The position of community facilitator will be eliminated from dorms starting next year and replaced with class-specific advisers who will focus more on fostering a sense of community among students and less on disciplinary issues, housing officials said.
Under a new system created by Community Living and Learning Center staff, CFs will be supplanted by house proctors in freshman dorms, house scholars in sophomore dorms and house mentors in junior and senior dorms. The new House Staff Communities will emulate Living and Learning Communities on campus and try to build better relationships among students, CLLC officials said.
“We have had a higher number of roommate conflicts and behavioral problems (i.e. vandalism, violence, alcohol hospitalizations) this year and want to encourage and promote the positive behaviors associated with the Living and Learning Communities,” CLLC Assistant Dean Rebecca Sawyer wrote in an e-mail this week. “Statistics show that residents involved in an LLC have higher GPAs, less judicial violations and are/become student leaders on campus.”
In the past, CFs have focused on reporting students for disciplinary action, such as liquor, drug and noise violations. Earlier this year, CLLC eliminated a system in which CFs monitored and recorded their residents’ mood swings in a computer database after The Hatchet interviewed officials about the system. The new House Staff members will not make nightly rounds through the buildings, and their role will not be to document incidents or write up violations of policy, Sawyer said.
Each House Staff position will have a different focus based on the year of residents. House proctors will try to help freshmen solve conflicts, assess their own skills and learn how to better represent themselves in different aspects of life from roommate conflicts to political discussions; house scholars will help sophomores identify and secure internships and take advantage of study abroad; and house mentors, a position that can be filled only by a full-time graduate student, will help upperclassmen prepare for personal and professional success after graduation.
The introduction of the House Staff positions coincides with the announcement of a fundamental change in the housing selection process. Beginning this year, housing lottery numbers will no longer be based on the number of credits students have, but by their years at GW.
By concentrating members of each class together, Sawyer said it “allows us to staff appropriately for each building population. We are very excited about next year.”
Current CFs said the changes in the resident adviser program will be effective and said they will be applying to be a part of the new program.
“The House project will have a positive effect on the GW community because under the current system, CFs have to handle so many disciplinary problems, oftentimes damaging the relationship between the CF and the resident,” said junior Ashley Keiser, a CF in Lafayette Hall.
“I think this will be a positive change by bringing the academic component of college life into the dorms,” said sophomore Michael Hyland, a CF in Mitchell Hall. “CFs should not just be the police.”
Similar programs are in place at the University of Virginia and Harvard University, Sawyer said.
RHA President Amrita Bagaria said, “We support the changes to the CF program by CLLC because the new House positions better account for the types of problems that residents face throughout the academic year.”
Students interested in applying for the new House Staff positions can obtain applications on the CLLC Web site and complete them by Feb. 6. Students must hold at least a 3.0 GPA and be enrolled at GW full time.