Programming basic y2k success sdsm&t department of residence life proposed student success programming model adapted for sdsm&T by: Brian Craig Steinberg assistant director of residence life for programs march-dake hall director

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Adapted for SDSM&T by:

Brian Craig Steinberg



(During the 1999-2000 Academic Year)
Originally Developed by

Claudia Kamhi, George F. Thompson, and Kim Jones Kline
Published by:

Sponsored by:

The ACUHO-I Research and Educational Foundation

BuildingAStrongInvolving Community for the Year 2000




Community Service

Educational (Alcohol and Drug Education)



To complete the Unity programming category requirement you must create and implement an on-going semester long program that involves every resident in your commUNITY.  Some examples of Unity programs are discussion groups, intramural sports, and floor-wide tournaments. 

1. Introduction to BASIC

2. The Community Living Creed

3. Tackling the Topic of Leadership

4. Pre-Planning for the Year

5. The 6 I's of Commun iiiiii ty

6. Introduction:

        Preparing for your First Community Meeting 
        Remembering Residents' Names

7. Interaction:

        Stacking Conversation 
        Preparing to Converse with the Quietest Resident 
        Making People Feel Important

8. Involvement:

        Creating Social Networks 
        Can We Talk? 
        Apathy and Your Resident: Does it Exist? 
         Fringe Dwellers

9. Influence:

        Mapping Assets and Discovering DEAs 
        Identifying Matches and Making Matches

10. Investment:

        Tapping Assets 
        Filling Gaps 

11. Identity

        Rituals and Traditions

12. Programming

        Planning an Activity in Seven Easy Steps 
        Program Checklist 
        Program Evaluation 
        The Year in Program 
        Programming ideas (Social, Educational, Service, and Recreational)

13. Resources

14. Bringing Closure to Your Community

15. References

16. Facilitator’s Guide


1. Introduction to BASIC

     BASIC, Building A Strong Involving Community, is a resource guide and model to help you, the Resident Assistant, build a community on your individual wing/floor and your residence hall.  It is our intention to develop a model that not only encourages planned activities on a floor, but that also gives "credit" to Resident Assistants for taking the time to get to know residents’ names, utilizing residents’ strengths, and helping residents get to know one another.   The BASIC model is interested in everything that an RA knows about and does with her/his residents.  Through BASIC we are going to encourage you not to plan every activity that takes place, but instead to help residents utilize one another.   We want you to think of yourselves as facilitators, not as the sole providers for residents. 
The skills required of you in the BASIC model are skills that many employers will be looking for as you enter the job market.  As an RA you become the manager of a community.  As you move through this model, think not only about how BASIC relates to you and the residents in your community, but also think about how profoundly the concepts will help you when you enter the workforce.

"The age of mass production is fading fast. The emerging economy is based on knowledge, imagination, curiosity, and talent.  What if we could learn to tap the wonderful, rich differences among people?  Wouldn’t a corporation that could exploit the uniqueness of each of its 1,000 employees (or 10 or 10,000) be phenomenally powerful?" (Peters, 1994, p. 38)

The quote above by Tom Peters, a businessman and author of a number of books on successful business people, illustrates clearly that one of the most valuable skills one can possess is the ability to tap into other people’s gifts, skills, assets and interests. These are skills that you will acquire by using the BASIC model.  "Mapping Assets" and "Tapping Assets" are two terms you will see regularly throughout the BASIC model. 
When maximized, the RA position is the opportunity for you to develop as a leader.   Leadership is transferable experience that employers look for in their management.  When asked to comment about the role of manager, Jack Welch, CEO of General Electric, explained:

"We have to undo a 100-year old concept and convince our managers that their role is not to control people and stay ‘on top’ of things, but rather to guide, energize, and excite," (Duetschman, 1993, p. 9).

The work that you do to guide, energize, and excite your residents about living in an involving community will develop you as a leader and prepare you for a job even after you graduate from college. 
Roll-up your sleeves, and get ready to dig in, because it is going to be an exciting year.   Just like with your classes, the more energy you put into your work, the more rewarding the experience will be. The skills included in this model are skills that will benefit you long after you check out your last resident. 

