Your Community: A Guided Journey
By: Amanda Mesirow
Object: To assist coordinators in visualizing their community.
Time needed: 1 hour or more, depending on how much you have people share about their communities.
Materials needed: Paper/pens
Introduction (can be read by moderator):
Most of us know the most important elements of a community: open doors, programming, involved staff members, etc.
This journey will take you a little deeper into what it means to build community; more specifically, how to develop the community you want. After all, it’s hard to build something if you don’t know what you want the end result to look like!
Instructions (should be read aloud by moderator, or can be printed out and given to participants):
Sketch your community/a typical community (e.g., a floor) in your building
Identify problem areas (isolation zones, unattractive facilities, etc.)
Identify popular areas (recreation areas, high traffic areas, social places)
(Moderator reads): For all of these, go with a “gut” reaction...what are your initial impressions or thoughts? If you are a returning coordinator, you can either describe what your community has been in the past or what you would like it to be in the future.
What posters are hanging in the lobby? What are they advertising? Who created them?
It’s Friday night. What does your main social area look like? What does it sound like? Who’s there?
Who is in the main office? What does it sound like? What does it look like? What could be improved about this area? What would bring students in?
What does your office look like? What does your desk look like? What is hanging on the walls? Where do students sit? Where do you sit?
Where is the RA’s room? What is on the door? Where do students sit? Is it neat enough for students to feel comfortable entering? Is it set up to give student’s room to enter/sit comfortably?
What three words would you want students to use to describe your hall?
What three words would you want staff to use to describe your hall?
What three words would you want your supervisor to use to describe your hall?
How do you want residents to feel when entering the hall?
How do you want staff to feel?
How do you want prospective students to feel?
Now choose one of the areas you described above and write what it would need to look like how you visualize a positive community in your hall. For example, if you wrote that the lobby is a problem area because of the lack of furniture, how could that goal be achieved? If you wrote that there are posters for programs all over your community, what type of programming model/expectations would achieve the goals you have in mind?
Brainstorm with colleagues, supervisor, and supervisees to make your vision a reality!
This can be adjusted to focus on any area of community-building…programming, facilities, staff involvement, hall government involvement, coordinator visibility, etc. Just add visualization questions for the areas you wish to focus on.