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RA ALUMNI

Fall 2012

Newsletter

THIS ISSUE Letter from the Director...1 Academic Initiatives......... 2 New Property Leases........ 3

On Iowa is a new tradition started with the class of 2015. On Iowa! is a three-day welcome and orientation event where students are encouraged to: • • • • •

Make friends with new and returning students, Discover Hawkeye traditions and what it means to be a University of Iowa student, Prepare to excel in your classes, Explore activities and student organizations, and Commit to The IOWA Challenge!

The official On Iowa! activities kicked off Friday, at an opening celebration at Kinnick Stadium. There, students heard from keynote speaker Dan Gable, learned the Iowa Fight Song, and had dinner on the patio. On Iowa! closed with Convocation, a ceremony in which the class committed to being a Hawkeye, and had a dinner with UI President Sally Mason at the President’s Block Party. The picture to the right is from the kick-off dinner at Kinnick where all 4600 students ran from both end zones to form the “I” at the center of the field. This was just one of the memorable events that took place during On Iowa! For more information visit: http://oniowa.uiowa.edu/.

In The News....................... 4 Renovations....................... 5 Star Rez.............................. 6

From The Senior Director... Hello! It’s been a while… After a brief hiatus, we have redeveloped the RA Alumni newsletter. Our hope is to provide you updates from the campus, particularly the residence halls. No one has a closer connection to the residence halls than those who have worked there. You know all struggles and successes that come with the position. You worked long hours with very few “thank yous” from your residents. Often, as you were saving a resident’s life through a timely intervention, you were being told how you were ruining it. Does it bring back fond memories? On the front lines you have amazing stories to tell. Some of them are very poignant; others are hilarious; still others are unbelievable. We want to hear from you. I want to include feedback and stories from former RAs who use the skills they learned in their position in their jobs today. I would like to hear what the most pressing issues were during your time on the job. I want to know how many of your peers you keep in touch with on a regular basis, how many of

them were in your wedding, how many of them you still vacation with. I’m interested in knowing if you would like to talk to our RA staffs about a topic you have expertise in, or simply to motivate them. It doesn’t matter whether you are 26 or 66; once an RA – always an RA. This issue will provide you some information about what we are doing in 2012-2013. The online version will allow us to link to other items and show some nice pictures of buildings and activities. I hope, in future issues, you will tell us about when you were an RA. Perhaps you would like to get together as a staff in the future to see the residence halls (or your old room); we would be happy to be your tour guides. Perhaps you would like to create a scholarship to help current RAs or to honor a colleague that made an impact on you and others. Perhaps you want to find out “where is this person now?” Most of all, we want you to read and respond. If you’re not enjoying what is in this newsletter, then we shouldn’t be creating it. We want to reconnect you to the campus and the job you loved as page 1


Clinton Street Market Fall 2011 Burge Hall opened a new C-Store named The Clinton Street Market. The new market features made-to-order sandwiches, homemade soups, fruit smoothies, milkshakes, salads, sushi and more.

Academic Initiatives In 2011-12 Quadrangle did something different with its programming model. The first of its type to be instituted at the University of Iowa, Quad’s residential curriculum pilot looked to make intentional conversations a touchstone of the student experience, as well as allow students to learn, grow, and form new relationships with others. In the past few years, The Path (Iowa’s previous programming model) has been having some significant struggles with how it works from floor to floor. RAs have found The Path to be vague, yet flexible to each community. In general, it was time to try something new to see the impact on the community. Within the residential curriculum model, there is a basis for understanding the “how” of having each of these conversations, as well as a “why”. The residential

IOwa Challenge Currier Hall and Stanley Hall started a new academic and involvement recognition/incentive initiative called IC($) or Iowa Challenge Dollar. This initiative was created to promote the five pillars of the Iowa Challenge (Excel, Engage, Stretch, Serve, and Choose). IC($) are physical IC($) bills - one for each pillar - that get handed out to residents for exemplifying the Iowa Challenge in the residence halls. The IC($) include a list of university resources on the back to

curriculum has a strong theoretical base to encourage learning and self-authorship, providing many constructs that allow it to help students find meaning throughout their time here at the university. It works differently than a traditional programming-centered model, in that it utilizes learning outcomes and sequencing of meaning strategies to aid the residents in being able to engage and learn. Overall, the piloted curriculum in Quadrangle has gone extremely well. There has been a drop in judicial cases over the past year and a greater sense of community on the floors. We are excited to see where this takes us in the coming months of assessing how residential curriculum has impacted the Quadrangle student experience. By Alandis Johnson Quad Hall Coordinator help connect residents, and they serve as a raffle ticket for a semester-end event to earn prizes as an incentive for earning the dollars. Residents can earn IC($) by attending residence hall programs, serving their community, utilizing the tutoring services in the residence hall, and by working out in the fitness center. Bulletin boards and flyers advertised the initiative to residents in the fall semester, and RAs were instructed to help Continue to page 3 page 2


