Thursday, April 14, 2005


Because Anderson Hall is the largest of AU residence halls, it has a staff of 21 Resident Assistants, plus a live in Resident Director (my next door neighbor on the first floor) and me. Each week, we gather for staff meetings. For three years these meetings were held at 11 PM, a time that fit with everyone’s schedule, but did keep us up quite late. At mid year we acquired a new Resident Director who moved the meetings to 8:15. I enjoy staff meetings and try to attend all of them, although the revised time slot made that more difficult. They are a time to connect with all of the RA’s, many of whom I have come to know quite well and, at times, helped with a variety of problems as a readily available, informal advisor.

The last staff meeting on the year is devoted to “closing”. As I sat through the details of room check-out, refrigerator defrosting, assessment of damages, “check out” and the like, I was counting back. My first “closing” was in the spring of 2002; I moved into Anderson January of that year and went through my first RA orientation and training. So this closing was my 4th; I had gone through this process more than anyone else in the room. Most of the Resident Assistants in the room had been freshmen. The Resident Director who was giving instructions – this was her first “closing” – had been eighteen or nineteen years old when I first moved into Anderson.

It would be hard not to have some feelings of “Venerability” not only being the oldest person in the room, but the probably the oldest resident of Anderson hall.

But ‘venerability” is a state of mind rather than being measured by the passage of time. In fact, I feel more invigorated, more aware, more in touch with new cohorts of residents than I did four years ago. Each year I am saddened by the departure of old friends among graduating seniors and the RA community. But I know that come September, there will a new cohort of freshmen with whom to experience “moving in”, Sunday night dinners, end of semester study breaks, office hours and even early morning fire alarm evacuations.

In the rhythm of University life, May is a time of completion and August is a time of renewal. How many callings provide such opportunities for renewal, growth and discovery. I have four years worth of Anderson Hall residents as well as many other students, and my talented student-staff members too, for providing me the gift of such opportunities.

I am deeply grateful… and thankful.


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