Residence Life Conference – Student Leader Reflection
The weekend of January 10-12, six of our Residence staff members had the opportunity to kick-start the semester by representing Ryerson at the Residence Life Conference at the University of Toronto, Mississauga. You might be wondering what exactly this conference is all about. Basically, it’s a conference full of hundreds of Residence Assistants (RAs) and Academic Links (ALs). As you can probably imagine, there was a lot of school colours, cheering, and laughter.
The conference, however, wasn’t all about which school could cheer the loudest. In addition to all the school spirit, the Residence Life Conference is an opportunity for Residence Life staff to meet colleagues from various schools across Ontario – and from a couple schools outside the province too! The staff who attended had the chance to learn how other institutions’ residences work, learn from each other, and expand our skills.
Each school had one or more members of their delegation prepare a presentation about a topic that they thought was important to Residence Life that other student staff could learn from and take back to their own staff teams. Some of the presentations that I thought were most impactful discussed how to best support mature students (presented by one of our own Ryerson Residence Life staff), how to help international students adapt to school and residence, and being more self-aware in order to be best RA for first year students. All of these presentations included personal experiences from Residence Life staff members as well as strategies we could take back to our own institutions in order to create the best experience possible for our students. These are just a few of the presentations that the Ryerson delegation had the opportunity to attend and learn from.
From learning new things, to cheering, to participating in a drum café, and hearing Ryerson’s own Tony Conte deliver an inspiring keynote speech, the Residence Life Conference was truly an unforgettable experience. I think it’s safe to say that the Ryerson delegation came back feeling inspired, refreshed and energized. We’re ready to share our experiences and excitement with the rest of the team and give Ryerson Residence the best second semester possible.
By: Alicia Rowley, Community Leader and Pit 13 Residence Advisor