Laney – STEM (Part 3)

For the most part, Residential Colleges are made to group together like-minded people. And that can be really nice, but it’s not like we’re just a bunch of clones. You will meet all kinds of different people when you live in a Residential College, just like if you were to live in a regular dorm.

During my freshman and sophomore years here there was an RA on the guys’ side that was from Burma. Prior to him telling me that, I didn’t know that Burma existed. And this guy was a really amusing and fun person. Everyone in the building knew and loved him. Because you couldn’t help not to. All three years that I have lived in STEM, there have been foreign exchange students from Rwanda. And these guys are some of the nicest people you’ll meet while here. And they grew up in a completely different environment than I did for sure. So, I’ve learned a lot about Rwanda and about how very different life can be. STEM even started a study abroad program that involves going to Rwanda and teaching cool hands-on science and math lessons. And in May they are going to back to also teach about canning food and making ovens.

In my experience, you don’t even necessarily have to leave your room to see the diversity that Residential Colleges have to offer. I’ve had more than my share of roommates over the years. Once I had a roommate who was from Kenya. She had the most beautiful accent. Another of my roommates’ mothers was from…I think Korea. And she grew up near a big city. So, having grown up in a pretty small city myself, that was pretty different all on its own.

It doesn’t matter where you’ve come from, what you’re interested in, or what personality type you are. Like I said in my first post, STEM is a family. And from what I’ve heard, that’s the same type of experience you’ll find in any of the Residential Colleges. And what does that mean? That means that you’ll fit in just fine. And you’re also sure to meet all kinds of interesting people while you’re here.

Brady – STARS (Part 3)

"Be excellent to each other, and party on, dudes." -Abraham Lincoln (Bill & Ted's Excellent Adventure)

“Be excellent to each other, and party on, dudes.” -Abraham Lincoln (Bill & Ted’s Excellent Adventure)

One thing that has always amazed me since I came to college was the amount of diversity that is contained in these few square miles. When you are growing up, you tend to not be surrounded by people completely different than you, everyone around you is fairly similar. College, though, holds so many different types of people from all over the world– which is to be expected because this is an institute of higher education and, with the various study abroad programs, it makes sense to think we would facilitate people from different countries. But, when you look beyond that, what you find is that we are essentially the same– we just have different interests and hobbies, that’s where the true diversity lies. The Residential College, I believe, is the best way to fully get a sense of the amount of diversity that college has to offer.

In a residential college, every resident is there for a common purpose; for the STARS, it’s to “live the arts,” for STEM, it’s bring together like-minds to collaborate in math, science, and engineering, and, in Hughes, you strive to become a leader on campus and in your community. But, within Residential Colleges, what you find is that there are many different kinds of people there.

Within my RC, the STARS, we all have some ability in the arts that makes it perfect for us to live here. Some residents here are in choir, band, or theater, some like to draw and paint and then there are some here who have no real connection to the arts but their personality is perfect for the atmosphere that we have created here.

An example of such a person would be my friend Chris; Chris isn’t involved in choir or band, instead what he good at is video games. He loves to play and discuss all kinds of video games with his friends; he also has an interest in technology. He loves to find the latest news on computer hardware, cameras, and other technologic devices. Chris is a film major but what he hopes to do one day is start a production company to make his video games, videos and other sketch videos proffesionaly. He may not directly affect our artsy community we have here but he does indirectly with his personality and presence.

My suitemate Jared on the other hand does influence the arts but not through band or theater, through his photography. Jared is one of the most talented photographers that I know and he is truly passionate about what he does. His art isn’t actively displayed for all those to see, unlike the choir or band members. The unique thing is: even though Jared is passionate about what he does, he isn’t a photography major (he’s actually undeclared, so that might change) to him this is just a hobby that he loves and occasionally makes a bit of money off of.

My roommate, Cheston, is similar to me. We were both in choir in high school but not here in college, so he doesn’t actively contribute to the traditional arts community we have here. His interest, though, is in movies; Cheston is a film major with an extensive knowledge of the ins and outs of the movie industry and could tell you almost anything you wanted to know about movies. For Cheston, movies are a hobby that he one day hopes to turn into a career. He one day hopes to be like our resident artists who use paint and music to create art, but his art will be through a different medium, a camera.

Chris, Jared, and Cheston, while not being directly a part of our arts community, still offer a lot to the environment because they don’t fall within the traditional definition of the STARS (choir, band, and theater.) Even within a specified type of Residential College there are those that who have different interest and hobbies but still fit in there.

Diversity isn’t a bad thing; in fact it’s a very good thing. Diversity has the ability to allow us to learn to new things and discover new ways of thinking. It promotes collaboration and the finding of a middle ground to let us connect to each other on a whole new level. The view I gave is just of one small population of entire college, there are many more people out there that are vastly different then us of the STARS RC you just have to be able to open yourself up to them and let the true collegiate experience begin.



