Community Development Model

Living on campus is a unique experience for many reasons, including the opportunity for total immersion into your educational experience. Learning is not restricted to only the classroom. Time spent in the residence halls is time spent getting to know your campus, your community, and your own personal identity. In order to help make the most of this crucial period, the Department of Residence Life has designed and implemented a Community Development Model that offers structure and support to each resident in a personalized format.

Our Residence Life staff begin engaging the on-campus community even before move-in, offering a warm Charleston welcome to incoming residents. Residents can expect to hear from both their specific Resident Assistant (RA) and their Residence Hall Director prior to Cougar Move-In.

One of the first elements of our Community Development Model is the Resident Dossier. The Dossier serves as a brief introduction of residents to their RA. Information shared in the Dossier serves as a starting point for getting residents engaged on campus with their specific interests and needs.

Using the Dossier as a foundation, RAs will connect with residents through a series of Personal Engagements. The format of the Personal Engagements will reflect the unique needs of each resident; no two Personal Engagements will look the same.

In addition to the Personal Engagements, all residents can expect contact from their RA at least every two weeks for an informal check in, also referred to as a Cougar Chat. RAs will be sharing helpful information throughout the semester, as well as making sure that residents are able to connect with whatever resources they might need at the time. From course registration deadlines to getting involved with a student organization, RAs serve as a springboard for connecting with the rest of campus.

There are also many opportunities to connect with fellow residents in a group setting. Once per week, the Residence Life staff host a building wide social engagement. All residents of the building are encouraged to attend and connect with their neighbors and peers. Themes and activities will vary from week to week.

Once per month, the RHDs will lead an educational building wide engagement. Topics are determined based on the community style, population, and developmental needs. Residence Life collaborates closely with our campus partners to design the content for each topic area, ensuring that residents are getting the most accurate and up to date information possible.

COVID-19 Note: In accordance with College policies and procedures (outlined on Back on the Bricks), in-person gatherings must follow all appropriate restrictions. While this is a challenge, our Residence Life staff are monitoring COVID-19 conditions and adapting our approach to community engagement in order to provide the most robust experience possible while prioritizing the health and safety of our community. Many opportunities for engagement will be virtual for the Fall 2020 semester, with some small scale in-person engagement, provided all social distancing and public health directives are met.