2. The Community Living Creed

     Living in Residence Halls at the South Dakota School of Mines and Technology means living in a community of students.  This community is a dynamic place, composed of various people with different values, cultures, lifestyles, and attitudes.  As members of the community, we must strive to understand the individuality and life choices of those among us.  We can best learn from one another in an atmosphere of positive encouragement and mutual respect.  We must possess a genuine desire to learn from those around us as well as give others the respect and tolerance we desire.  Each person has a role to play in our residence life community and should be allowed to do so.

SDSM&T Department of Residence Life communities incorporate the following:

EDUCATION - to ensure that teaching and learning take place beyond the classroom;

OPENNESS - so that ideas and thoughts can be discussed freely;

RESPECT - to ensure that individuality is honored so diversity can be pursued;

RESPONSIBILITY - so that the individual accepts obligations to the community and is held accountable for individual actions;

CARING - to ensure that the individual's well being is supported and that community service is encouraged;

INVOLVEMENT - so that all individuals have a voice in decisions concerning their community;

OWNERSHIP - to ensure that all individuals care for their building facilities and adjacent property;

CELEBRATION - so that SDSM&T history and culture is promoted and that community traditions are shared.

Your rights in our community include: To socialize in your room; to sleep and study without disturbance; to live in a supportive and stimulating community; to live in a safe, secure, healthy, and clean environment; to enjoy access to a variety of programs, services and facilities; and to involve yourself and others in promoting an educational, open, respectful, responsible, caring, involving, and celebrative community.

Your responsibilities in our community include: To consider the needs of other residents and balance them with your own needs; to promote care of the physical facilities, equipment, and services; to communicate with other residents and staff members, to let other residents know when they are disturbing you; to demonstrate a commitment to the community by getting involved; to promote campus and individual safety, and to demonstrate dignity and respect for all individuals.

Living in Residence Life at SDSM&T University affords you many opportunities to face challenges head on, achieve in a variety of areas and grow as an individual.  However, these things only happen when you actively participate and support the community ideals stated here.

Adapted by Becky Petitt (from In Search of Community, Ernest Boyer, Carnegie Foundation For the Advancement of Teaching and Texas Tech Department of Housing and Dining Services), Office of Diversity Education in Residence Life, 1995, Texas A&M University.
3. Tackling the Topic of Leadership

     As an RA, you can expect that you will develop as a leader this year.  Being a leader not only means driving and supporting people but also helping to create leaders along the way.  One thing you will realize very early on is that the way in which you interact with your residents will have a large effect on how successful you are as an RA.  Rogers, Anchors, and Associates (1993) explain that the way in which you lead your floor will directly impact the kind of community you create.  They state, "The dominant leadership style utilized by the RA will to a large extent determine the social climate of the living unit and will establish the style of interaction many residents have with the RA" (p. 326). Here are descriptions of the leadership styles that you may utilize in your community.


This style is characterized by high involvement on the part of the R.A.  The group is dependant on you for information, direction, and activity.


Using the coaching style, you will find yourself serving as the director, but you will spend more time involving the group in decision making.  You are vital to the success of the team, but you also acknowledge the critical role of the residents.


This style suggests that the RA take on the role of advisor instead of a primary coordinator of activities.  This style is most effective when residents have acquired some of the information and skills necessary to take responsibility for planning activities for the community.


This style is more effectively used in a well-developed community, where residents are active participants.  The RA using this style is able to share the responsibility of activity planning, decision-making, and problem solving with residents on her/his floor.


Shared leadership characterizes this leadership style.  Everyone in the group takes on an equal role of leadership responsibility.  Each person is a collaborator in the leadership process, rather than being a leader or a follower.  Thus, the entire group takes responsibility for its direction rather than relying on a single person to be its guide. 

4. Pre-Planning for the Year

A. Needs Assessment 
     Get to know the student population that you will be working with.  Find out the classifications and majors of the students and see if there are similarities among these students.  If you are a new staff member, find out what the environment within the hall has been and what needs have been met consistently in that atmosphere.  If you are a returning staff member, recall what programming efforts were needed and work effectively within that environment.  Think of some universal programs that may be needed with your individual populations and how to initiate resident involvement in those programs. 
For example, the residence hall that you will be working in is March or Dake Hall, and is mainly filled with freshmen, or the residence hall that you will be working in is Palmerton, hall and is mainly upper-class students.  What may be some programs you could think of with just that much information?  What are some general programs that may be useful to this population?  Now think of how to involve residents in community building and programming.  What may be some interests of these people?  During the course of the year you will be addressing certain issues of the residence hall.  You must be able to understand what needs and wants must be addressed.  Planning the appropriate activity will help address the needs of the residents and the hall.  Refer to the programming section to find activities that can be implemented.