New Property Leases Due to the increasing number of first year students coming to the University of Iowa, University Housing & Dining needed to quickly expand the number of beds we had. Trying to find 150-200 beds in March or April always proves difficult, but we were able to lease an entire building in The Lodge. While it is nearly 2 miles from the main part of campus, it provided some amenities we were looking for. The apartments were furnished, had kitchens, and were 2 and 4 bedrooms with one person per bedroom. The rent included utilities and internet, much like the residence halls. Once leased, the building was secured to ensure only Building 3 residents were allowed in, RAs and a Hall Coordinator were hired, and residents were assigned there. Our commitment was only to house returning students and transfer students in The Lodge. In all, 171 beds were leased at The Lodge, and the building has been very popular with the

students, despite its location. The ability to live in an apartment for the academic year (even under residence hall policies that include no alcohol) has proved to be positive. This coming fall will be our third year in Building 3@The Lodge (in November it was bought by a company and the name was changed to Hawks Ridge), and the building remains well occupied. In the fall of 2011, another projected increase in the number of first year students, UH&D approached a local landlord about leasing Centerstone apartments, located on the corner of Dubuque and Davenport streets. With 21 5-bedroom apartments, this was another opportunity for students who wanted to have more privacy to live in an apartment but pay the university for an academic year contract. Due to its location, it was decided that Centerstone would be an excellent venue for returning Honors students. With 117 beds in Continue to page 7

IOwa Challenge (Continued) connect residents’ behavior to the Iowa Challenge when distributing the IC($). The IC($) Semester-End event for the fall semester was held at the beginning of December. For the event, a member of the Student Success Team spoke about what the Iowa Challenge is and explained to the residents just how important it is to get involved in the residence halls and at the university. The event had over $1500 in prizes, including gift cards to restaurants in Iowa City to help residents Stretch, stores that promoted Choose, 50 study packs to help residents during finals week, three Kindles and the new Ipad. The event had over 400 residents attend and was one of the most successful events of the school year because it helped residents participate more in the Iowa Challenge.

Residents attending the IC($) SemesterEnd event participated in a survey to assess the initiative, and the results will be helpful to continue the initiative - especially now since the initiative has grown to include the entire East Side. Special recognition should go to the Currier Hall and Stanley Hall RAs, Hall Coordinators, Secretary, and the initiative’s task force - RAs Kaitlin Wren, Andrew Smith, and Hall Coordinator Brandon Paulson.

A Student’s Perspective... Living in CenterstonE Apartments I chose to live in Centerstone because although it is leased by the University Housing & Dining, it is apartment style living, and it provides a smooth transition from on campus Residence Halls to off campus Apartment living. Coming to college was a huge transition for me, and while I like cooking for myself and having my own room, I was not ready to make the decision to live in an off campus apartment so soon, and I had no idea about how to look for a place to live even if I did. It seemed strange to have to consider where I’d be living the following year so soon after moving in and getting settled where I was. Living on campus is easy: there are no utility bills or monthly rent due, and Centerstone has most of the benefits of off campus living. The apartments are very nice, and I have my own kitchen and bathroom that I share with my roommates. The best thing, however, is having my own room. I’m very glad I did the traditional Residence Hall route my freshman year, but also very thankful for my own space this year. Kelsey Wiggs Honor Student Class of 2015

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which Hawkeye logo were you?

In the news... Star rez roommate matching system Thousands of people across the country use online programs to find potential dates. Now students at the University of Iowa can use a similar service to help select a roommate. “I’ve been calling it Match.com for roommates,” Ryan Cohenour said of the new software that allows students to fill out a survey about themselves and find other students with similar habits and interests who may make good roommates. Cohenour, assistant director of contracts and assignments in UI Housing & Dining, interviewed more than 200 first-year students as he developed questions for the survey, which covers everything from preferred room temperature and how students feel about overnight guests to whether they go home on the weekends or are OK with living with someone who smokes. In the past, students were partnered at random based on the type of dorm room they requested. Cohenour said he hopes the new survey will help more students find a roommate who is a good fit. “We’re anxious to see if we have a decreased number of students asking to switch rooms next year,” he said.