Kirsten – EDGE (Part 3)

I moved to UCA from a small town in Arkansas. My graduating class was a HUGE 74 people. My friend who lives only thirty minutes away in a “bigger” town frequently makes fun of my little town. She says, “I don’t stop when I drive through, because I fear I will end up in a situation like the movie Deliverance.” So, it is needless to say we didn’t have much diversity. I had a hard time working through the culture shock of moving to UCA. The population here is not all “white-back-woods-rednecks”.

To some this is going to sound ridiculous, but it is the sad truth. I had never seen a black person outside of the television before moving to UCA. I personally am very interested in people who are different than myself, but terrified of offending people by asking what may seem to be “stupid” or “racist” questions. So, after two semesters of taking classes with and becoming friends with a black girl was I finally able to say, “I don’t want you to take this the wrong way, but will you tell me about your hair? It always looks so perfect and I have always wanted to know how. I only hear bits of conversations and what I hear on T.V. and I am confused and intrigued.”

She laughed, “Girl, what do you want to know?”

I smiled, “Everything you want to tell me, I know nothing.”

Besides being a place to meet new cultures from here in America. There are people from all over the world, places I knew and places I have never heard of.  Have you heard of Guinea-Bissau?  I have now met two people from there.

One of my RAs (meaning Resident Assistant, not to be confused with “RA”s a noise Lady Ga-Ga uses as lyric fillers) is from Rwanda. His name is Robert. Living with Robert and others who come from such different cultures has been eye opening. He has told me some of his ideas and goals in life. He has an amazing passion to help people back home, a passion that is lost where I come from. Most of the people “back home” for me just want to leave town or be able to survive on minimum wage at the factory raising their children. Not often do they think about helping improve the town.


Living in EDGE has provided me with an even bigger insight than, I can assume (maybe I am true or maybe I am just very proud of my new home), any other Res’ College can offer. EDGE stands for Educating for Global Engagement. This means most of the classes offered in the dorm classroom are geared toward global awareness. What EDGE stands for also explains why there are several exchange students living in the dorm.

While there are many amazing facts to learn from exchange students, I am going to tell you one that is less important on a global stand point, but very interesting in my opinion. I was talking with one of the Chinese exchange students and she told me that she will not eat the cookies in the cafeteria. I asked her why, because I personally think the cookies in the caf’ are the best thing they serve. She then explained to me that where she is from cookies are all crunchy. The fact the caf’ cookies are soft and chewy made her believe they were expired.

To wrap it up, UCA has allowed me to become a cultured being. Not only is there a huge diversity on campus, but within my beautiful Res’ College home there is enough culture to learn more about the world than my high school geography class could have ever taught me.

Jackson – EPIC (Part 3)


When you initially hear the word diversity discussed regarding an institution or organization, what comes to mind?  Most people think of racial diversity, working together as one cohesive unit.  While this is found within all of UCA’s Residential Colleges, that is not all that diversity encompasses here.

We have a wide variety of Residential Colleges that fit multiple fields of interest.  This diversity allows for everyone who comes to UCA to find his or her perfect fit.  Diversity can be seen even within these individual programs, which is pretty remarkable if you think about it.  With EPIC, teams are created to tackle projects that nobody in particular is an expert on, so that everyone is able to contribute their points of view.  In the group for my most recent project, we had a Marketing major, Chemistry major, Music Education major, Physical Therapy major, and a Pre-Medical Biology major.  Because of this, we had methodological business minds, creative artistic minds, and analytical science minds all working as a unified group to complete our project.

Having projects with such diversity allows students in Residential Colleges to experience more than those who are not, both in projects than they can participate in, as well as the huge variety of friends they will inevitably make.  UCA’s Residential Colleges are an amazing way for people to meet and interact with others from all walks of life.

Chelsey – STARS (Part 3)




I come from a small town at the very bottom of Arkansas; it only contains 5,000 people and takes 10 minutes to drive all the way through. Growing up, I was not exposed to many that lived outside of my town. Sure, we had one foreign exchange student every year, but that was all. When I first started attending UCA, I lived in a dorm known as State Hall.

I did not know much about the dorm until I had already moved in—I did not expect that the dorm was mainly for foreign exchange students. It was specifically for those who were so far from home that, during holidays such as Christmas Break, they still needed to be able to live in the dorms or they would have nowhere else to stay. Living in State was my first experience with diversity in Residential Colleges. I was able to meet (and live next door to!) people from a plethora of different places, such as Africa and China. Meeting people from all around the world allowed me to be exposed to different religions, languages, and even foods! Then, at the end of the first semester, I changed dorms.

I currently live in Short/Denney, a dorm that focuses more on the arts. Don’t think the diversity among students is of lesser value here, on the contrary! Short/Denney contains plenty of students with different lifestyles. And it is not only the foreign exchange students who represent the diversity in the Residential Colleges– it is every single student who walks in the halls. Especially when it comes to religion, I have met Mormons, Christians, Buddhists, Atheists, Muslims, and so many more.

