NOTE: As the 2013-14 academic year gears up, UALR students, faculty, and staff are busy in the first days of the fall semester. This article is the second in a series highlighting aspects of campus life.
Student pursues dance and finds apartment style living
Like many young women her age, Regina Lewis of Monticello wanted to go to a university in a larger city than the town where she grew up.
Lewis, 21, a senior and double major in psychology and dance at UALR, said life in Arkansas’s capital city fit the bill.
Now in her second year as a resident assistant at UALR’s University Village, Lewis is looking forward to graduation day and has set her sights on an even bigger place: New York City.
Lewis is one of several RAs who provide guidance and monitoring to other students for UALR’s Office of Student Housing.
At University Village, a 420-bed residence with apartment-style suites and private baths, Lewis said she has everything she needs. A swimming pool and clubhouse with tanning bed, fitness room, and pool table round out the community assets.
“I have loved it. I’ve met so many people,” Lewis said, as she waved hello to a California resident of the complex who came to UALR on scholarship.
“I did want to come to a bigger city and I had a few friends also attending UALR,” Lewis said. “And when I saw that UALR was the only school that offers a dance major, that cinched it for me.”
Double major loves the idea of college in the capital city
Kevin Watts, 20, hails from Wynne, a city that hovers around 8,300 people. He had a similar desire to try something different out of high school.
Like Lewis, Watts is also a resident assistant and double major (criminal justice and political science). He said he fell in love with the housing options at UALR from the moment he first visited. And he loved the idea of college in the city.
Watts is strongly considering extending his stay in Little Rock following graduation, as he contemplates enrolling in UALR’s Bowen School of Law.
While still in high school, Watts admitted to considering a certain flagship, as well as schools closer to home, but he said the distance from Wynne to Little Rock was “just right.”
“UALR was my last college visit,” Watts said. “And when I saw West Hall, it just felt more like home than anything else I had seen anywhere.”
West Hall is a new state-of-the-art residence composed of two six-story buildings, one side for men and the other for women. Last year, the resident hall earned the U.S. Green Building Council’s Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED) Certification of Gold.
With restricted card access, security systems, emergency phones, and dedicated public safety patrols, the building is also extremely safe.
Benefits of being a Resident Assistant
Resident assistants are provided free housing and a stipend in exchange for being on call on a rotating basis throughout the academic year. They are also responsible for promoting the resident community, relationships, and planning activities.
But being a resident assistant, while demanding, can also be a satisfying position to have, said Watts.
“I can live a comfortable, on-campus lifestyle and feel like I’m giving back,” he said. “I like being involved in a way that people can see I’m trying to be of service.”
Lewis and Watts agreed there was another strong positive to being an RA.
“It’s a great resume builder,” Lewis said, smiling.
UALR is situated in the heart of Little Rock, a city recognized by Kiplinger.com and Forbes magazine as a great place for business and also by Outside Magazine for its quality of life.
Read the first article in this series, My Life @UALR, Safety first for resident assistants in week-long training session.