Representatives from Mills College’s Office of Residential Life (ORL) returned from the Northern Resident Advisors Conference (NRAP) with multiple accolades; five RAs won awards, one was a keynote speaker, and another came in at a close second place for spirit.
Nearly 20 RAs, along with other ORL representatives, went to the conference, held at CSU Chico, to develop the various skills involved with managing residents and planning hall events.
“NRAP provides RAs the opportunity for professional growth in their role as an RA,” said area coordinator Michelle de Sousa Moore. “The RAs have made a name for Mills College at this conference and have won awards for spirit [and] service, as well as presentations, in particular integrating social justice into the work they do as RAs.”
Moore has gone to the conference all four years that Mills has attended.
“This year all our RAs… that presented a session or round table were recognized,” Moore said, which amounted to about half of the RAs that went.
At the conference, Senior Resident Assistant (SRA) and Mills senior Anna Guiles was the keynote speaker. It was the second year in a row that the NRAP keynote speaker was from Mills.
“I was told I was chosen because I represented the theme of the conference well,” Guiles said. The theme this year was “road trip,” touching on the idea that college life is like a road trip.
Guiles was also told that she represents the RA experience well, an experience that she said can be very emotional at times.
“You come in with this idea that you’re going to be that really cool person on the floor and that everybody is going to be your best friend… [but then] you realize that this isn’t what this job is about,” Guiles said. “This job is about being whatever form of support that they need.”
Besides supplying NRAP with a keynote speaker, Mills won second place overall for spirit. Spirit points were given to each college for a variety of reasons, including how many items the school brought to contribute to NRAP’s yearly community service project for economically struggling families, the “swag” brought and traded with other RAs, and general participation points earned by chants and group activities.
Ashley Yee and Alexandra Sheppard were the spirit leaders for Mills.
“It was great because we balanced each other out,” Yee, a junior and second-year RA, said. “[Sheppard]’s really peppy, loud and always excited and I’m a little more reserved.”
The spirit leaders were picked to lead the Mills attendees in spirit events by a group of SRAs and ACs.
Spirit leaders were in charge of putting together the swag for the event, creating capes for all of Mills’ attendees and chants for Mills’ RAs to shout during group events.
There were approximately 50 workshops at the conference, with topics ranging from tips on how to better utilize the student life departments on campus, to how to efficiently plan and produce programs for residents, to learning how to deal with different identities and information about Greek Life.
“Attending NRAP allows our RAs to give back to Mills and enrich not only the residential student experience, but also the overall Mills student experience,” Moore said.