Tag Archives: Free Activities & Handouts

The Role of Housing & Residence Life on Student Success (***Free Activity Sheet***)


I have developed an activity for resident assistants that can be used during annual training or as a session for staff development throughout the academic year. A university requested that I give a presentation on “What role does on campus housing have in the overall collegiate experience and student success?” Rather than doing the typical PowerPoint presentation and frequently cite research from Pascarella and Terenzini’s How College Affects Students, I thought I’d create a more active and creative experience. Click here to get a free PDF activity sheet that you can print and use with your own staff.

Not only do the student participants get to understand important outcomes associated with living on campus, but they get to reflect on their own personal residence life experience, and actually get to walk away with a personally-significant souvenir. Participants are given a pack of beads and a plastic bracelet strand with a knot tied in the end. You can obtain bags of these beads at a craft store, such as Michaels and Jo-Ann Fabric and Craft Stores. The activity leader reads each outcome and the participants put that bead on their bracelet strand if it pertains to them. If not, they simply leave the bead in their pack. Everyone’s experience is different, so it’s perfectly fine if they have different looking strands of beads!

Outcomes include the following:

  1. Orange = Held a leadership position in the halls
  2. Yellow = Participate in at least one extracurricular activity on campus
  3. Red = Resolved a conflict or argument with a roommates
  4. Lavender = Have a friend or have a hall mate who is GLBTQ
  5. Dark Blue = Participated in an living-learning community activity or program
  6. Pink = Feel you have made good decisions for yourself
  7. White =You are satisfied with being at your university
  8. Light Blue = Have met your significant other
  9. Cream = You have decided to go to graduate school
  10. Black = You feel that you are an independent person
  11. Clear Light Blue = You have decided on a profession
  12. Clear Dark Blue = You have a friend or hall mate who is of another culture or nation
  13. Clear Yellow = You enjoy your college experience
  14. Clear Red = Your political views have changed since high school
  15. Clear Pink = Your religious views have changed since high school
  16. Clear Green = You feel confident about your academic abilities
  17. Clear Orange = You feel self-confident about yourself
  18. Clear = You feel like you have personally grown while living in the halls
  19. Green = You have made close friends
  20. Animal (or other special bead different from the others) = You will be graduating this year

The following questions can be used to engage discussion related to the outcomes:

  • Which of these outcomes stood out the most for you personally?
  • How have you felt you contributed to one of these outcomes for a resident you oversee?
  • What can the residence life program do to foster more of these outcomes for residents?
  • How has this activity motivated you to any new action or attitude?

Additionally, the participants can continue to customize their bead strands into a bracelet or keychain with supplies you provide. This can include lettered beads into which they can incorporate their names. This is a great way for your staff to learn about the important role of living on campus while also giving them time to bond, share their own experiences with each other, and be creative.

Click HERE to receive a free PDF copy of the activity sheet that you can use and share.

Please comment below if you use this activity and let us know how it went!

Twitter Hashtags for Student Affairs (Free resource handout)

Student Affairs Twitter Hashtag

On May 25, 2011, I presented a session at the PASSHE (PA State System of Higher Education) Student Affairs Conference in Cheyney, PA titled “Using Social Media for Professional Development & Networking Opportunities.” During the session I illustrated the benefits and virtues of using  Twitter for professional development. One of the key points of the session was the use of the Twitter “hashtag” (#) to help expedite keyword searches for student affairs-related Tweets.A Twitter hashtag is a means by which someone can easily tag a keyword or topic for others to find. There are a multitude of hashtags in the Student Affairs Twittersphere, and I created a directory that I hope you will find helpful. Please understand that this directory is not exhaustive, but lists the most used hashtags by Student Affairs Tweeters / Tweeple.

Here is a FREE Student Affairs Twitter Hashtags handout. Please feel free to share this with your colleagues and students.

A special thanks goes out to Christine Scholl for designing the handout.

Organization Member Development (Free Assessment Activity Sheet)


The members of your organization are your lifeblood. Always remember that your organization’s success is solely dependent upon its members and their regular participation. Many organizations’ senior leaders can concentrate on executive board business and easily forget their members. Remember to put your members’ interests first and put time and strategic thought into developing your relationship with them while they are members of your organization.

  • Find out why your members are involved in the organization. People join clubs and organizations for many varied reasons whether it’s for skills development, gaining new knowledge and experience, or purely for recreational and social reasons. Knowing specifically why each member is involved will help you determine what you need to do or what activities to develop and provide in order to keep them interested and participating regularly. Simply put, meet their needs.
  • Regularly check in with your members. I once learned that people don’t care about you until you show how much you care about them. This rings very true regarding your organization’s members. If they feel personally disconnected at meetings and activities, there’s a good chance that they are going to stop participating. 
  • Give members a reason to stay active and involved. People’s time is important so treat your members almost like they are customers; treat new members like they are prospective customers. If you’re not meeting their needs or the organization activities are perceived as not fun or simply a waste of their time, they will stop participating.
  • Praise members publicly and thank them often. Make time during meetings to praise members for their participation and the good work that they do for your organization. Make a habit of thanking members often. Simple gestures such as giving hand-written notes, public posts on social networking sites, and other small tokens of appreciation will be accepted by your members with great welcome.

Click for a free Member Development Assessment activity. Please feel free to share it.