Meeting these people in Residential Colleges with all these different beliefs and values allows me to open my mind and try to see things from the eyes of others. Diversity is important for the college experience. Students have to learn that their ‘world’ isn’t the only one that exists, that open-mindedness is one of the many puzzle pieces that fit into a better future for everyone. Racism and prejudice only lead to needless conflict; I believe that the diversity in Residential Colleges helps students raised with slightly skewed views open their eyes. We can only reach as far as our mind is broad.

Hunter – EDGE (Part 3)

Hunter2When I think of EDGE Residential College the first thing that pops to mind is diversity. After all we are the international residence hall.

We have programs in our building to help students adjust from their small-town lives to big-city culture and diversity. One of the programs that I’ve grown to love is called language corner. It is a way for students to get to know each other from all over campus and to learn about different cultures and learn new words and ideas in different languages. Language corner is a way to have fun with games and to get students talking.

I personally grew up in a small town in North Arkansas that was filled with just a sprinkling of diverse cultures.  Now, I’m not going to lie when I came to UCA I did experience a little culture shock. I knew it was going to be a big change but I didn’t know how big of a change my life would have in store.

When I was welcomed on my freshman move-in day I remember one of the first people I met was Robert from Rwanda in Africa. I could tell by his accent he definitely was not from around here and I realize my life has changed completely. As the day grew on I’ve met people from all over the world including students from China and Japan and even Saudi Arabia.

I feel EDGE was the best thing that could have ever happened to me my freshman year because I became so open to different cultures and open to new ideas and experiences and has given me a totally different perspective.


Daniel – STARS (Part 3)

Dan2Daniel. Freshman. Marketing Major. STARS Residential College.

When writing on the topic of “diversity” the most socially obvious point of discussion is of the ethnic or racial diversity of one’s surroundings. Given my background this is a fair definition. Graduating from high school in Bentonville to university in Conway carries a noticeable shift in demographics. However when considering my exposure to greater diversity at UCA I rarely think along those lines. The fact that the racial demographic of Bentonville is more uniform than my new home in Central Arkansas rarely occurs to me. College has matured my sense of diversity more to individuals and not attempts to divide people into a myriad of categories.

Living in a Residential College is a wonderful method of meeting people different than oneself. The STARS offers a charming summary of different parts of Arkansas. I am from NWA. My girlfriend, also a Short/Denney resident, is from a southern town that borders Louisiana. Many of my friends have homes scattered across our state’s interior while others come from nations outside America; each brings a different social viewpoint to our shared world in the STARS.

I taste different foods being prepared in our kitchen. I hear different music played in the halls and different languages in conversation. Diversity exists in the STARS Residential College and every member of our program benefits from it.Daniel4

Seneca – EPIC (Part 3)

EPICEPIC Residential College is all about diversity. I would go as far as to say regardless of what major you are you can make a difference here in EPIC.

I am living proof of this because I myself am a nutrition/dietetics major. We live by the “think wrong concept” which I would think to some extent would indicate a theme of diversity. We have biochemistry majors, psychology majors, physical therapy, (you get the hint) the list goes on and on.

So don’t let your major stop you from being part of EPIC Residential College.  We have diverse majors, diverse people with diverse personalities. That is our makeup here in EPIC and it all comes together to work out pretty well I might add.

Are you nervous about fitting in? Don’t worry, I was too. No need to be concerned. You will find who you mesh up the first week you are here, especially when you get in your teams. Not only do we have diversity in students we are diverse with our projects as well.

We are approaching the end of the first full school year of EPIC Residential Colleges inception and since that time we have done a few different activities. We have done a create your own app contest, a best game at tailgate contest, recruitment/retention ideas and community enhancement projects and I see no end to the activities during my time here.

Step away from the normal college life and do something that’s fun and different at the same time.

Come find your niche, all students welcome!!!

Chloe – Hughes (Part 3)

Hughes Residential College LogoThe residential colleges at the University of Central Arkansas are known for the range of diversity of its students. For new student’s, coming to college is a new experience because of a new range of people that they are going to be exposed to.

I loved being in a new environment with so many people from different backgrounds. I learn things from my fellow residents that I would have not learned from a teacher in a classroom. We all have different backgrounds and stories that show how we have become who we are and make us all understand that the only way to go from here is up.

The residential colleges are particularly for entering freshman whether they are international students or nontraditional students that may be in the armed forces, the residential colleges are definitely a melting pot for differing cultures and ideas.

One of my favorite things to do at Hughes is to listen and have conversations with those who are from differing backgrounds from me. The residential master here has a “coffee Shoppe” every other Sunday and it has been a great way to meet new people and have conversations that you can walk away from with new friendships that will last a life time.

College is definitely about opening up to new people and new experiences. All you have to do to learn something new is go downstairs and spend some time in the lobby with your fellow residents. Learning does not just take place in a classroom at UCA. It happens all the time by meeting new people and sharing stories. I have learned much this year including the importance of branching out of myself and challenging my beliefs.

Residential Colleges are truly the place to be and to learn.

Brandon – STEM (Part 2)

Brandon3This is a brick wall.

A good brick wall has integrity; it has a strong foundation, it won’t collapse, and it does its job (i.e.- it holds up the roof). For the brick wall, we call this structural integrity, but it is still integrity nonetheless.

