Community Building Framework
Community Building Framework
A conceptual framework used to talk about what it is we do and how we do it. It begins with getting to know our residents and building the rapport, trust and respect between the floor/hall community in order to understand who lives in the community at an interpersonal level. From there we focus our attention on supporting our resident's hopes, goals and sometimes even fears by programming around their interests and continually engaging with them about their lives. If and for when something happens in the community, we're able to respond in a personalized manner as we know our floor/hall community well and can best advocate for what it is they may need.
This framework begins by establishing a shared definition of community, this is the what (content) of community:
- Membership - a sense of belonging and inclusion founded on respect, trust and accountability.
- Influence - that they as a student serve an importance and bring value to the floor/hall community that wouldn't’t be the same if they were not there
- Support/Resources - ongoing presence of the CA, connection to campus resources
- Shared emotional connection - a safe social space in which they are able to relate or connect with others (to a degree they feel comfortable)This framework allows us to think more critically about how we go about building, maintaining and supporting our community throughout the ebbs and flows of life. It is founded on the interpersonal rapport and trust among the individual communities and is a framework meaning it should be tailored to fit the needs of an individual community.
Community mapping is an assessment tool the Department of Community Living uses to take stock of how well we know our community as well as identify any gaps in knowledge and where we should be focusing our attention.
Community Advisors participate in a Community Mapping exercise twice a year, once in early October and again in Late February. Through community mapping, Community Advisors recall the names of residents and the connections that are made on the floor. In addition, information about residents majors and academic interests are noted. By knowing their community, the Community Advisor are able to better support and respond to the needs of their residential neighborhoods. This tool for getting to know the individuals that make up a community has helped to identify trends, areas of interest when it comes to programming as well as strengthen the interpersonal relationships our CAs have with their communities.
Intentional conversations are an opportunity for our CAs to capitalize on the interactions they're already having in hall to solicit meaningful engagement with their residents. The intentional conversations are focused on questioning that is both seasonally and developmentally appropriate for the time of year and specific to the class year of the individual community member. CAs then use the information gleaned for these conversations to program, support and check in with their residents throughout the year. Intentional conversations ensure that students feel seen, heard, and supported by the Department of Community Living.