March 6, 2008
On Bison Hill, resident assistants consider their jobs to be a form of ministry. It has become a passion for two WMU resident assistants, junior Jill McDonald and sophomore Melissa Krauss.
"I am patient and passionate about my job as an RA, and I'm willing to stop whatever it is that I'm doing to serve my residents," Krauss said.
At this year's RA training session, resident directors placed an emphasis on building community in the residence halls. The RAs were encouraged to be guides to the residents in finding opportunities to build community with fellow residents and other students on and off campus.
One way Krauss has helped to build community within WMU is by just spending time with her residents. She has learned how to find opportunities for community building in the "everyday moments."
"I was in my room trying to take a nap one Saturday, and I just kept hearing girls yelling down the hall. I tried ignoring, but they just kept yelling," Krauss said.
"So I got out of my room and was about to yell at them for being too loud, when I saw 20 girls watching Ultimate Ninja Warrior. They were all screaming and yelling at the TV and pretending to be ninjas. So instead I sat down and watched it with them for a good two hours. Now we are all training to be Ultimate Ninja Warriors."
McDonald has also had to help her residents deal with difficult moments in their lives. Last year, when freshman Bethany Swift was killed in an automobile accident, McDonald was a source of support for her residents.
"When my girls are having problems and they need someone to talk to, they seek me out because they know I want to talk to them," McDonald said.
McDonald and Krauss refer to their residents as "my girls" because of the strong bond they have formed throughout the school year.
"Even the girls I had last year are still ‘my girls'," McDonald said.