Much like the brick wall, UCA’s residential colleges also have a type of integrity called academic integrity.

When most people talk about academic integrity, they usually are talking about how cheating, plagiarizing, or infringing on anyone’s thoughts or work in any way is bad.  This kind of academic integrity still holds within the residential colleges, but there is another aspect of this integrity which I believe better captures what the residential colleges are all about: maintaining academic standards.

Since my freshman year, I’ve seen just about everyone I have ever encountered struggle, at some point, in at least one of their classes. It’s kind of like a fact of life; if you spend four years at college, you are going to slip up eventually. Maybe you stayed up playing games the night before a big test, or you went to a party when you should have been doing a lab report, or you encountered our friendly brick wall in the middle of  your mid-term essay. These things happen. But what’s important is what you take away from the situation. I’ve seen too many of my friends and classmates just pretend their slip-ups never happened, and then the next big assignment, they do the same thing they did last time and fail again. That is the opposite of what they should have done.

Within the residential colleges, we try to maintain an academic standard where, if and when these slip-ups occur, something is done to prevent them from happening again. Programs are often held about time management and how to build good study habits for each of the residential colleges, and in STEM, we have five Nerd Nodes (study rooms), Advocates, and Duty Nights three nights a week within the STEM Classroom. During the Duty Nights, three Advocates spend three to five hours in the classroom helping students with their homework and in understanding various concepts from their classes. This is all done in the effort to help students hone their academic skills and become more successful in both their current and future classes.

We want our residents to do well, and we work hard to make sure they have as many opportunities at success as possible.

Carolynne – STARS (Part 2)

Hello once again!


Something we find very important at UCA, and even to the more specific area which would be our Residential Colleges, is something we call integrity. Integrity is really hard to just put into words but more of an action that is played out daily. And in the Short/Denney Residential College integrity is something that we really strive for. Integrity is the one of our foundations. Without it we wouldn’t be one big family. I have met so many people through this experience.

Integrity here isn’t something that is passed on lightly but taken to heart and lived out daily. We as STARS strive to live out our lives everyday better than the previous. And we couldn’t do that without the help of our wonderful friends that have been made. Friendships have been formed, strengthened and cherished. But it is because of the consistency of everyone to make long lasting relationships. Sometimes I wish I could snap my fingers and there be friends but honestly it takes consistency, trustworthiness, time and honesty.

me and kaitlin

Me and Kaitlin, STARS Lobby

Something else that I love about the STARS, is our Resident Assistants (RA’s) and how they are very friendly and welcoming. The whole staff works together really well and helps each other at all costs. They also work well with the advocates (mentors/tutors) in the dorm. They are always there when we need them and I couldn’t ask for a better staff! When it comes to programs, we might have the same people attending but if it wasn’t for the RA’s working together then they probably wouldn’t work.

As I have mentioned, Integrity is something that is very important in the dorms/residential colleges. We strive to be the best we can be and do the best we can do. There has been long lasting friendships that has been made along the way and a lot of laughter, long nights of games and talks, one on ones with others just because they love and trust each other. I have had girls come knock on my door more times than I would have expected all because I made my face present in the lobby. Living in the Residential College is such a blessing!

Brady – STARS (Part 2)

"Be excellent to each other, and party on, dudes." -Abraham Lincoln (Bill & Ted's Excellent Adventure)

“Be excellent to each other, and party on, dudes.” -Abraham Lincoln (Bill & Ted’s Excellent Adventure)

Integrity. Integrity, according to the Merriam-Webster dictionary is defined as “conduct that conforms to an accepted standard of right and wrong.” So what does this definition have to do with Residential Colleges? How can you apply a personal attribute to a community? I had no idea, so I turned to a thesaurus to try and find a word that could accurately describe the Residential College in terms of the “standard of right and wrong.”

 The first word that struck me was “rightness,” that is, being in accord with what is just, good, or proper. Rightness if often used to describe someone’s moral character but that really doesn’t work in the context of a Residential College, but that doesn’t mean it doesn’t apply to it at all. Being right in an RC means that you do what is right within the RC itself. This doesn’t necessarily mean doing what is morally right, like keeping your halls and lobby clean, respecting others, and bringing a positive attitude to the atmosphere.

 What being right in a Residential College is truly about is your role and how you act within it. This means actively participating in what your Residential College is designed for. For example, if you are in the STARS and you have a natural talent for poetry or singing then doing what is right would mean performing at open mic night or poetry night.

The reason you join a Residential College is to connect with other students that have the same interests as you and to make your transition in to college smoother. College is often considered the place that really defines who we are and part of what college should instill in us is integrity. Not just doing what is morally right, but also doing what is right within your community by contributing and making it a more enjoyable experience for everyone. That is what integrity in college is all about.

Seneca – EPIC (Part 2)

EPICThis time I am going to talk about how the time is spent for a student in EPIC. Being in EPIC we have worked on some major community as well as school enhancement projects.

I can honestly tell you that during presentations of our projects you can tell the amount of hours that went into the creation of these projects. Even with school being a top priority, a lot of time and energy is spent to make these ideas come alive.

