Photo by: Nick Conley
Students on campus have voices worthy of being heard, and resident assistants are taking note.
Every week, the residence assistants collect 10 comments from 10 different students to make sure their suggestions and critiques are taken into serious consideration.
“We started taking comments the very first week we became RAs,” junior Jessica Frost said. “I know that people here at OC really care about the students’ opinions, and that’s really nice because not a lot of schools do. [OC] wants to know what the students want, so they sit down and look at each comment individually and see what they can do about every single comment, because they care.”
The really big and expensive requests get passed along more quickly than others, but those responsible for reading the comments take every effort to meet student needs.
“The housing people go through the comments, and they send them to each individual department that the comment relates to,” Frost said. “I’ve seen the comments fulfilled. Just in the dorm, I’ve written down someone’s comment one day and a couple of days later, it was done. So that’s nice; they’re really getting things done.”
According to Frost, she writes down comments when she does room check at night, and sometimes girls from Gunn Henderson randomly give comments when they see her around campus.
“I love being an RA, and a lot of people think it’s really hard getting 10 comments a week, but it’s not,” Frost said. “It’s just a part of the job that I love. The girls are eager to give comments and let their voices be heard. I love it.”
Frost is not the only one who sees the benefit of students giving comments. Phase IV Resident Director Katelyn Fabrie does as well.
“It’s a great way for RAs to get involved with their area and helps create a community,” Fabrie said. “Students’ voices are incredibly important, so this is a great way for us to be on the pulse.”
Although many campus improvements have been made, a few still have yet to be fulfilled, though it could be just a matter of time. According to Fabrie, she benefits from the suggestions also.
“I get light bulbs from the Nowlin Center now,” Fabrie said. “I feel like it’s an awesome part of my job to make students feel appreciated and their voices feel important.”
According to the Director of Residence Life Judy Davis, she goes through each comment line by line to make sure all comments are carefully reviewed.
“If we know that we’re going to be able to cover it budget wise, we want to do those things for the students,” Davis said. “If we think that it’s practical and can help a lot of students, we hand pick those things that we think we can fulfill.”
Davis said that although she tries to fulfill comments that students really want, it is not always up to her.
“There are things I think might be important that come from my position’s point of view, whereas physical plant might think it’s something that might not be very easy,” Davis said.
According to Davis, the students have been asking for a drinking fountain in the community center of Phase VI, and she has adamantly worked to make it happen, but has been unsuccessful so far.
“I would love to have a drinking fountain in the community center,” Davis said. “In fact, there should have been one in the community center when it was first built, but it didn’t happen; and now in order for us to do it, we would have to jackhammer the floor and put in a drain and a water source. It’s very costly to do that.”
Although taking comments have produced positive results, some students don’t like being forced to give comments.
“It can become really annoying at times,” senior Andrea Moore said. “Sometimes I really don’t have anything to say, and the RAs constantly taunt you until you say something.”
According to Moore, if she has something to say, she will let them know.
“You can’t force people to have something to say all the time,” Moore said. “I don’t have complaints about anything, I don’t have any suggestions to give right now. I appreciate the improvements that have been made, but I don’t care to be harassed until I want to see another improvement.”
According to Davis, the students should give comments to their residence assistants that would really make campus life better. All of those comments get passed on to the people that make decisions in the various departments on campus.