The Nation's Oldest Continuously Published Student Newspaper

The Simpsonian

The Nation's Oldest Continuously Published Student Newspaper

The Simpsonian

The Nation's Oldest Continuously Published Student Newspaper

The Simpsonian

Geer, signing off
Geer, signing off
by Caleb Geer, Ad Manager/Web Editor • April 27, 2024

I didn’t know what the hell I wanted to do with my life when I showed up on campus in the middle of the pandemic almost four years ago. I knew...

Looking back at my time at Simpson
Looking back at my time at Simpson
by Kyle Werner, Managing Editor & Social Media Manager • April 27, 2024

It all started with soup. No, really, let me explain. I was so passionate about the soup in SubConnection as a first year that it caught the...

So long, farewell, I’ve got no more stories to tell
So long, farewell, I’ve got no more stories to tell
by Jenna Prather, Editor-in-chief • April 27, 2024

Unlike my fellow student media seniors who’ve written this before me, I came into Simpson knowing exactly what I wanted to do. I did independent...

The CAs became RAs for three days. Here are some takeaways

Anna Schewe
Alyssa Beckwith served mocktails at her alcohol safety program presentation.

Simpson Residence Life sent a delegation of 12 student employees and two Residence Life faculty members to the University of Northern Iowa’s 33rd annual RA Conference at the end of January. Apartment Team Lead Alyssa Beckwith placed in the top ten best programs for her presentation “A Shot of Information: Effective Alcohol Safety Programming.” 

Beckwith gained inspiration for her program presentation from her encounters with alcohol as a CA and previous mocktail programs she’s hosted for her residents throughout her three years on staff.

“They [the programs] helped open a line of communication about safe drinking behavior,” she said. “And I wanted to share what I found useful with other resident assistants.” 

Beckwith made four different mocktail options for attendees and provided an interactive presentation with an alcohol-safety-themed Jeopardy game. 

At the end of the presentation, attendees were asked to look at the sticker underneath their mocktail cups. A green sticker represented safety, orange binge drinking and missing class, and pink hospitalization due to the drink being spiked. 

Beckwith said this final activity demonstrated the importance of safe drinking behaviors. 

“I don’t believe in teaching abstinence from alcohol, but rather making sure people are educated about the risks,” she said. 

Beckwith also teamed up with Kresge team lead Summer Pasutti to participate in the case study competition. They chose to tackle the more difficult of the two levels; they received the prompt a few weeks in advance and then were given ten minutes with two judges to explain their response to the situation. 

The case study this year involved a resident on the leadership team of an atheist student organization feeling unwelcome in his residence hall following the vandalism of the club’s promotional flyers. 

“It was not something that Alyssa or I had dealt with before,” Pasutti said. “We honestly had to break it down a couple of times to get a good feel for it.” Ultimately, the duo felt they did well and are happy they challenged themselves by doing something new. 

Social butterfly (seriously, he was recognized by the conference hosts as such) and FSL Team Lead Max Meyers was also called into a professional staff advisor meeting to give a spontaneous presentation on the Greek Assassins game he hosted last semester for the fraternity and sorority life community at Simpson. 

The delegates were also able to attend up to 4 sessions put on by RAs from other institutions. Station Square CA Nina Ortiz attended sessions on leveraging skills gained from working in residence life as well as making spaces welcoming to POC students. 

“I learned a new term, code-switching,” she said. “It’s basically when a person alternates how they talk when in different spaces with different people.” 

Meyers attended a session about seasonal affective disorder, in which the presenter offered advice for dealing with this as an RA and how to assist residents who may be affected. He said he learned from an RA from Minnesota Duluth that their campus has lamps that mimic sun exposure during the winter months.

Several delegates attended an afternoon session entitled “Money, Money, Money, It’s so Funny in an RA World,” which was hosted by a UNI resident assistant and discussed how to budget an RA salary. In and out of this session, several student staff members had conversations surrounding compensation with those from other universities. 

Compensation varies, with larger institutions like Iowa University being able to offer their RAs free housing, meal plans and stipends, while others give either housing and meal plans or housing and stipends. 

Simpson consistently comes in on the lower side by providing a stipend that, for some, covers the cost of housing but does not for others. 

“It seems like housing and food are paid for by a majority of schools,” Ortiz said. However, she recognized that factors such as school size can impact available funds. This seemed to ring true for the RAs Simpson students spoke to; in general, bigger schools are able to pay their RAs more. 

However, Meyers spoke with someone from a Minnesota school with roughly 500 students (a population equal to roughly half of Simpson’s 2023-2024 student body), and their RAs receive housing plus an annual stipend of at least $1,090. 

“I think it would be great to have housing and food paid for,” Ortiz said. A highly desired change in this direction could simplify the compensation process and provide more value to student employees.

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Anna Schewe
Anna Schewe, Staff Reporter

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