Welcome to Residence Fall 2021

A Senior Resident Assistant shares what students can look forward to as members of the U of A residence community.


Resident Assistants, Senior Resident Assistants, and the Residence Coordinator for HUB Mall, Pinecrest and Tamarack, and Graduate Residence

The beginning of autumn is always a bittersweet time of year for me. As summer comes to an end and the Edmonton river valley begins turning beautiful hues of yellow and green, it’s also a reminder that school is starting. However, this fall holds even more excitement and anticipation as the university and residence opens its doors wider than it has in a year and a half for students returning to campus!

I have lived in residence since 2019 when I moved into Peter Lougheed Hall, a first-year residence building, ready to take on the next chapter of my life. To my surprise, I was hired as a Resident Assistant (RA) soon after. RAs foster connections in residence by offering programs customized to their communities, providing on-call emergency support and supplying academic and wellness resources for students living on campus. Being a first-year RA was both thrilling and nerve-wracking: there I was, giving advice to my peers just as I was learning similar lessons alongside them. 

Towards the end of my first year, COVID-19 hit and many of my friends needed to rush home in a flurry of confusion and uncertainty. For the past year and a half, I remained on campus and continued in my position as an RA. Though I never met most of my coworkers in person, I still felt a sense of camaraderie as we navigated the turbulent waters of the pandemic together. 

For the 2020-21 academic year residence obviously looked very different. Many of the buildings were closed while the rest operated at half-capacity of residents. Our community was small, but still very much thriving, albeit mainly online. 

In Fall 2021 we’re expecting our buildings to be nearly full! All of our residences will be open with the exception of Kelsey Hall in Lister as renovations are completed. In fact, many of our other residences will also have first-year cohorts creating a more diverse community.

Walking around campus, my heart has felt more full seeing campus busier than I’ve seen it in the past year and a half. That feeling just continues to grow as I’ve helped more and more students move into residence this past week. Seeing new and familiar faces brings back the rush of anticipation that I had in my first year and I’m reminded of what it means to be a student, taking in the familiar buzz of shared energy among my peers. 

Students playing games in residence.

Student staff in residence have been preparing for the upcoming year. We’ve gone through extensive training and team-bonding in order to provide the best experience for those moving in. As a Senior Resident Assistant (SRA), I now oversee a team of RAs and during training, I personally learned so much about supporting and empowering my team, all while building a healthy and fun team dynamic. If any of you reading this will live in HUB Mall, Graduate Residence, Pinecrest or Tamarack House, know you’re in good hands. 

Since the beginning of August, Welcome Home Hangouts have been hosted by our student staff almost every day! From painting with Bob Ross and self-care nights to Zumba and tie-dye parties, these events have reconnected residents after a prolonged period of isolation. 

Residents having fun with tie-dye during Welcome Home Hangouts.

 The fun doesn’t end there! BaseCamp and Eastern Ascent (our orientation programs for Lister and East Campus residents, respectively) are in full swing. Residents will have the opportunity to build genuine connections with their new communities and meet their RAs. They will also be introduced to the beloved game of dodgeball and learn about the resources available to them both in residence and on campus. This year, these two orientations will be delivered in-person wherever possible to foster strong relationships before the school year kicks off. 

Throughout the year, RAs will continue delivering large-scale, creative programs tailored to the student life cycle. There will also be peer tutors centred inside residence to aid students academically in a variety of first- and second-year courses. Additionally, we are excited to welcome our Faculty in Residence (FiR) and Academic in Residence (AiR) back to residence! Both can assist in providing academic support to students in residence. 

I cannot wait for all of the exciting things this year will bring! If you see me in residence or around campus, don’t hesitate to say hello!

Isabella Ng

About Isabella
Isabella is going into her third year of nursing in the honors program, conducting research in youth mental health. She is currently a Senior Resident Assistant (SRA) for HUB Mall, Pinecrest and Tamarack House, and Graduate Residence. Additionally, she is a Head Storyteller and Wellness Ambassador for Residence Services. In her free time, you can find her dancing, trying out new restaurants in the city, and testing out her cooking skills.