Still confused by the big changes in residence life staff this year? You are not the only one. This year, the Discipleship Coordinators (DCs) are gone, but you may have heard about leadership teams and Student Ministry Coordinators (SMCs).
Now, in place of DCs, each RA will choose several members of his or her hall to serve in leadership teams. RAs can delegate some of their responsibilities, such as planning hall events and facilitating prayer and praise, to their leadership teams.
The Student Ministry Coordinators are a new paid position through the Chapel Department. Though there has been some confusion about the position, Chaplain Grant Lowe said, “The SMCs were never intended to replace the DCs.” Instead, the SMCs are meant to work “behind the scenes” by providing resources for RAs and helping add structure events like Day of Prayer.
“I think leadership teams will create more opportunities for students to be challenged,” said Jon Wylie, who serves as Associate Dean of Students for Residence Life. Wylie hopes that the leadership teams will help make connections on halls and encourage “living life together, [including] sharing hurts along with happy times.”
Previously, DC was an unpaid position. Student Development selected and assigned one DC to each hall to help foster the spiritual development of students on their hall through prayer, small groups, and one-on-one relationships, according to Covenant’s website.
Sara Kemeny viewed her role as DC of Harambe! last year as a chance to support her RA, as well as an opportunity to get to know and encourage the girls on her hall.
“My main task was weekly Prayer and Praise,” Kemeny said. “I didn’t want my RA to have to have that as part of her duties list. It was one thing I could take off her plate.”
Leadership teams have the potential to offer more help to RAs. Abby Hynson, RA of Rowan, said she hopes her leadership team can help with duties such as planning Prayer and Praise, keeping track of hallmates’ birthdays, brainstorming, and hosting hall events.
Last year, Hynson met weekly with her DC to pray for her hall. “It will be really nice to have a group praying this year,” Hynson said.
Hynson’s leadership team is not yet finalized, but she said a number of girls have approached her about being on the team. “Once it’s finalized, it will be super helpful to have girls representing different parts of the hall,” Hynson said.
Sam Moore, RA of The Five Points, said that leadership teams could look different depending on the hall, just as the DC/RA relationship varied from hall to hall. In his last two years of being RA, his DCs were his best friends, “which is really unique,”said Moore. “I could really rely on them, but that wasn’t the case for a lot of people.”
“One of the biggest perks to leadership teams is that it will be easier to see that it’s not just the RA or the RA’s personality that defines the hall,” Moore said. “I hope that people will feel comfortable talking with them about difficult things.”
The new system has the potential to be better than the DC system, but there also remain potential dangers.“The leadership team has no real ties or commitment, so people could drop out or not pull their weight,” Hynson said. “But if people are really engaged and want to help, it could be a better system It’s a little stressful not knowing exactly what it will look like.”
As RAs are figuring out how leadership teams are going to work, the Student Ministry Coordinators are also ironing out their job description. Unlike DCs or leadership teams, the SMCs’ role is less personal and more structural.
Lowe sees the SMCs as an opportunity to train students as facilitators of spiritual growth on campus and resources for RAs. The SMCs have been attending RA/RD meetings to introduce themselves and hope to meet with RAs and leadership teams who need help planning Bible studies or Prayer and Praise for their halls.
Claire Piquette, one of the nine new SMCs, said they have been meeting as a team to brainstorm, study the Bible, and pray. According to Piquette, one of the SMCs’ projects is running Day of Prayer.
“A lot of people are unaware of the purpose of Day of Prayer,” Piquette said. The SMCs are researching the history of Day of Prayer in an effort to think more intentionally about Day of Prayer as a whole. Their goal is to emphasize Day of Prayer’s focus on hall bonding and to provide more of a space for prayer in general.
Piquette is excited about the new position and working with the other SMCs. She said that they all have different strengths and weaknesses, thus, they balance each other out.
“We’re here to quietly foster our goal of growing spiritual development on campus,” Piquette said. Students should not expect huge changes, but Piquette hopes the SMCs will help make what Covenant already has even better.