How the Student Opt-out Affected Residence Life

Those Involved in Residence Life Notice a Variety of Differences On-Campus This Semester

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Photo by Alexis Brown

“I know residence life and Bridgewater has their hands full and are having to be more adaptable than ever this year. I may not agree with every decision they make, but I can see that they are trying their best and that is what I appreciate,” said senior Daniel Jones

Alexis Brown, Staff Writer

Bridgewater, Va. – The waiver of residency for the fall 2020 academic semester affected residence halls, resident advisors, and Bridgewater College as a whole. 

Residential advisor Daniel Jones and Senior Residential Advisor Avery Njau have both been affected by students’ decision to remain at home due to Covid-19. 

“I think it had a greater impact on traditional halls because those tend to have the most students. So those opting-out created more space in those traditional buildings,” stated Njau.

Both Jones and Njau agreed that students opting out of living on campus was a benefit for the overall health and safety of the students who decided to return because of the smaller population size.  

“The more the merrier. It creates a safer space for the students who are deciding to return and live on campus,” said Jones on students opting out.

“We didn’t really lose too many RAs, so it didn’t hurt us too badly. But we did lose two SRAs, and although it does not seem like a lot, that did affect us,” added Njau.

Jones and Njau explained that the dynamic changed with the opt-out of students for Residence Life. The effect of losing SRAs impacted the remaining SRAs because they had to pick up more work and figure out how to distribute the load among each other. 

“As SRAs, we help out a lot, so losing a few added more weight to us, but overall, it wasn’t too bad,” said Njau.

“As a returning RA, I tried to do what I could to offer advice and be more of a resource. I tried to step up. I tried to help in any way I could because I knew the SRAs were going to feel the weight of it,” stated Jones.

Jones and Njau revealed that, overall, the waiver did not alter RAs or residence halls drastically. Both agreed that opting-out has been more beneficial in promoting the health, well-being and safety of everyone. 

In addition, there has been another silver lining that both Jones and Njau emphasized about this year’s smaller residential life staff.

“It is insane how close the staff are this year. It makes me so happy. I have never seen such a closer group of people” said Njau.