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Monday, August 20, 2007

Fishin' Season Has Now Begun!

I have my tackle box in hand and my fishin' pole. I heard from a friend that they're justa bitin'! Students that is...

Today I learned of three people who are nibblin' at the idea of having an opportunity to be members of an organization (RHA) that I advise. It's interesting how they swim in schools and see one person thinkin' about going after the bait and they all realize, "Hey, I want some of that bait too!"

My question is, "Is the bait the only reason I've lured you?" That bait being a nice discount on their housing. I worry about that a lot. Are these students just being interested because of the financial help they'll get? I mean, being an RA is totally for that free housing first and foremost. We'd just like to pretend that it's for all the RIGHT reasons? You know.. because "I really want to help students". It's totally not because they're just itchin' to jump out of bed for a random emergency like a fire alarm that just won't turn off. It's the all mighty dollar - but hey.. that's reality and I'd be the same way.

To catch nibbles with this generation - I always try to use my best lures. Sometimes I squirt that fish oil stuff on the bait that will help in attracting the student - you know what that is... The "It'll look GREAT on your resume and you'll gain some awesome experience" mixed with a "I think you would be an excellent..." I've even gone to the extremes by saying, "Think of all the money you could save and you won't have to be on duty!" That last one just never seems to matter to folks. I mean, there's no way I can equal $0 for housing and meal plan for a mere discount each semester.

The school year won't officially begin until August 27. I already have three nibbles and I haven't even put out my fish finders yet (my ads). This is a good thing. I do think they're genuinely interested in positions that are available.

Of the fish that I caught last year, I think they were my prize fish. Many of them have gone on to become RAs. I think they enjoyed their housing experience and want to be more vested in the process (oh, how very student affairsy of me) - I just hope they don't turn bitter by the end of the year. The pond's they're now swimming in are MUCH different than the pond I provide.

Each year it's a battle for the best of the bunch. Yep, a battle between recruiting RAs and RHA members. A lot of times I feel that becoming an RA is more highly valued than being a member of RHA and being the facilitator of community. Both facilitate community, however - RHA facilitates community on a much larger scale. Basically, all the students I "catch" and restocked into a smaller lake are much more easily caught by that fisherman (or woman) that is casting a line out for their own needs. I've become that stocked man-made lake!

I guess becoming that stocked lake is a testiment of what I do but it always causes me to enter into a fishing frenzy at the beginning of the year to find people to replace the fish that get "hooked" into being an RA. Are we doing a disservice to ourselves if we're just taking people who might very well be better suited for one position or another that don't last an entire semester? That's something that I've always wondered about. If a student becomes an RA that probably is more suited for RHA, how do we best serve the community? By having a body in a position or someone with talent for maintaining a floor, building a rapport with students, or building community? I don't really have an answer just yet, but I'm definitely thinking about it all.

Within the next couple of weeks I'll see what my "catches of the days" are. I have my bucket ready. Happy fishing and I hope you catch the "Big One"!

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