By: David Rubinstein  | 

University Housing Teeming with Residence Life

The Office of University Housing and Residence Life has started the spring semester vibrantly, opening applications for next year’s resident advisors and adding an extensive of collection of Nerf blasters to the continuously expanding inventory of opportunities for residents of the Wilf Campus.

The application process, which opened early last week, includes reading a detailed position description, submitting a professional picture and letters of recommendation, interviewing at least once, and completing an online form that asks applicants for personal information and an exhibition of creativity and original thought.

Last year, over 80 candidates vied for positions on the 21-man roster of RAs. This year’s application form represents a significant upgrade from last year’s.

Most noticeably, the entire application process (excluding the in-person interview) can be done online and via email. The new form also places a larger emphasis on the ability of the applicant to demonstrate creative thought.

Jonathan Schwab, Associate Director of University Housing and Residence Life, explained that creative programming “is one of the distinctive aspects of Housing.” According to Mr. Schwab, people have seen Housing programming as “staid” and “boring.” Since Mr. Schwab’s appointment to head the Wilf Campus Housing office, however,“student-driven creative programming” is a significant part of the vision he has for UHRL. “When we do creative things, we generally get a really positive response,” he said. He also said that part of being creative is being open to great ideas from wherever they may come, including from residents.

About going paperless, Mr. Schwab explained that he is a “huge believer” in technology “allowing us to do our jobs more efficiently,” specifically in the context that it can “allow for more human interaction.” Mr. Schwab said that by moving the application online, he was able to save himself time that paperwork would imply. As a result, he was able to extend the allotted time of each in-person interview.

Yoni Shedlo, who plans on applying to be an RA next year, thought the application was “straightforward” and that its questions were indicative of what UHRL is looking for in candidates. “The applications seems to be geared towards finding motivated, diverse, and thoughtful YU students to assist in bringing a greater sense of community to dorm life,” he reflected. Mr. Shedlo, a junior studying political science, said he would like to be involved in campus life as an RA because he has “discovered that one of the simplest ways to enjoy YU is to be as involved as possible.”

One activity in which a growing number of students are becoming involved is Nerf Wars, sponsored and run by the Office of University Housing and Residence Life. UHRL staff sets up the Nerf Wars arena with different structures for cover, including an inflatable birthday cake over five feet tall, and provides an arsenal of over 60 Nerf blasters, including manual and electrically powered foam dart shooters.

Most recently, UHRL hosted Nerf Wars on Saturday night, January 30 as part of the Community Shabbat. Dozens of students and local residents took up Nerf blasters in the MTA gym and played elimination-style and capture-the-flag rounds. Previously, Nerf Wars debuted as part of orientation for students arriving for the spring semester.

Mr. Schwab, who conceived the idea for the activity while reading Ender’s Game during downtime at jury duty, thought that together with Escape the Dorm, Nerf Wars resonates with UHRL’s distinction of being an office “where creativity can be engaged and so much student programming can be effected.”

What’s in store for the Office of University Housing and Residence Life in the near future? “I hope the next big idea comes from a student,” Mr. Schwab mused.