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Student-life conference brings honors for Saint Michael's

12.11.14
By: Mark Tarnacki
Brian Lee

Brian Lee

The quality of student life staff and programming at Saint Michael's earned a double endorsement recently at a regional conference in Syracuse, N.Y. for student life professionals.

"The Roommate Game' was the name of a "Top Ten" rated presentation at the North East Affiliate  of College and University Residence Halls (NEACURH)  Conference in mid-November at Syracuse University, delivered by Saint Michael's junior American Studies major Emily Carolin, a Resident Assistant (RA) for Lyons Hall.

In her conference program titled "The Roommate Game: How Much Do You Know About Living With Your Roommate?," Carolin, a native of San Jose, CA,  first shared a list, "Ten Tips to Be a Marvelous Roommate," which she had written for a personal blog based on her own experiences. Other Saint Michael's RA's have adapted her list for their students too. Her top tips included "Make a Roommate Agreement" and "Communicate Expectations at the Beginning."

Next in her presentation, Carolin had volunteers play "The Roommate Game," once she'd given them a short time to learn about each other. Carolin said it all is intended to help college roommates or friends build closer and more intentional and productive relationships. The activity asks groups of roommate-pairs to sit across from one another and quiz one another with fun questions such as, "What was your roommate's first job?" or "What is your roommate's blood type?" revealing how well they really know or pay attention to one another.

The weekend at Syracuse was the regional meeting of the national Residence Hall Association (RHA), says Student Life staff advisor Brian Lee, who accompanied six Saint Michael's students to the weekend meeting. Lee, active with the Residence Hall Associations for decades since his own student days at the University of Vermont before he launched the Saint Michael's chapter in 2003, also was recognized as "Advisor of the Year" by the regional group.

The North East Affiliate of College and University Residence Halls (NEACURH) is an entirely student-run organization that encompasses Residence Hall Associations (RHAs) and National Residence Hall Honorarys (NRHHs) across the region.

Said Dawn Ellinwood, vice president for student affairs and dean of students, "Brian gives his all when working with our students so I was not surprised that he received this award, as I have heard of the many Saint Michael's students he has mentored and advised throughout his years on campus. He's a true student-affairs professional."

Lee, of Colchester, said the conferences are enjoyable for everyone, but more importantly, "students get leadership experience, can become aware of more opportunities in the field of higher education, figure out what programs work and don't work, and what's going on in residence halls at other campuses."

More students than ever are active in the Saint Michael's RHA, which has the status of a student club, he said, with typical membership of 12 to 15 students. Some of the attendees are looking at the possibility of attending a national RHA conference in South Dakota this summer, said Carolin, who now is interested in a possible work career in the student life field based on her experiences.

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