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October 8, 2015
Charles “Chuck” Forrester is a man of his people. As the Area Coordinator of Adams, Gallatin, and Ross halls at Robert Morris University, Forrester has a responsibility, along with his colleagues at the Office of Residence Life, to serve the students to ensure their comfortably living and learning on campus.
Forrester’s latest idea involves getting students to give their input. With the university growing each year, there are more students and demographics to entertain and please in a residential community. To counter that demand, Forrester emailed the student body on Sept. 22 with a Google Document that suggested ideas such as a haunted house within a dormitory, movie nights on campus, as well as off campus events in nearby Pittsburgh.
“The Office of Residence Life wants to provide as many opportunities as possible for students to feel connected and involved at RMU,” said Forrester. “While we’ve done many surveys in the past that lead us to develop new programs this survey was done to get as much input as possible from students on things they would like to see on campus.”
The survey could be seen as a response to the average student who may say that there is a lack of things to do on campus on the weekends. Victoria Snyder, the director of multicultural student services, disagrees.
“I think we do a significant amount of weekend programming as it is. Students just don’t come or they don’t want to come…But I think once we have students start to attend one program or two programs or other things, I think that you’ll find more people. It’s that whole group mentality thing,” said Snyder.
“I think it’s kind of a catch-22 when it comes to programming on the weekends. Most students want to go home because there’s nothing to do on the weekends, and when we schedule things no one comes because they don’t want to do things on the weekends or they don’t like it.”
Multiple minds, beyond just Forrester and his coworkers, have contributed to the potential ideas that students may soon be seeing. The Community Advisers or CAs, more commonly referred to at most schools as Residence Advisers or RAs, as well as the Residence Hall Association at RMU have worked hand in hand as a team with Residence Life to not only brainstorm, but act as liaisons on behalf of them.
“I would like to see events that are continuous. For example, trivia night restaurant style. I think that would be pretty cool…something people can make teams with. I think it would help people retain, you know, enjoyment on campus,” said Emily Carney, vice president of RHA and a CA at RMU.
Carney has also added that there is indeed an emphasis in utilizing the university’s proximity to Pittsburgh, specifically Station Square for an evening or a Saturday morning at the Strip District downtown.
The drawback comes when transportation is needed to get a plethora of students downtown, which can be quite expensive.
“There’s a lot of free events in Pittsburgh, we just don’t have the capability always of bussing or getting people to the events,” said Snyder.
Ultimately, Forrester is focused on giving students the opportunity to be a part of growing RMU as a community.
“The Office of Residence Life wants to create an environment where all RMU students feel like RMU is their home, where they have things to, and can join in activities that are of interest to them,” said Forrester.
At the time of this story being written, Forrester had received over 100 submissions of the survey completed with various responses and ideas.