On February 21, Senior Resident Assistant of Ghetto, Nate Mackey, presented a proposal to Student Senate allowing halls to paint their walls. Senate discussed various details and potential issues with the proposal before unanimously voting to support the proposal in the future.
Nate Mackey believes painting hallways in resident buildings could strengthen Covenant’s already unique campus life. “We want students to walk through the halls and say, ‘Wow that was different.’ People will identify with their hall more if there’s an aesthetic to it.”
Mackey says an additional benefit of unique hall designs is the release of some of the pressure to decorate halls for RAs in the first week of each year.
The formal proposal he submitted to Student Senate explains this policy change is important because “unless the current Resident Assistant has done an exceptional job decorating and labeling the hall, current and prospective students are greeted by beige walls... Because of this, many halls do not have a significant identity because every year they will be decorated differently.”
Catacombs Resident Assistant Brad Assaraf says he noticed some stress during training, saying, “The first week, my fellow RAs spent all or most of their free time trying to think of a unique way to decorate their hall.”
He says the common approach puts a lot of pressure on the RA to craft hall identity on their own. He expressed thankfulness for his own hall’s tradition saying, “We have a traditional method of decorating our halls, which isn’t all on me. We wait until the entire hall is back, and then we buy a bunch of used books and magazines and spend a night cutting them up and covering the walls with them.”
While Mackey has been encouraged by both the support of Jon Wylie and the unanimous approval of Student Senate, this is only the first of several stages the proposal must take before the rule can eventually be changed. Mackey explained the vote on February 21 means “Student Senate approved that they’ll take on the problem, and they’ll support the next step, which is presenting to Senate, some RAs, RDs, Wylie, Voyles, and Facilities.”
Associate Dean of Students Jon Wylie expressed excitement at the opportunity for halls to paint their walls. “The students are excited about it, and many of the staff are excited about it. This gives us the opportunity to collaborate, for faculty, staff and students to come on board to work together. He continues, “If we’re saying that hall identity is important, how are we playing that out in not just a philosophical role, but a practical role?”
Wylie did note the risks and complications Mackey’s official proposal mentioned, namely vandalism and destruction, especially from summer campers, and potential damages and destruction in the course of painting the halls. This is why, he says, “Facilities must be a part of the conversation.”
To limit accidents and other potential risks, Mackey’s proposal suggests a thorough series of steps a hall must take before painting. These include eighty percent support from hallmates, a draft of the design, technique, and funds necessary for the job. Halls must gain approval from the RD, Student Senate, and the Dean of Students before they can finally paint their walls.
If Jon Wylie, Brad Voyles, and Facilities come to an agreement on the proposal, they’ll draft the details and present them to the Board of the Trustees, whose permission is needed for any change in the Student Handbook. This meeting would most likely take place in the fall.