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The Daily Wildcat

The Daily Wildcat

 

    RA dishes dirt on dorm stereotypes

    “”Residence Life is a breeding ground for legends,”” said Natalie Geist, a senior resident assistant and desk assistant at Coronado Residence Hall. “”The things people remember are that so-and-so’s older sister was there. You know how people talk about their high school prank? It’s like that. All year long.””

    As incoming freshmen prepare to move into the 21 residence halls situated on the UA campus, they can be prepared to face a barrage of tales about the buildings to which they have been assigned. While some residence halls may not have particularly wild and crazy reputations, there are certainly those which have historically rowdy standings among students.

    One of the most infamous residence halls on campus is Coronado. When asked whether the stereotypes regarding the residence hall were fitting, Geist said she agrees wholeheartedly. The reasons why she believes in the Coronado typecast, however, are a little different.

    “”I feel it’s a self-fulfilling prophecy. Kids are like, ‘Ooh, you’re in the party dorm?’ If no one told them, I think the dorm would be just the same as everyone else,”” she said.

    “”Sometimes students will pick Coronado because of the bathrooms,”” said Pam Obando, associate director of Residence Life. “”But they don’t think about the fact that 800 students live there. It’s a very lively hall,”” she said, noting that residents must take an elevator to their rooms. “”‘It’s a lively hall,’ is what we really say. Again, it’s sheer numbers. It’s got a high percentage of students who join sororities and fraternities, so that makes a difference, too.””

    Obando said that, if sharing a space with that many students is not a student’s cup of tea, however, it is probably not a great hall to choose. She also cited Arizona-Sonora as another large hall that is rather “”lively””. Despite the large number of students, Obando said the halls simply have a larger feel, and that “”lively”” doesn’t necessarily equate to “”bad.””

    As a resident assistant and late night desk assistant at one of the most widely talked-about halls on campus, Geist has seen more than her fair share of outrageous

    activities.

    “”Sex in the elevator at Coronado happens way too often,”” she said. “”I haven’t seen it with my own eyes, but I’ve seen the stripping down pre-intercourse. A guy will go up in the elevator completely making out with some girl, hands down her shirt, moments away from doing the deed. Then 10 minutes later, he’ll be making out with a totally different girl,”” she said.

    Geist, who works the midnight to 4 a.m. shift, said most of the crazy behavior that has made Coronado legendary occurs between those hours.

    Geist also noted that she has heard about “”flour bombs”” at Coronado, once hearing that residents found their entire hall covered with oodles of the powdery baking

    substance.

    While Coronado certainly has one of those most notorious positions at the UA, a variety of other halls are quickly catching up, she said.

    “”Kaibab is starting to consider itself the little Coronado, and crazy stuff goes down there,”” Geist said.

    Geist spoke to an RA who lived at Kaibab Huachuca Hall last year and said the individual would have quit if he had to do it all over again.

    “”There were kids cutting giant penises out of the carpet and stabbing them into the wall with switchblades,”” she said.

    Geist also mentioned a story she heard from a former Kaibab RA in which two residents who were professional cage fighters from Phoenix “”demolished”” an entire

    fraternity.

    “”Oddly enough, I’ve heard about Pueblo-it’s a new dorm, and you hear about the kids there that are apparently drunk all the time. People go there to get drunk,”” Geist said.

    She also mentioned Pima, and recalled a story she heard from a hall director at Coronado a few years ago in which all of the resident and desk assistants were fired for drinking on the staff retreat.

    Drinking doesn’t seem to be the only problem that some halls face. Geist recalled an evening in which a pizza delivery man visited Coronado.

    “”And there’s a guy, wearing a Blackjack Pizza nametag, hat, and shirt – and this kid asks, ‘Hey! Are you the pizza guy?’ and he goes, ‘No. I’m an EMT. I don’t know where this pizza came from.’ Guy didn’t miss a beat. But really, you’ve got your fair share of stupid people living there. I think they’ve killed a lot of brain cells smoking weed, which you can always smell but you can’t ever prove who’s got it,”” she said.

    Despite the fact that some may assume that honors dorms are exempt from outlandish commotion, Geist said she’s heard of some ridiculous behavior from even the brightest of UA’s students. She said she has heard that Yuma is pretty “”straight-laced,”” but the residents at Yavapai have started to indulge in antics that one might expect to see at Coronado.

    “”One time, in the middle of the night, a kid melted a microwave when he was trying to do a science project, set the fire alarm off at 3 a.m. and got everyone evacuated,”” she said.

    Though RAs are usually busy trying to control the action within residence halls, they sometimes become a part of it themselves. If residents aren’t fond of their resident assistant, he or she might need to prepare themselves and their belongings for an unwanted bath.

    “”Kids sometimes do vicious things to the RAs,”” she said. “”Getting huge trash cans, filling them with water, and then leaning it against their door. It floods the entire room when it opens. I heard about that while I was living in Kaibab.””

    However, for all of the antics that befall staff members and residents alike, Geist said that Residence Life does a wonderful job making everyone feel welcome to the halls. She said that while students might experience similar bonding in Greek Life, she felt that experience was more like “”buying your friends”” than making them.

    “”One thing I have to say about Residence Life, with all the various tragedies we’ve had – the stabbing at Graham-Greenlee, the hanging at Coronado – the way RAs handled those two tragedies was pretty incredible,”” she said.

    She said the RAs were more than prepared to address their residents, noting that RAs didn’t want to panic their wings, but weren’t willing to lie to them, either.

    For everything that may occur within residence halls at UA, Geist said she wouldn’t trade her experience in the dorms as a resident and as an assistant for anything.

    “”It may not feel like you’re very important within it,”” she said. “”But the RAs have got their eye on the prize, and for them, that’s quality of life for residents.””

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