Students living on campus and resident assistants alike were met with a new policy this academic year: mandatory intentional conversations. While the policy is meant to open communication, these obligatory chats are childish and entirely unnecessary.
Essentially, intentional conversations require RAs to meet with every student on their respective floor once per semester and check in with them. These discussions theoretically ensure the RAs are visible and help form connections between themselves and the students living on their floor.
The concept is a nice one, but it places a pointless burden on busy students. Setting aside time for these chats, which most students don’t want to have in the first place, can be difficult with the Geneseo students’ rigorous schedules.
In addition, RAs are required to hold “visibility hours” where they seat themselves in a central location and make themselves available for conversation. Basically, it’s adding more office hours for RAs who already have their hands full managing their floor and their own academic lives.
While it is important for students to feel like their RA is a safe person to go to in a crisis, forcing them to sit down and talk seems counterproductive. It’s unlikely that anyone would feel comfortable opening up in a mandatory, monitored environment.
Perhaps using this initiative for first-year students is understandable. They are new to living on-campus and it could be useful to have an RA guide them through the transitional period.
For upperclassmen, however, this policy is not necessary. It treats them like children with such excessive monitorization. These students have made it through college so far and are mature enough to handle themselves without being forced to bond with their RA.
Rather than wasting time with involuntary conversations, students should be allowed to use their social skills to choose who they open up to and when.