Tuesday, October 26, 2010

Residence Life staff DOES make a difference.......

Last Saturday was just too nice a day to stay inside so even though it has snowed the day before I decided to go kayaking Saturday afternoon after being on campus grading papers. Indian Brook continues to be a great place to relax, exercise and enjoy the benefit of living in Vermont.Last night I presented two workshops on campus. The first one was in Lyons Hall for a group of first year men whose RA, Nick Hogan had invited me to join his "faculty visitor" program with Dr. Herb Kessel (Economics) and Mark Litchfield (Director of Special Events) for their floor meeting. The topic last night (just one of a series of meetings we provide for all first-year students) was on personal safety and they asked me to speak about sexual assault and not only how to keep yourself safe, but also to better understand the laws of the State of Vermont so you don't "harm" anyone else. It was a good group and I hope that they learned something. Siobhan Lavery from the E-Board of the Student Association also spoke to the group about this coming weekend's Halloween Dance - always one of the most popular activities of the year, she just wanted to send a message about personal and public safety - collaboration between students, faculty and staff is a hallmark of our out-of-class educational programs.

The second workshop was for all of the members of our Residence Life staff - there were 60 RA's (residence assistants) who are students but who also serve as mentors, advisors, friends, educators for all of the students living on campus. The Resident Directors, Assistant Directors and Lou DiMasi, Director of Residence Life all gathered for this workshop in Cashman Hall, one of our residence halls. The topic was creating a safe environment for ALL students {specifically LGBTQ} and after the recent rash of suicides across the nation connected to bullying, we wanted to educate all of our RA's, RD's, and AD's on how THEY can make a difference in continuing to make St. Mike's an accepting and safe space. These young men and women were selected through a vigorous process and have been receiving training ever since as they are the "eyes and ears" for the rest of us - they ARE our students and they LIVE with our students so are in the ideal position to provide that "safety net" that we hope all colleges and universities provide their students. I began the workshop by thanking all of them and letting them know that, in spite of how busy everyone is these days and in spite of how much we seem to "take them for granted" - they ARE very much appreciated. They were an attentive group and when I gave them an exercise to do (put themselves in the shoes of someone else) they eagerly responded, despite the Monday night at 8:00 time slot.

So, thanks to Nick, Mark (Litchfield) and Lou for the invitations to speak to both groups and to all of the participants in the workshops - we pride ourselves on the education we give our students IN the classroom and I think that the education we give them outside of the classroom is also extremely valuable -

Pre-registration for second semester ends today and while I have met with all but two of my advisees there is still time until this afternoon for those two to meet with me. Registration begins tomorrow and that also means that we are more than half way through this first semester - it just doesn't seem possible. Classes are fantastic and I have enjoyed each one of them so far this semester - my students are GREAT. I head to Indianapolis, Indiana on Friday for an NCAA - FAR (faculty athletics representative) leadership institute - I will be meeting with FAR's from across the country and look forward to sharing what we do at St. Mike's with my NCAA colleagues. I spoke at our Faculty Assembly last Friday and shared some of the great things that OUR athletic department is doing - from our current overall student-athlete grade point average of 3.045 to the new initiative of providing a first-year student-athlete Orientation Program for our new students, our Athletic Department continues to be committed to helping all of our student-athletes balance their academics with their athletics.

Take care, be well and PLEASE be good to each other and remember all of the members of our military, both active duty and veterans AND their families in your thoughts and prayers.


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