B. Hall Mission

What is the mission for your hall? Or, what do you hope students will get out of living in this hall? What are you (staff, Hall Council, residents)  going to do to fulfill the mission of the hall?  The Community Living Creed can answer some of these questions.

C. Goals

Once you have defined the nature of your hall, identified the occupants, and have a mission, you are ready for a successful year.  Goals must be set for the RA, the Residents and the Hall itself.  Goals can be discussed and set at the first floor meeting of each semester.  This is a good way to get the new residents involved in the community and give them incentives to accomplish these goals by having them directly involved with the goal-setting process. 
One of the problems associated with goal setting is that it is perceived as a way to manipulate people. Our purpose should be to help residents decide for themselves what they want to do, then devise a systematic approach for meeting those needs.  Here are some guidelines to follow as you set goals for your hall. 
Goals should be:

1. Conceivable - You must be able to conceptualize the goal so that it is understandable and then be able to clearly identify what the first step or two should be.

2. Believable - In addition to being consistent with the mission of the hall, you must believe you can reach the goal.  This goes back to having a positive, affirmative attitude about the hall.  Few people can believe a goal that they have never seen achieved by someone else.

3. Achievable - The goals you set must be accomplished with the given strengths and limitations of the hall.  For example, setting a goal to have everyone in the hall attend monthly meetings and to willingly participate in every activity is not a realistic or achievable goal.  Have goals that seem achievable and once those goals are met then reassess the goals to reach a higher objective.

4. Controllable - If your goal includes the involvement of other people, you should use the goal as a stated invitation rather than a directive.  This way, other individuals would be apt to participate more willingly.  For example, if the goal is to have everyone on your floor participate in a program, this goal would not be acceptable.  However, if you set a goal to have everyone on your floor personally invited to a program, this would be an achievable and controllable goal.

5. Measurable - A goal should be stated so that it can be measured.  There should be a time, a date, objectives, and tracking to see if these goals are being met.  For example: By September 10, you will know 75% of the residents on your floor, their name, major and something unique about them.

6. Desirable - The goal should be something that the hall really wants to do and is acceptable to do and should be one that residents want to do.  There should be a balance with the goals and objectives of the hall, but the "want" factor in our programs is vital to influence the community for good.

7. Flexible - You should set one goal at a time with a number of objectives.  Objectives are specific strategies to meet a goal.  Setting an attainable goal with some objectives to accomplish that goal is a successful way of goal setting.  If something needs readjusting, be flexible and reassess the goal and objectives for proper alternatives.

"Success is the piece of mind that comes from knowing 
you did the best you were capable of doing: and you are 
the only one that will ever know that." - John Wooden 


5. The 6 I's of commun iiiiii ty

     BASIC supports Charles Schroeder in what he defines as the Four Essential Principles for Learning Communities.  He explains that the four principles for learning communities to evolve are Involvement, Investment, Influence, and Identity (Schroeder, 1993).   Since the publication of the first four I's, Frankie D. Minor (1993) has identified two additional I's, Introduction and Interaction. We believe that the last two I's added are so important, that we have listed them first.  The 6 I's don't necessarily occur in the following order and some may overlap with one another.  We will refer to the 6 I's throughout this model in order for the sections to be understood in a clear manner.   Below is an explanation of the six principles to think about when developing community on your hall.

A. Communities must receive a formal INTRODUCTION :

"When students enter a new community, they are unfamiliar with the physical setting, policies, and practices.   Older members of the community, or those in a position of authority, are responsible for welcoming, orienting, and teaching the norms, values and rules of the community to the new members" (Minor, 1993).   Minor further explains that the introduction may be formal, or informal, such as discussion and observation, (Minor, 1993).

B. Communities should provide opportunities for INTERACTION :

" . . . Interaction provides residents the opportunity to bond together by sharing common experiences.   As students interact, they are exposed to differing levels of development, knowledge, and experiences that allow them to both teach and learn . . . Ideally, faculty and staff participate in these common experiences to promote the feeling of 'campus as a community'" (Minor, 1993).

