“My name is Borke and I am a Residence Fellow and community builder.”

This is an introduction I have come to be proud of, a title I am grateful I can bear because of the impact I am able to make as a Residence Fellow. I heard about the role of a Residence Fellow from a friend and began to understand that the role largely involved building communities on floors and being a support to students. Even though I study Computer Science, I have always wanted an avenue where I could help others. I could relate to being left out of activities and not feeling included, so I wanted to build an inclusive community for others. The problem however was, though I had the desire to do all of these, I didn’t have sufficient skills. The part of the Residence Fellow application that read, “We hire for attitude, we train for skill,” further pushed me to apply. It turned out to be one of the best decisions I have ever made!

During the two weeks of training we had to undergo as new Residence Fellows, I realized that Residence Life Staff (RLS) was a beautiful, inclusive community made up of people that genuinely cared and supported us. The RLS team is a big family, a community of people that are ever willing to help out in whatever way they can. So along with the interactive training sessions, the RLS community prepared me for my role of building communities as a Residence Fellow on my own floor.

In my few months of being a Residence Fellow, I have learned life long skills that no other job offers.  I am building a community on my floor by creating a close-knit family. My personal goal is to make sure people don’t feel they have to run home every weekend.  To achieve that, I strive to make the floor a “home away from home.”  I want it to be a safe haven where everyone has their own niche and they feel like they are a part of something important.

My dream community can only exist when everyone on the floor genuinely cares about each other – when little things matter to everyone.  To that effect, I have encouraged students to be personally accountable for their community’s welfare. That way people are included and know that they have a role to play in making others feel cared for.

As a Residence Fellow I make sure I am involved, as well, by ‘intentionally’ checking in with everyone on my floor.  Students have started taking this initiative, as well.  They express concern when someone is feeling down, misses a class, or looks upset. They collectively buy gifts for their floor mates’ birthdays, randomly decorate the room of anyone feeling blue, and organize events in our TV Lounge.  Getting every single person on the floor involved is a work in progress but we are certainly getting there.

The amazing thing is, I don’t have to read a big book entitled “Conversations 101” or “How to Be a Social Bee” in order to learn important life skills. The experiences I am gaining first hand from my role as a community builder covers it all. I am learning how to interact with people more and how to relate with people with different personalities, backgrounds, learning styles, and cultures. I have come to realize that our differences are what unite us, and embracing these differences is the key to building a wonderful community. My floor is filled with a variety of personalities, but somehow, everyone is finding their space and place in the community. The differences in each individual on my floor makes us unique and strong. Variety is the spice of life, and that is what completes my community.

If you want to make your mark by building effective communities, then click that link and apply!

My name is Borke and I am a Residence Fellow and community builder.

Residence Fellow applications are due on January 9th at 12 pm (EST).  Go to housing.carleton.ca/rf for more information.