It’s time for Southeastern’s Residential Hall Association to create ‘The Big Picture” once again at the annual SWACURH conference.
For the past four years, Southeastern Louisiana University’s housing department has attended a conference called SWACURH, which stands for the South West Affiliate of College and University Residence Halls. They have invited many resident assistants but also residents of the campus as well.
Resident Assistant and marketing representative for the conference, Allie Fenerty said, “This conference is important to us, because it presents new ideas for us to bring back and create here on our campus. Getting to meet students from other schools in the southern region and build connections makes our job here on campus, because they are always willing to help. It also gives us the opportunity to build leadership skills to help better not only ourselves, but our overall program.”
SWACURH’s organization was founded in 1980 under National Affiliate of College and University Residence Halls or otherwise known as NACURH. It first began with the Midwest states but over time it expanded to the whole nation. The purpose of the entire conference being to allow students to grow in leadership opportunities, create national philanthropies, and to offer scholarships to students involved in residential life.
Each year the conference is held at a new University in the South West region. This year the conference will be held at the University of Central Arkansas with all new interactions like never before. This year, commercials were made to advertise the location of the conference for schools to plan for. The conference even takes the time to plan the hotel and late night activities for in students wish to be involved in.
“We are very excited to attend this year in Arkansas. I have the opportunity to serve on the SWACURH Marketing Task Force, and our main purpose is to develop ideas that get people to not only to come to the conference but continue to come year after year,’ said Fenerty. “We are currently working on gathering video segments to present a commercial for those wanting to go to get them pumped up.”
The conference’s theme this year will be “The Big Picture” and those attending will do all events related to the theme. Every year small competitions are opened up for each university such as a step show, sheet sign decorating contest, a duck mascot decorating contest, program creativity and many more. Last year, Southeastern placed 1st for their step show dance.
“We are currently creating our ideas for the Role Call contest, which we placed first in last year, for our banner and display,” said Fenerty. “I was also put in charge to spearhead costume ideas for the themed days. I will specifically be working on that this weekend.”
Students of this organization spoke about their dedications and the amount of time that went into planning. As seen on the organization’s social media account, there has been many fundraising activities to go towards the weekend conference trip as well as decorating, designing, and painting activities.
Calyn Landaiche, Resident Assistant over RHA, said “I love going to these conferences. It is an amazing experience being able to meet so many other resident assistants across the nation who do the same job that we do. These people that we meet are able to give us new ideas, topics, programs, and even ways to handle certain scenarios while on the job.”
Students not only get away on a weekend trip for games and fun but they also can participate on a national committee to create the program. They can design all the activities, signs, themes, and much more. They have the chances to create competitions that promote friendly and engaging activities.
Resident Hall Association President, Amanda Costales, said, “I also help plan and facilitate programs to help inform students about different things or to get residents to interact with each other. My position for SWACURCH is RHA president which requires me to attend boardroom meetings at our regional conference in November as well as be a voice for our school throughout the conference.”
Universities who get involved with NACURH programs also can offer their residents more philanthropy, fundraising and even scholarship opportunities. The OCM scholarship was created from students attending the conference and it is still given out to students with high involvement and dedication. This opportunity was learned through the first year they attended back in 2014.
“Everyone on our E-Board team is always working on different programs for the residence to make sure that everyone has a good time, makes new friends, and comes to future events, said Costales. “While at the conference, you’re able to learn a variety of different things because at the conference there are different informational programs that can span from diets/how to exercise properly to how to manage your time. By having a broad range of topics offered, we’re able to bring back different kinds of information that may help/interest residence.”
Within those topics are things such as: minute to win it, charades, hazing, alcohol or substance abuse, neglect, time management, health, stress away, and many more. These are programs that have now also been recreated here. They have even recreated training methods for resident assistants to handle certain situations, types of people, or how to even better involvement within their residential halls.
“I feel like this has really supported me through my job and experience while in college. It taught me about leadership and ways to get my residents involved and to want to always do more,” Landaiche said. “This is the type of program that I wish everyone could experience”.
Resident Assistants on campus are looking forward to this trip and what else they could bring back for students to learn or interact with. They plan to push forth their ideas while at the conference in hopes of placing in an activity and bringing home the gold for Southeastern once again.
For more information on SWACURH, please go to their website at https://www.swacurh.nacurh.org/about-us or https://swacurhconf2017.wixsite.com/bigpicture. One can also follow RHA on Instagram for further information about their trip.