C. Communities must seek resident INVOLVEMENT:

"A true community encourages, expects, and rewards broad-based member involvement. The environment is characterized by a high degree of interaction with students assuming a multitude of roles . . . As a consequence, everyone is involved and everyone is needed.  High involving floors are characterized by supportive interactions with students naturally helping one another with personal and academic problems" (Schroeder, 1993, p. 524-25).

D. Communities must allow residents to have INFLUENCE:

"In floor units that exhibit a high degree of influence, control is vested in members and students exert maximum control over their physical and social environments . . . They are also expected to develop a social contract whereby group standards are affirmed, both individually and collectively.  In such units, students feel important, their perspective is valued, and their contributions are essential to the welfare of the group" (Schroeder, 1993, p. 524).

E. Communities must create, among residents, a sense of INVESTMENT:

"Investment is a reflection of psychological ownership and flows naturally from involvement and influence.  Students care about one another and their group.  Boundaries with respect to other groups are clear, and group or institutional property is guarded rather than being damaged . . . Students are simply unwilling to have staff assume responsibility for them -- they understand and appreciate the need for open, honest, and assertive communication with one another" (Schroeder, 1993, p. 524).

F. Community members must share a sense of IDENTITY:

"Floor units characterized by a high degree of identity are those which focus on transcendent values.  Students in such units have shared symbols similar to those fraternities and sororities use to signify their identities.  In such living units, members describe themselves in collective terms such as we and us, not I and they, thereby reflecting their emphasis on common purposes and unity" (Schroeder, 1993, p. 525). 
"You give of little when you give of your possessions. 
It is when you give of yourself that you truly give." 
- Kahil Gibram 
Top Ten things to do during check-in and during the first week of classes: 
From the home office in Palmerton 108.

10. Learn residents' names!

9. Set up a snack booth or lemonade stand for your residents during move in.

8. Have a cookout.

7. Have a TV "Veg-out" night.

6. Go to the Rec Center and work out together.

5. Take pictures of roommate pairs as they are settling in.

4. Do a progressive munchies feast within the hall or do this with other halls.

3. Set up a welcome bulletin board publicizing the new activities.

2. Create a map of residents on your wall, make sure you know their names.


6. Introduction:

Preparing for your First Community Meeting 
It is important that you are prepared for your first floor meeting so that you start the year off on the right foot.  Your audience might never be as captive as they will be at the first floor meeting.  Make the most of it!  Below are items we recommend you include in your meeting.  It will be important to add to this list anything that your hall director requires you to talk about. 
A. Learning Names: 
Dale Carnegie, entrepreneur, leader, and author of How to Win Friends and Influence People, offers many practical suggestions on principles that are important to remember when working with people. The importance of learning and using names is one of the first principles Carnegie addresses in his book.  He explains:

"We should be aware of the magic contained in a name and realize that this single item is wholly and completely owned by the person with whom we are dealing . . . and nobody else.  The name sets the individual apart; it makes him or her unique among all others" (Carnegie, 1981, p. 83).  Begin figuring out how you are going to learn the names of each resident on your floor.  Use a floor roster to begin memorizing names, so that they are familiar to you when your residents check in. Brainstorm ways that you can use your first floor meeting to learn residents’ names, as well as help them learn one another’s names.  Early on in your meeting you will want to give residents an opportunity to hear each others name and maybe learn something about one another.  Talk to your hall director and other RA's for creative suggestions about Icebreakers or team builders.

B. Uncovering Community Expectations:

The Community Living Creed can be utilized in discussing community expectations, for the hall as a whole and residents as individuals.  We also discussed the 6 I’s of a community.  We explained that Introduction, Interaction, Involvement, Influence, Investment, and Identity were critical elements to building a community (Schroeder, 1993).  This floor meeting alone is a perfect example of a formal way to provide an Introduction to your residence hall community.  Any type of gathering, such as this community meeting or a community social event allows residents Interaction with one another. Requiring your residents to uncover community expectations is a perfect way to Involve floor members, give them Influence over their community, get residents Invested in honoring the expectations agreed upon, and finally, the parameters and expectations residents establish for one another is something that members of your community can Identify with.  As you can see, the discussion of community expectations is critical in setting a precedent for community with your residents.  Specifically, these points should be covered under Community Expectations: your expectations of the community, their expectations of you, and the residents’ expectations of one another.  Let’s look at them one at a time.

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