masks. “The goals were for people to meet one another and provide a nice way to acquire mask,” he said.

Sammi D’Angelo ’21 hosted several programs in Morris House aimed at “helping seniors relax and take a break, especially during this hectic semester, while not taking away too much time from their studies. Food always wins hearts, so the Cider Mill donuts and candy bags were naturally a big hit.”

She also hosted succulent potting and mason jar mug painting. “The succulents gave [students] something to take care of and something to brighten up their rooms, especially when we weren’t supposed to bring much to campus.” D’Angelo said. “And the mason jars allowed for a little creativity while providing something practical for Morris’s apartment-style housing.”

Patricia Sheibler ’21 enjoyed the pot-your-own succulent event. “I especially liked this since I couldn’t bring my other plants here out of concern that we might be leaving not long after arrival.” Connor Cates ’21 said he stopped by each event “at the very least to say hello. The programming was fun and definitely helped bring some variety into a semester with a lack of.”

Alex Medina ’23, with fellow first-year RAs in Keehn, Major, and Glenview, did a three-station wellness day that included sound therapy, friendship bracelet-making, and creating room decorations. “[We] have been doing a lot of socially distanced programming for our floors, which shows how dorms are building community while abiding by the guidelines,” he said. 

Joel Adade ’22 and fellow RAs in North and Rogers organized Sex Bingo as a Sadove Late Nite program. “The Zoom event started off with over 100 participants and lasted about three hours,” Adade said. “It was a fun, educational environment!” 

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