College Community: Part Two - Geneva College
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Image of College Community: Part Two Campus Life
November 8, 2022

College Community: Part Two

When looking at the college community at Geneva, The Residence Life staff cannot be ignored. College life outside of the classroom is a whole other world from academics that plays a vital role in the success of a student. Your community matters. The Residence Life staff have a considerable influence on the community of Geneva College and many of the staff members shared their experience of seeing Residence Life’s impact.

Kelsey Murphy, Director of Residence Life, says, “Some of our most intimate, deep and meaningful conversations happen in the context of living with others… and we believe that the Lord uses this for us to be known and cared for well, in the context of His people. We believe that college and, more specifically, our residence halls can be a place where people feel known, at home, and as though they belong because of how well others know them.” Living with other people can be difficult, but it pushes students to “think about others” and “care for the larger community.”

She continued, “[Residence Life] challenges students to face each other in the midst of conflict and adversity because these are the ‘real world’ things that will follow us as we leave college. We believe that through hard conversations and communication the challenges we face in relationships, we learn more about ourselves and what it looks like for us to care for and love people outside of ourselves.” It is in the residence halls that we see students growing together the most. It is sometimes challenging to live and interact with people who are different from you, but that is why the Residence Life staff is so important.

Some of the Residence Directors also shared their experience. Kevin Donaldson, Resident Director of Young Hall, says, “Res Life’s main purpose is to love students and the community well. In the background, we are constantly praying and reaching out to people in the hopes of connecting them to the community at large. We are just trying to be good neighbors and love residents as the Lord has called us to do. We also are trying new things each year to achieve that goal, like many new events in Young Hall, with the ultimate hope that students will be able to create events for the community themselves.”

Eryn Davis, Resident Director, seems to agree with Kevin. “Part of the beauty of Residence Life at Geneva is the license to establish communities that reflect the fellowship the Lord calls us to. That means that our work in Res Life must be focused not only on the enforcement of community standards but also the sharpening of one another through healthy challenges and consistency. Equipping and calling RAs into culture-making work is the best part of working in Christian higher education for me - because I know this work is not just limited to their college experience, but to how these students will disciple and reach their communities for the rest of their lives. Building belonging in a residence hall points us back to the call of the Lord to abide in Him. That is pretty amazing if you ask me.”  Residence Life staff work diligently to build a lifelong, Christ-centered community here at Geneva College.

The Resident Assistants also have a commitment to building a God-honoring community through their work with Residence Life. Some of them chose to share their experiences. Ryan Eisenhuth, currently in his third year as an RA in Young Hall, shared some of the impactful events that encourage community building. “There are many things Res Life does to build community on Geneva's campus. An important aspect of any community is opportunities for recreation and opportunities to meet new people. Our ResLife team does a really good job at this by sponsoring and planning events of all sizes throughout the semester. The largest is Covey Cup, which is a friendly competition between the residence halls to have fun and encourage teamwork within each hall. There are also plenty of smaller events, such as movie nights, game nights, bonfires, and more that are hosted by RAs throughout the semester. At each event, we prioritize creating the environment for purposeful interaction between people in each hall.” Ryan deeply cares for all of his residents and enjoys interacting with them and creating personal connections.

Ethan Smith, a second-year RA in Memorial Hall, says, “I believe that one of the strengths of Res Life is that the RAs are a very diverse team in the way of student engagement. They are typically involved on campus beyond just being an RA. Some play a sport, some are heavily involved in the classroom, and some engage with the community of Beaver Falls, but all of them work to protect and sustain the community of the college. Every RA has a different sphere of influence, but they are united together through both the weights and rewards of serving for Res Life. Because of this, Geneva has a network of students that residents can look to for support and encouragement that, prayerfully, is done in a biblical manner.”

Residence Life plays a key role in the development of kingdom community at Geneva College. Students are holistically cared for in and out of the classroom to propel them to thrive in their lifelong mission.

 

-Mattigan Burleigh '24