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Educating the whole person

by Anthea Ayebaze | Oct 10, 2016

Posted Aug. 17 - “My name is Kevin, but my friends call me Gork.” I was a first-year student at Manchester and my resident assistant (RA) was Gork. It was an interesting start to life in Ikenberry Hall. He guided us through the challenges of residence hall living, led us in snowball fights when other halls came marauding and, most memorably, taught us how to belch the alphabet.

I’m reminded of Gork every time I meet with our RAs at the beginning of the year during their orientation. They understand that their roles are complicated. They are friends, mentors, enforcers, leaders, teachers and guides, all at the same time. They also know, from experience, that they make an enormous difference in the lives of their residents. One student said that she became an RA because she appreciated and admired her own RA when she was a first-year student.

One of our priorities at Manchester is educating the whole person. For undergraduate students who live on our North Manchester campus – nearly 1,000 this year – their growth from self to best self includes lessons learned from their RAs. I was glad that Gork was my RA and grateful that our students this year will be served so well by a great group of RAs.