Abigail Dunagan, Campus Carrier asst. arts and living editor
Over the past two years, residents of the Spires have been working to hold events for Berry students. The residents have formed a committee to work together and help organize these events. In the past, the committee has hosted Fuel for Finals, where they give out snacks to students in Krannert during finals week. They have also hosted Fur for Finals, where residents brought their dogs in front of Krannert for students to interact and de-stress with.
Spires residents and Berry graduates Sam and Nancy Ratcliffe are members of the committee. In the past, they have hosted different mentoring events where students can drop-by and talk to Spires residents. Residents come from many different job fields and backgrounds.
“We hope that they have fun, meet some people, and maybe accidentally learn some things,” Sam said. “We hope that they will learn things that will help them in their college careers, and after college.”
According to Sam, many of the Spires residents have had extensive job experience in fields that Berry students might be interested in. During the mentoring events, residents are grouped based on their backgrounds in fields such as business or healthcare. This gives students the opportunity to drop by and talk with older adults who are experienced in their field of interest.
The Spires has hosted a variety of events over the past two years such as movie nights during the summer and pickleball tournaments on campus. Some events are held at the Spires monthly.
“We usually have monthly events that students can come to,” Nancy said. “We did ice cream one time. We try to do whatever is appropriate for the season.”
According to the Ratcliffe’s, while the past events have been successful, it has been challenging to get the word out to students across campus. They have had a lot of success sharing the word through sports teams, but they hope to reach more students in the future.
“The most challenging part has been getting the word out on campus,” Sam said. “That has been the tough part.”
Spires resident and committee member Bob Layfield has been looking forward to getting to know students through these events. According to Layfield, Berry students have busy schedules, and it has been difficult for students to find the time to come to these events. One of the ideas that the committee has talked about is having a “grandparent day,” where student students will have the opportunity to visit the Spires and form relationships with older adults.
“We as a committee have talked about how we can appeal to the students to that they will feel comfortable enough to come over here and interacting with us,” Layfield said. “I would love to be able to attract students that do not get recognized in other ways.”
In addition to monthly events, the Spires will be hosting an event for graduating seniors to come over on the Spires buses and chat with the residents.
“We are looking forward to our events for the seniors,” Nancy said. “It’s just our way of honoring the graduating students.”
According to Layfield, he is most looking forward to getting to know students and making new connections within the Berry community. When he visits the campus for sports games or other events, he enjoys chatting with students that he has met through the Spires events.
“I’ve gotten to know students personally. It’s so much fun when I walk on campus or go to a ball game and I get to speak to them,” Layfield said. “We get a lot out of these events, but I think the students can benefit from the knowledge and expertise that these residents have. It is so varied that any student can find a niche.”
Members of the committee hope to host more events for students in the future. Fuel for Finals will be happening in Krannert on May 1, and Fur for Finals will be happening on the Krannert porch on May 2. These events will be opportunities for students to meet Spires residents and de-stress during finals week.
“Next school year, we look forward to having a few more pop-up mentoring events where students can come in and talk to residents,” Sam said. “We have a lot of people here with a lot of different backgrounds a good advice.”