BConnected

What is BConnected?

In 2019, Residential Life decided to move away from a traditional programming model that asks Resident Assistants (RAs) to develop and implement single-use educational programming. In its place, we instituted BConnected. Using a series of step-by-step facilitation guides designed around themes, RAs spend a greater portion of their time building relationships with their residents and communities instead of improvising programs.

BConnected is about embracing the educational potential of residential living at Binghamton University. It provides an intentional residential experience that helps students engage within their communities and develop life skills in an environment that supports student success and well-being.

The goals of BConnected are to...

  • Create an intentional approach to residential living/learning, building upon the skills students are learning. 
  • Capitalize on the skills and talents of Residential Life staff and campus partners.
  • Focus on the primary responsibilities of the area staff to encompass four broad themes.

Themes

The four themes of BConnected are Community, Academic Success, Life Skills, and Well-being. As of spring 2020, we have implemented Community and Well-being. Each theme has its own set of objectives and outcomes achieved by completing the activities outlined in our facilitation guides.

1. Community

Using BConnected, our staff will empower residents to connect with others, become active members of their community, discover and appreciate differences and act with a sense of responsibility. RAs utilize various strategies to have more intentional interactions with their residents, such as structured social community builders and guided conversations we call "BChats."

  • Objectives and outcomes
    Active membership

    Objective: Residents will model active membership in their community to problem solve and participate positively.

    Outcomes: Residents will be able to...

    • Describe the importance of active membership.
    • Develop and apply leadership skills.
    • Match resources to community matters in order to solve problems.
    • Demonstrate positive contributions to the community.
    Difference

    Objective: Residents will value how differences contribute to and enrich their community.

    Outcomes: Residents will be able to...

    • Describe various aspects of difference.
    • Recognize differences in self and others.
    • Explain the value of difference to their community.
    • Demonstrate the ability to live with people different from themselves.
    Meaningful connections

    Objective: Residents will develop meaningful connections with members of their community in order to increase their sense of belonging.

    Outcomes: Residents will be able to...

    • Identify members of their community.
    • Demonstrate interpersonal skills in order to engage in meaningful connections.
    • Develop positive and meaningful relationships with others.
    Responsibility

    Objective: Residents will discover how policies and standards strengthen their community and understand their role in developing those standards.

    Outcomes: Residents will be able to...

    • Understand why Residential Life and Binghamton University rules and policies exist and know where to find them.
    • Collaborate to establish and maintain community standards for their rooms, suites and floors.
    • Identify how establishing standards have contributed to their community.
  • Community Builder example

    Title: Dinner on me!

    RA Taylor decided they wanted their residents to bond with each other over a meal in the dining hall. Taylor sent out a poll to their residents to find a common time/date that would work for all and what dining hall they would prefer.

    Taylor solidified the date and location for 6:30 p.m. February 13, in the CIW dining hall that more than three residents from different suites would be present for. Taylor spoke with dining staff to reserve a table to make it a special event. Taylor also sent a personal invite to their residents and sent an email reminder the day before.

    At 6:15 p.m., Taylor went door-to-door knocking on residents’ doors to collect the group. Taylor also sent a message in the GroupMe that they were leaving and that any stragglers could meet them at the dining hall. Once at the dining hall, Taylor made sure to bring some “get to know you” questions in case there were lulls in the conversation.

    Later, Taylor posted a question to the group, “What is one fun fact that you learned about someone you didn’t already know?”

2. Well-being

Well-being in BConnected encompasses both physical and mental health/well-being. Professional and student staff will explore various topics pertaining to well-being with residents, such as sleep and stress management, through support groups, educational tabling, and a by conducting a sleep study. Residents will also learn what other resources are available to them on campus and how to access them.

  • Objectives and outcomes
    Physical well-being

    Objective: Residents will identify and implement strategies that contribute to their physical well-being.

    Outcomes: Residents will be able to...

    • Recognize that physical activity is a part of a balanced academic experience.
    • Describe the importance of physical activity as it relates to their general well-being.
    • Recognize barriers to increasing physical well-being and determine strategies to overcome them.
    • Implement strategies that benefit their physical well-being.
    Mental well-being

    Objective: Residents will engage in intentional practices to assess their mental well-being.

    Outcomes: Residents will be able to...

    • Recognize the practices that contribute to their personal success.
    • Reflect on ways to build on existing practices that contribute to their success.
    • Seek assistance through services that match their needs.
    • Distinguish differences between stress and distress in challenging situations.
    • Identify strategies to address concerning behavioral or physical changes.
  • The Wellness Wheel

    Wellness Wheel

    Wellness isn't just about the absence of illness or stress — it's aiming for a balanced lifestyle that will empower you to succeed. This Wellness Wheel describes eight interconnected dimensions that, when balanced, create a healthier you:

    1. Emotional
    2. Spiritual
    3. Physical
    4. Environmental
    5. Financial
    6. Social
    7. Intellectual
    8. Occupational

    Finding the balance. These eight dimensions interconnect and affect your overall health. If stress on one dimension is challenging you, try concentrating on one of the other dimensions. Making an effort to improve just one dimension can lead to more positive changes across them all.

  • Sleep Study

    Professional staff will create a sleep log in order to determine how many hours of sleep residents are getting on average. The purpose of the sleep log is for professional staff to create a visualization that will prepare residents for conversation with their RAs about how sleep impacts their well-being.

    As a result, residents will be able to:

    • Recognize the practices that contribute to their success.
    • Reflect on ways to build on existing practices that contribute to their success.

BConnected terminology

  • Terms and definitions

    Priority: The department’s overarching results.

    Theme: One of the central goals/ideas of BConnected (Community, Well-being, etc.) that activities and programs are structured around.

    Objective:

    • Community: active membership, difference, meaningful connections, responsibility.
    • Well-being: physical well-being, mental well-being.

    Outcome: An assessment phrase that describes what a resident should take away from each objective.

    Strategy: A method used by Residential Life Staff to foster engagement with residents to achieve learning goals. Some examples are:

    • Community Gathering: A gathering of the floor/building or community.
    • BChats: Deeper conversations with residents that will have guided inquiries.
    • Social Media: Departmental posts.
    • Passive Resources: Educational bulletin boards, bathroom reader, door hangers, resources/programming attendance at other departments, process advertisement, GroupMe, lobby TV, table tents, tabling, swag, giveaways, newsletters.
    • Events: Large-scale activities centered around a common goal.
    • Community Builders: Structured social activities with assigned topics.

    Traditions: Community-specific activities managed by Area Governments or Residential Life professional staff.

    Facilitation Guide: What student staff will use to complete strategy.

    Assessment: Gathering data to let us know if BConnected is meeting its goals, and then using that data to improve it.