The software, known as StarRez, will help with other administrative tasks as well, including billing, and correspondence. “One of the great things about the new software is it allows us to do everything electronically so there’s no paper waste,” said Tiffany Bentrim, marketing coordinator for University Housing and Dining. Once students fill out the StarRez survey, Cohenour said they’ll be able to see others who had similar interests, habits and personality traits. Then it will be up to the students to seek out their potential roommates, either on Facebook, over email or by other means. “There may be students from Solon and Chicago who most likely have never met, but they may be the best roommates ever,” Cohenour said. In the past they would have never connected before coming to campus, but now they can see all their corresponding information and communicate with one another.” Written by Emily Schettler Iowa City Press-Citizen

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Before... Changes/Renovations Much has been happening in housing and dining over the past few years. Perhaps, most notably, is our name. We are officially University Housing & Dining. On July 1, 2011, we assumed responsibility for all campus cafes, c-stores, and catering operations in and outside the IMU (including Kinnick Stadium and Carver Hawkeye Arena) that are not affiliated with the UIHC. The addition of those dining operations netted us about 50 more full time employees and about 800 additional student employees. Employee and student numbers will be even higher when the lower level of the IMU is reopened (tentatively scheduled for the fall of 2014).

annually spends about $8 million a year on renovations and upgrades in the halls. Among them, all our restrooms will be renovated by the summer of 2016. In some buildings we have upgraded what is existing; in others we have successfully implemented a new model – private restrooms in a cluster on each floor. We began bringing this idea to reality in Daum Hall. The feedback has been very positive, so we began the same process in Slater Hall. A photo doesn’t really do the project justice but we’ve included it anyway. Before and after in Daum is a pretty good way of understanding what we have done. This restroom renovation has been so successful that we actually had to lock the main doors to the restroom suite in Slater because people from other floors were coming to the upper three floors (where the phase 1 renovation occurred) to use the restrooms. The residents on the floor couldn’t get timely access to their own restrooms because they were so popular! Our plan is to replicate this pattern in Stanley Hall, the lone remaining building without renovated restrooms.

A more exciting event is the planning for the first new residence hall at the UI in 45 years! The building will be located between Hillcrest Hall and Rienow Hall, along Grand Avenue. The building will be 10 stories tall and will house around 500 students. The floor plans are not finalized at this time, but they are based on a model around living learning communities. On these floors the RA:resident ratio will be 1:28 instead of the usual 1:42 on other Iowa floors. Included with New Residence Hall the building will be about 12,000 square feet of neighborhood learning commons space. This space will include a large multipurpose room, group study/tutoring rooms, sports grill, and a two-story seating/gathering space. There are currently no gathering spaces for more than 50 residents in the entire west residence neighborhood. We hope that the learning commons will become the primary gathering space for students, especially on Friday and Saturdays as an alternative to going downtown. The estimated price tag for construction is $52 million, which is more than every other residence hall combined when it was originally built!

...After

Of course, we are still keeping our other residence halls in top shape. UH&D page 5


Letter from the Senior Director Continued a student. I hope we are effective in that goal. If you ever want to reach out, contact me at vonstange@uiowa.edu or call me at 319-335-3000. I would love to chat with you. I hope this edition makes you nostalgic about the good old days; those memories are probably among the best of your college experience. Von Stange, Ed.D. Assistant Vice President for Student Life and Senior Director, University Housing & Dining

GroundBreaking We had a terrific groundbreaking ceremony for the new west campus residence hall on Wednesday, July 18, 2012. Present at the ceremony were President Mason, Vice President Rocklin, Regent Downer, State Senator Dvorsky, and Associated Residence Halls Executive Director Sean Ryan. With the temperatures outside over 100 degrees, the ceremony was held in the Rehder Lounge of Quadrangle Hall. We did go outside to turn the dirt, but went back inside to have some snacks. Take a look at some picture from the event to the right. For more pictures and to keep up to date with University Housing & Dining news like us on Facebook! www.facebook.com/UIHousing

Star rez - Reapplication Students who currently live in the residence halls and wish to reapply to live there again next year will find a new system in place that makes the process easier and more accessible than ever before. This year, We are implementing StarRez, student housing software that allows online applications and selfservice; expedited payments; livinglearning community and room selfselection for returning students; and roommate matching surveys for firstyear students. Returning students will feel more empowered with this system.

Students will be able to pick the exact room they want and the person they’ll be living with. Everything is electronic, so it is very convenient for the students and there will be no paper waste. Another change for this year: there will be no application fee for returning students applying to live in the residence halls. Students currently living in the residence halls received an email from University Housing & Dining Jan. 17–18 with details about the new application process. The email included the day and time that the student is authorized to sign on to reapply for housing. The reapplication process was be completed mid-February.

New Property Leases (Continued) the complex, it would allow movement of returning honor students to live in Centerstone, allowing more first year Honors students to live in the Honors House at Kate Daum Hall. Bedroom furniture and a kitchen table was placed in each apartment, and 3 RAs living in one apartment comprised the staff in the building. Centerstone opened to 100% occupancy and, while there are aspects of the building that are less than desirable (no common space, no security cameras, UH&D not doing maintenance), the students seem to enjoy the building and living experience. Both buildings will probably continue to be occupied until the new residence hall opens in the fall of 2015. Please see the article on page 3 from resident Kelsey Wiggs, who lives in Centerstone this year. We hope to not have to lease any more off campus properties; they are nice variety, but they aren’t built the way we would build them. page 6


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