Monday, May 7, 2012

Spring Weekend for Res-Life

At Westfield State University, spring weekend is a time for students to blow off some steam before finals. There is a concert, and activities on the green to keep students minds off of their school work. However, for some students this is the busiest time of the year,

The residential life student-staff are the ones that end up more stressed during spring weekend. Most f the resident assistants (RA's) are working upwards of 14 hours in a three day span. A lot of them miss out on the activities on spring weekend.

“It kind of stinks that some of us will be missing out on the fun stuff on the green,” said Nicole Morin, who is working on her second year as an RA, “I don't really care about the concert.”

The concert and activities are not all that the res-life staff will miss out on, a lt of them will miss out on a regular night of sleep. The hours at the desk for the RA's start on the Thursday night before spring weekend. They start at 9p.m., and they run until 9a.m., that Sunday morning.

“The graveyard shift can be really fun. You can watch some movies, and everyone is so tired they get really silly,” said Stephanie Pelletier a first year RA in Lammers Hall.

While on duty the RA's have a few duties they must complete. First and for most they are to check ID's of incoming students to make sure they have a valid WSU sticker for the current semester. If they don't they will be turned away.

They also check the wrist bands of registered guests and check them against the roster of guests to make sure everything lines up accordingly.

Checking bags is a hassle, but it is important to make sure that all students are safe from others, and themselves.

“We look for alcohol or anything else that isn't aloud in the building, said Morin, “we usually get a lot of grief from residents about the bag checks, but we are just trying to keep everyone in a safe environment, and spring weekend is a time when everyone is trying to have a huge party.”

While at the desk during the day the bag checks and ID checks are enough to keep the staff busy, but when you start getting to the late night hours into the wee hours of the morning it becomes difficult to sleep yourself entertained when no one is coming in or going out of the building.

Thankfully, there are always two people on duty, and the RA's are allowed to have their computers down at the desk, or make-shit table, like Lammers had to use because the front desk is really in the back of the building, and that door is not used an awful lot because of construction.

The snack box is a staple that holds the staff together. Th box is filled with chips, pretzels, cookies, fruit snacks, fruit, and all kinds of goodies to help the RA's stay focused.

“I'm always excited to see what is in the snack box. It is usually a piece of recycling before Sunday though, so you better grab what you want early,” said Morin.

“It's fun to have the tables set up near the campus door, you can see everyone out on the green, and you can watch the TV while no one is really coming or going from the building,” said Cori Glennie, a third year RA.

While at the desk, the staff do get a lot of visitors. residences are always around to chat and handle any residents who have a problem with any of the policies. Two of the residence directors

After all their hard work, the staff members do have their breaks, and that is when they get to blow off steam, and enjoy the festivities of spring weekend. There is a lot to do on the Friday and Saturday of spring weekend, and these events make all the hard work worth it.

Starting on Friday night, there is usually a comedian, or some type of stage act like a magician or a hypnotist, and then there is a campus favorite in brown bag bingo, always at 11p.m. Then when Saturday roles around, the green turns into a hub of activity, with different rafts, snacks, and physical challenges.

This yer the green featured a zip line which stretched around 50 ft. and it was about 5 ft off the ground. There was also the gladiator pit which is a moon bounce with two pedestals that friends try to knock each other off with giant foam sticks.

“The gladiator pit is awesome, I have won most of my trips into the pit,” said Andrew Poliferno, a graduate RA who has been on campus for six spring weekends.

The food on the green this year was a great success. There was a fried dough stand, and a pop corn machine. Usually there would be cotton candy and a few other treats but there didn't seem to be any complaints from the students.

For the craftier people, there was a station for designing a license plate for your room, and a station to customize your own trucker hat with bright colors that could be seen across the green.

There is something for everyone on spring weekend. When the RA's get back into their regular routine of duty for 9-1a.m., and they are sleeping regularly, they might just miss that shift they spent watching the some come up, or the conversation they had with their duty buddy on Friday afternoon.