Fleishman Center, Offices of Student Affairs Making House Calls
By Amanda Glodowski
Each year, resident assistants (RAs) put on more than 1,000 events and programs to educate students outside of the classroom. Often for these programs RA's gather and present information to their residents independently. This year, however, RA's were encouraged to take advantage of campus resources and work collaboratively in order offer residents more robust programs and access to offices across the University.
Residential Life's collaborative effort has allowed for Binghamton's student services to reach their more than 7,000 residents in an efficient and convenient manner.
Senior RA Ryan Omoruyi worked with the Office of International Programs (OIP) to put on a study abroad event entitled Next Stop: The World! Having studied abroad, he knew full well the anxiety that can accompany the unknown.
"When I was looking into study abroad, I was nervous and skeptical, but with OIP's help I planned a successful semester in Japan," Omoruyi said. "I wanted residents to start thinking about opportunities abroad and to let them know it's not a scary process if they use the right services and talk to the right people."
OIP brought a presentation and dozens of informative pamphlets, giving Omoruyi's residents access to a mini study-abroad fair right in their own Mohawk hall great room.
Omoruyi and fellow junior RA Takuya Naruse also worked with the Fleishman Center for Career and Professional Development on their event 5 Steps to Getting a Summer Internship. Erin Marulli, a Residential Life assistant residential coordinator and Fleishman Center career consultant assistant introduced residents to job and internship search engines and other effective strategies for snagging a prime summer internship.
Senior Lisa Knoph also teamed up with the Fleishman Center graduate assistant Lexie Avery, for Love what you do, Focus 2! Knoph's event highlighted Focus 2, a program the Fleishman Center uses to assist students in choosing a career.
"Avery helped me to put the event in the right direction so that residents would get the most out of it," Knoph said. "She was really familiar with the Focus 2 program which allowed for everything to run smoothly and professionally."
Overall, the Fleishman Center has collaborated with Residential Life RAs on delivering more than 25 programs in the residence halls and has reached approximately 400 students over the course of this year.
Harpur Academic Advising has become another key mobile partner. Senior Tania DiRoberto, and junior Gabriel Valencia enlisted the help of Harpur advisors Lawrence Greenfield and Lucas Pint in their Valentine's Day themed event Falling in Love with your Major.
"We knew a lot of people who had grown disenchanted with their majors, so we worked with the Harpur advisors to remind resident of their end goals in order to rekindle the passion and excitement from when they first chose their major," DiRoberto said. "It was great because the advisors were able to answer questions specific to every major, and went out of their way to accommodate our scheduling."
RAs have also worked to highlight some of the offices that students hope they don't encounter, but sometimes do — such as Student Conduct. RAs David Sherlock and Cara Treidel collaborated with the Conduct office for A Trial by Peers. Residents were given insight to the purpose of Binghamton's conduct system and shown what to expect should they be accused of an alleged violation of University policy.
"The purpose of the event was to show that those on the conduct board are students too, who objectively review your case to provide you with information on what rules you broke and why it's important to understand those rules," Sherlock said.
The event was set up as a mock trial. Matthew Walsh, graduate assistant for Student Conduct, was able to point out what was most important about examples of incidences. "The residents were able to see firsthand what the root of the incident was," Sherlock said. "That engaged the residents and showed them the value of conduct, instead of seeing it just as a slap on the wrist."
For the Fleishman Center, the collaboration with Residence Life and delivery of programs has been especially effective in reaching first and second year students. "As incoming freshman we can't just rely on students to just walk in our door and ask for assistance," said Dr. Kelli Smith, Director University Career Services. "Getting out of the office and meeting students in their space allows us to deliver customized programs based on community interests, and reinforce the reasons and benefits of career and professional development. Much like Residence Life, we too have made collaboration across campus a top priority and the partnership we have established with the RAs is absolutely invaluable. We look forward to having an even greater presence in the next academic year."