The dedication and teamwork is by far the best I have ever seen in my college career thus far. Looking to be a part of a winning team? EPIC is the way to go.

As an EPIC student you are allowed to “think wrong” or think outside the box in order to make a difference the may impact others in a way you may have never imagined.

My favorite project thus far has been our recruitment/retention project last semester. We had eight teams total. Four were given recruitment and asked to come up with ways to improve it and 4 were given retention. My team got retention. Needless to say I was a little tumped at first on how I would go about it. But after a few weekends of research and team meetings we came up with an idea.

From that time on our goal was to improve and see how we could adapt it this school as well as make it seem like a plausible solution. After we had come up with a possible way to implement it we did 2 surveys of random students, the first survey was kind of a get to know  our population and the second survey to the same students was a simple yes or no question of if our idea would indeed help with retention. Off the top of my head I can’t remember the specific percentages but I know that the majority of the students said yes.

So we put together a PowerPoint and prepared for our presentation. My belief level in our idea was through the roof now not only because I had experienced something similar to it before but the more research I did the more I saw the possibility of it acttually working.

We gave the presentation and got 1st place in the first round which allowed us to present our idea to the president of the university. I tell you what an honor.

We got third place in the last round but still left with a prize. That is just one prime example of the hard work that goes into making this and all the other projects work.  I am excited about the other projects coming up in the near future.  The definition of EPIC is success… in EPIC proportions.

Kirsten – EDGE (Part 2)

They say honesty is the best policy. I personally think a little white lie here and there is sometimes the best policy. Nothing good comes out of telling your friend they look fat in their favorite outfit or that their new haircut makes them look like Jim Carrey in Dumb and Dumber.

In all your classes your professors tell you that Academic Integrity is not only morally right, but it is the only way to pass your classes. This makes all of those long hard essays I talked about in my last post seem even more grueling. How is it possible to write five or eight pages with only your own words?!

Easy, when you truly understand what it means to have Academic Integrity. You can use other people’s words! Just quote them. My learning assistants help me name drop long meaningful quotes into all of my essays.  These quotes not only take up space, they allow you to use other people’s ideas and words to support your own claims. Another important thing to remember when you work so hard on spinning out those pages is you can still tell a lie. You just cannot lie about statistics or use other people’s works as your own.  But! You can actually tell five pages worth of lies, if they are your own lies. I have done it.

An essay for my communications class required me to explain a failed relationship I have been in and analyze why it failed. Just between you and me, I haven’t had enough relationships to talk about how they failed. A week isn’t enough relationship to analyze for a five page paper. Like I said in my last post, I enjoy sitting in the classroom and complain to my LA’s and advocates (advocates are like mini LA’s, they only work a few hours a week rather than all week like LA’s). I believe my droning went something like, “I don’t know how to write this paper! I haven’t even had a relationship since fifth grade and I don’t remember that one well enough to analyze it for five pages.”

“Make a relationship up,” said one of the Advocates.

So I did. It was five pages of why my relationship with Jimmy failed. It analyzed all the stages of ending a relationship, just as our instructor wanted. I got a high A on the essay. It turns out my imaginary relationship which came to a terrible imaginary end, was a beautiful relationship with my GPA. My Res’ College staff help me out so much.  They keep me inspired to do more and better yet they informed on what is safe to say and what would get me into trouble.

Chandler – STARS (Part 2)

Hey, all! This blog is actually a bit late because my laptop took an unannounced sabbatical, that’s life for you I guess!

The word of the day (week?) is integrity, academic integrity, folks. I really think the entire concept of academic integrity is pretty vague, though. We could talk about cheating and plagiarism, but that’s a speech you have heard and will continue to hear 10,000 times over until you graduate- so I’ll leave that to your professors. I could tell you all of the top rated study techniques and habits of the A+ students, but either you already are, or just haven’t decided it’s worth your effort yet. I could tell you how to prioritize time, write a perfect paper, or even how to make your Ramen gourmet when you’re sick of the chicken flavor because you’ve eaten nothing else for a week- but that really is unrelated.

I’m just going to tell you about life here. It’s really easy to make it through college unnoticed if you want to. It’s easy to stay in your comfort zone, hang out in your room, sleep most of the day, do the bare minimum to pass classes, and really just give minimal effort. You can do that here if you really want to- no one is going to stop you. But don’t. College, especially in the Residential halls is an amazing opportunity to connect to people with similar interests or at least similar majors most likely. There are always more programs than you could ever conceivably go to- but go to them. STARS had programs on everything from beer goggle Mario Kart (a lesson on why you shouldn’t drink and drive), to learning your personality type and love language, to highlighter parties, open mic nights, and just plain coloring for no good reason. Programs exist to give you a reason to get out of your room and interact. They give you a chance to do something fun and possibly ridiculous and to do something you wouldn’t normally just do. Be a part of the community.

