RAs recognized for accomplishments

When Southeastern’s Resident Assistants returned from the Equipping Resident Assistants Convention (ERA), they did so with several individual and cumulative awards and accolades. So, in order to recognize the students’ success, the Housing Department put on a ceremony to recognize the RAs as a whole, as well as some of their individual achievements.

Among the universities attending the ERA were Xavier University, Grambling University, LSU, LSU-Alexandria, Tulane University, Louisiana Tech, Loyola University, Northwestern University and Centenary College.

To begin the award ceremony, graduating senior and Hall Director Le’Traven Thigpen announced that junior social work major and Pride Hall RA Heather Breecher was chosen for the Louisiana 2011 Female RA of the Year, which garnered a long applause from her fellow RAs.

After Breecher was announced, Thigpen then turned the focus to several groups of students who gave presentations at ERA and followed that by recognizing the recipients for the best conference program. Zachary Taylor Hall RA Christopher McKinley spoke on behalf of the group that won the award for best conference program, saying that the program was about diversity, accepting all of his residents and what they could possibly be going through.

Thigpen would then mention all RAs who also served on Hall Council, before moving on to the award the RAs received for staff development, dubbed the “R Amazing Race.”

After their accomplishments in staff development were recognized, Thigpen noted their final two awards: the spirit award, which they have brought home three times in a row and the best skit in the competition.

McKinley described the skit as a spoof of a reunion special seen on one of the Real Housewives shows.

“We enacted scenes that included realistic issues that RAs face in the dorms. There was an alcohol and roommate conflict scene that the host of the ‘reunion’ narrated while asking the RAs questions as the scenes were acted out,” said McKinley. “The RAs then told the host of the reunion how they solved their issues in accordance with proper RA training and procedure. It was filled with comedy and popular phrases that the audience could relate to. In the end, there was a huge brawl onstage and the audience was reminded, “You can’t spell DRAMA without RA.”

After the honors and accolades were announced, University President John L. Crain gave a short speech thanking the RAs for all of their hard work and noted the fact that housing retention plays a major part in the income of the school.

“To see that they’re accomplishing so much as RAs and as people in general, just to watch them grow over the time that I’ve seen them, it’s amazing,” said housing coordinator Aaron Sinclair. “But just for the university in general, it’s a huge accomplishment for Southeastern to be recognized among all the other schools in Louisiana. It’s amazing.”

Still, the experiences of ERA didn’t escape the RAs.

“You learn a lot about how to become a better RA,” said Justin Roberson, a senior art education major and Taylor Hall RA. “It gives you a better appreciation of being a RA here at Southeastern because not a lot of the RAs at other schools get the same privileges we do.”