Forty-four of the many Grambling State University Resident Assistants travelled to Tall Timbers Baptist Conference Center in Alexandria Friday. The theme of the Equipping Resident Assistant (ERA) Conference was “The Real RAs of Louisiana.” Every year, RAs from all over the state travel to a camp-like setting to bond with other RAs.
The schools this year included: Northwestern, Tulane, Loyola, Southeastern, Louisiana State University-Alexandria, Shreveport and Baton Rouge, Centenary, Louisiana Tech and Xavier University.
Along with the RAs were Assistant Housing Director, Jolanda Taylor, Housing Director, Anthony Jackson, Traditional Halls Area Coordinator, Dana Howard and Graduate Assistant/Area Coordinator for 100A/B, Rudolph Ellis.
In a recurring competition, each school is judged on three categories: Best Spirit, Best Skit and Best Roll Call. GSU’s RAs have been preparing for the over night conference since the beginning of the semester.
After hard work, they placed second in Best Spirit and Roll call while placing third in Best Skit. Southeastern placed first in all categories while Xavier placed second in Best Skit and third in Best Spirit and Best Roll call.
“I think [the outcome] was unfair,” said sophomore English and history major Gaquez Jackson. “Southeastern had an advantage. Xavier and we are the underdogs. Southeastern is catered to.”
Along with placing in the three categories, Grambling received an award for Best Educational Program. The winning program was “University Goes Green.”
The 100 A/B program promoted making campus a safer and cleaner environment.
Throughout the conference each RA had to attend program sessions.
Of the six programs in the first session, the most popular was, “He said, She said” hosted by Xavier students. It gave RAs a chance to experience how different genders interpret similar situations.
“I thought it was a program that every student in college should see, Jackson said. “I think they were very courageous to do a program of that caliber.”
The second session hosted the program that won Best Program of the conference. “Who Gone Check Me?” was hosted by three Southeastern Louisiana University students. The program put the RAs in “check” and had them open their minds to different situations. The diversity presentation helped each person reevaluate themselves as a person and as an RA.
To close out the sessions, a roundtable discussion was held with several students.
A SELU student had a diverse discussion talking about everything from talking down about your institution to compensations for being a Resident Assistant.
The roundtable gave each RA a chance to see how other Residential Life departments functioned.
It gave insight on what Residential Life departments were missing and how others could go about getting what they felt they deserved.
“I didn’t want to go [to ERA] at first but going opened by eyes. We complain about the trials and tribulations here but we have it so much better. I liked seeing how different RAs interacted with other RAs. It was great being under one roof,” Jackson continued.