If I can tell you anything about college, you owe it to yourself to make the best of it and to get the most you can out of it. (We all know how much you or someone else is paying for you to be here.) If I think academic integrity means anything, at the core I think it means knowing behind closed doors that you’re getting all you can out of life or college or class. I was diagnosed with depression my first semester of college because I did what I needed to survive. I had straight A’s but I was miserable and determined to drop out because I didn’t know anyone or make an effort to. Class is important. You should go, and take notes, and pay attention, and learn all you can and more. But at the end of the day, college is about the entire experience. Don’t neglect friends 24/7 because of class but don’t do the opposite either. Learn balance, learn how to make it.

You owe it to yourself to be the best version of yourself you can possibly be. (Excuse the massive amounts of cheese there, but I’m being serious. Don’t waste your time here. You never know what you could be missing.) All of the pictures are things I would have missed out on if I hadn’t gone to programs and met my friends and got involved. I found an awesome support group of crazy fun people that made studying more entertaining and life more enjoyable. Get out there!

Chloe – Hughes (Part 2)

Hughes Residential College LogoLiving/learning communities set students apart from other students on campus. We live within a community of people that we have classes together and that we see on a day-to-day basis.

As students within the living learning community, it is our duty to do our best to succeed and to help our students transition from high school life to college life. The Hughes Residential College’s theme, if you will, is “Leadership”.

We focus on many different aspects of what it means to be a leader and what you have to do to become one. Within Hughes we have a new program that is specifically for those who are interested in becoming leaders. It is dutifully named “Hughes Leadership Institute” and we have speakers from on campus and off come and explain different aspects of leadership.

We also take part in a ropes course as one major part of the program. The course and strengths quest is designed to challenge your ability and capacity to be a leader and everyone who went this last semester was better able to handle leadership positions when the course was over.

Hughes is also beginning to become a major part of the community by doing several service projects through Hughes Leadership Institute and The Advocate program. This year we were involved with the Boys and Girls club and we spent an afternoon watching the Bears and Sugar Bears play basketball. It was a great time and to see how happy it made the kids made everything that much better.

We hold ourselves in a high position as members of a living-learning community that strives for success. We simply ask that you try and if you do, you will fit right in with any of the residential colleges that UCA has to offer.

Chelsey – STARS (Part 2)



Integrity can have a variety of different definitions, but the simplest I have found is doing what you say you’re going to do—keeping promises to yourself.

Before I came into the residential college, one of my main priorities happened to be finding friends. I knew that friendships were extremely important. Of course, it is wonderful to have people you can spend time with, learning about their lives and just having fun together, but friendships also happen to be connections for the future. If I become good friends with people in classes pertaining to my major, we can all work together to achieve success in our field—and possibly even help each other out some time down the road.

I believe that putting my face and my name out there is also very important. Luckily, the residential colleges on campus have many events that you can attend and even help out with. During these events, you meet plenty of new people, including RA’s and RHA’s that you would not have met before. I said, before coming to college, that I wanted to get more involved. Thanks to these events, I have successfully been able to do this.

As well as getting involved, I promised myself that I would help out others more in any way that I can. In the residential colleges, we are given many opportunities to help others out. Currently, we are doing a book drive for St. Jude’s hospital. This gives students in my dorm the chance to give their old books away to children who would definitely enjoy them much more.

Integrity is important. By being in a residential college, I have been able to achieve more goals, uphold more integrity, than I believed possible before.

Jackson – EPIC (Part 2)

EPICOne of the core focuses of academics at UCA is integrity for students and their work.

Academic Integrity here is basically a huge accountability system that keeps students honest in their work.  Teachers hold students to high standards and do not tolerate cheating of any kind.  This includes plagiarism.

One of the resources provided to students at UCA is the Writing Center, which has writing-majors available to help students with their work.  This way, students have an opportunity to have guided help in writing and revising their work, without plagiarizing.

Residential Colleges provide advocates who are trained on academic integrity.  Part of this training focuses on academic honesty and confidentiality.  In this, students can seek help from an advocate and trust them not to share where they are struggling in class.  UCA students are given so many opportunities for help elevating their work to the highest standards.

Hunter – EDGE (Part 2)

Hunter1Academic integrity is probably the most important part of success at the University of Central Arkansas. Academic integrity means not plagiarizing and being creative in your own work but giving credit where credit is due. Students who fail to achieve academic integrity through their work can get kicked off campus, banned from the school, and even worse it follows you everywhere with your permanent record.

EDGE residential college helps students achieve academic integrity through the help of the Learning Assistants and Advocates. As an Advocate my specialty is helping students with APA format. I make sure students cite their sources carefully so that they do not fail at academic integrity.

We encourage students to use plagiarism checkers online and to use the Purdue owl website to make sure they are citing correctly in their papers. Professors in the classrooms can help students in EDGE Residential College to go over their papers with them when needed and take the time to personally read the students papers and to go over there citations with them even if it means outside of classroom time.

EDGE Residential College professors are really awesome to have especially as a freshman in college because they’re willing to work with students one-on-one even in their free time in their very busy schedules. If a Learning Assistant or Advocate is not able to help a student then they will send them to the Academic Success Center for help in the Torreyson Library. Hunter2

If a student needs math or science help then we can send this student to the math and science building for tutoring if help is not available in the classroom. The tutors can help to make sure that their scientific papers are written in the right format and are cited correctly as well to make sure students achieve academic integrity.

EDGE Residential College will help residents achieve academic integrity when they ask for help.

-Hunter, EDGE Residential College Advocate

Laney – STEM (Part 2)

If you’ve already my first post, then you know that I have nothing but good things to say about the Residential Colleges at UCA, especially STEM. But if I’m the only one that thinks that, then they definitely wouldn’t be worth looking into. Fortunately, this is not the case. Residential Colleges have a good reputation around UCA. If you take the time to fill out the application and write the essay to get in, then you obviously care or are at least interested in the program, and people know that. So, as soon as you step foot in the building, you are immediately set apart from the people on campus who simply choose to stay in a traditional dorm.

Laney3Every year STEM sells a new t-shirt to incoming freshmen and current UCA faculty. Generally there is some sort of quirky design on the back, so plenty of students buy it and then they’re good for wearing to STEM sponsored outreach activities or just for fun. However, you wouldn’t imagine how many faculty members buy these shirts. I was filling t-shirt orders last fall and there are faculty members that buy t-shirts for their whole family. I mean, there was a toddler sized STEM t-shirt. Toddler. Sized. If that doesn’t say something about what the faculty here thinks about STEM, then I don’t know what does.

But in case that doesn’t convince you, I can go on. There are plenty of examples of how Residential Colleges have a positive reputation. And this only leads to more and more benefits that are only associated with living in a Residential College.

It is not uncommon to walk into class and see that your professor is wearing the very STEM t-shirt that you saw in your closet this morning. And then, if you decide to wear your STEM t-shirt to one of these science or math classes, your professors notice. You’ll be sitting there before class starts or during a lab and they’ll ask you about the program and maybe talk to you about the class or about cool opportunities that are coming up in the department. It’s surprising at first, but then it keeps happening and you start to get used to it.

Getting to know your professors and feeling more comfortable around them has plenty of perks. They know about pretty much everything that goes on in their department. So, you can learn about clubs that you might be interested in and the cool projects and field trips that they are doing. You can talk to your professors about their educational background and get their advice because they’ve been in the same place that you are now. And one of the more important perks, at least as a pure science or math major, is that you can learn about the research going on in your department and if you’re lucky (like me), then your professor might outright ask you to join their research team.

If you’re a high school student reading this, then I’m sure this whole research bit isn’t what’s on your mind at all. But UCA puts a pretty big focus on research, and a lot of the degrees in the science and math fields require you to have done research while here. So, if you’re going to have to do it anyway, being in STEM and getting to know your professors gives you opportunities for learning about research and makes starting research much easier. And you’ll be extremely grateful for that opportunity later. Trust me.

So, living in a Residential College and then purchasing the program’s t-shirt automatically makes it easier for you to get to know your professors. Then, you feel less intimidated and you’re more likely to ask for help and that in turn makes you more likely to succeed in your classes. And again, Residential Colleges successfully set you up to succeed in your academic endeavors.

But why is this possible? Because Residential Colleges have a pretty good reputation around this campus. And if all of your future professors believe in it, then why shouldn’t you too?

Daniel – STARS (Part 2)



Every person living in a Residential College is automatically a member of the Residential Housing Association (or RHA), a democratically maintained wing of the university dedicated entirely towards the advancement of resident’s interests. RHA provides any Residential College member with a forum for concerns or suggestions. Each Hall is represented by 2-4 “Cubs.” The most essential role of a Cub is to plan events for residents.

dansscans145I am one of Short/Denney’s 4 elected Cubs. I did not anticipate how valuable my experiences with RHA would be. Through the planning of events my sense of integrity has been reinforced as a response to the duties of my position. In a very real way I have influence over how the RHA budget is delegated. It is important that Cubs behave conservatively and responsibly when planning an event. We have the ability to squander resources. We have the power to abuse money. A sense of mature and adult trust is assumed with the position. RHA is not an insipid placeholder organization. It is a union of young people with a common commitment to the Residential Hall program.

The STARS have developed a reputation this last year as a consistently capable and deeply talented participant in RHA. The three other Cubs and I have worked together to generate hit events that drew impressive crowds to the Short/Denney lobby. This is not possible unless each Cub appreciates the influence they truly have with the Hall and in RHA. A deficit in personal integrity critically undermines that power.


The four STARS Cubs

Michael – Hughes (Part 2)


Me teaching clarinet at Clinton’s Beginning Band Day

Hey guys, its me MP again! So the skinny on what it means to be in college and what you should walk out of college on your resume.

College= Education + Social Life + Lack of Sleep +Food of Some Sort + Dash of Stress

So each of these components have a lasting effect on your integrity. This word works in two ways here, your quality as a student and person in the concepts of honesty and morals and being whole and undivided, in reference to your health.

When I left home for college I got the usual 7-8 hours a night and dinner was a meal I never wanted to miss. Three years later, I do good to get 4-6 hours depending on the project due the next day. As far as dinner goes I go to see my friends first and then for the food.  Your probably like….. “this what every college person says, all nighters, bad food and the internet goes down at the worst possible time”….. we all say that because its TRUE. More importantly I mention food and sleep first because they are the most important thing you will worry about in college. A lot of students are very flexible their freshman year and “elastic” at least for the first semester. Your “structural integrity” (your body’s integrity) is tested in the fall and recovered over the month of vacation “christmas break.” Then you only get one real break in the spring! People do not get sick because we live in such close proximity (okay they do but not thats not the point here). Students get sick because they are worn down because they are not eating right or sleeping enough!

Okay enough on the health rant. So your moral compass and how people are going to see you when you get out of college. How are you going to build your character, humble yourself, build leadership skills, and work on your moral integrity???? Well it all depends on what you want to get involved in here at the good ole UC of A. (Cue Be Our Guest from Beauty and the Beast (don’t judge you will fall back in love with Disney in college)).

“Ladies and Gents, its with our deepest pride and greatest pleasure that we welcome you to UCA. And now we invite you to have fun, let us pull up a Bear as the S. O. S. presents your future. Be our students! Be our Students!  Put our campus to the test Put your Bear Card ‘round your key, chain And we’ll provide the rest. Soup or more Hot hors d’oeuvres Why, we only live to serve Try the gray turf It’s stupendous. Don’t believe me? Ask the Coaches! They can yell, they dance After all, Folks, this is school. And the purple here is never second best Go on, unpack your bags Take a stroll and then you’ll….. Be our Students“ (Remember I’m a band person not a choir person, I write the music not the lyrics).

Me during a summer as an RA for Upward Bound

Me during a summer as an RA for Upward Bound

So being a student here at UCA means a lot of hard things other than classes, for example: Registered Student Organizations (RSO’s), Greek Life, Residential Colleges, athletic events, intramural sports, Resident Hall Association (RHA), SGA and SAB events (Student Government Association and Student Activities Board), Concerts, and Performances; “this is short folks.” With all of these organizations they get involved with community and  volunteer and hold fundraisers for different charities and foundations. The important part of life here at UCA is to have fun, but make it rewarding.


Stay plugged in for my next post.


Chelsey – STARS



It is important, when attending college, to have academic support surrounding me constantly. Residential Colleges at the University of Central Arkansas have successfully achieved this. Like any young college student, I have a hard time concentrating on my studies, even when I’m in my own dorm room. Residential Colleges offer numerous areas for me to focus, such at the Quiet Lounge, the dorm classroom, and the student lounge.

If I am in a mood where I need absolute silence to focus, the Quiet Lounge is the place to be. Here, students are given couches to relax and a very peaceful atmosphere. Every student is expected to be as quiet as possible and are even provided plug-ins for laptops, which is perfect for when I need to write a paper. The Quiet Lounge, to me, has been greatly useful when it comes to serious reading I need to do. The Residential College has even provided lamps beside every couch to make it easier, which is quite convenient.

The dorm classroom is also a great and helpful place- academically- for a plethora of reasons. If I am working on something with a group, this classroom is a large space where you are not expected to be quiet. For that reason, the classroom is also good for when friends and I study together. It is also has large tables and many chairs, making it easy for when I’m getting help on homework or have to make something with my assigned group.

The student lounge has also been very useful to me, but in a different way. If I have written homework that is due in a few days and I feel the need to be social while also being productive, the lounge is great. If I have a question on something I’m working on, usually my surrounding friends are happy to help if they are educated on the subject. The lounge also provides plenty of background noise, such as students talking and the television, which can be nice at times when I do not feel the need for absolute silence.

Academics are extremely important to me and it is very convenient that I need not even leave my dorm for any studying atmosphere that I need. I have visited a library many times in the past for studying, simply because I didn’t have an area to focus. Now, the areas where I can focus are only a few steps away- I don’t even have to leave the building I live in! And, for that reason, succeeding academically is easier that it has ever been before.

Hunter – EDGE

When looking up what it means to define vitality according to vitality means the capacity to live grow or develop.


UCA’s acronym for the school motto is AVID. AVID means Academic Vitality, Integrity and Diversity. Academic vitality means to me the ability to continue to learn and adapt to learn in different styles and be open-minded about learning techniques. In EDGE residential college we have tons of different classes to take and in the same place that we live in.

With so many diverse classes each professor has a different way of teaching. In EDGE Residential College it doesn’t matter what your major is there’s a class for every student.

 In EDGE there is a way to get help in your building that you live in. Professors in EDGE have a way of explaining things and concepts in a whole different way than you’re used to in high school. If you do need any help they try to explain in a different way and adjust to your learning style so that way you can understand and comprehend the material and they go out of their way to help you to make sure you succeed.

In EDGE it’s a really good way to get to know people from all over the world that go to school with you on campus. EDGE Residential College stands for education for global engagement and with the global engagement theme there is a way for students to be open-minded and to learn about worldly cultures and to continue to want to learn.

Academic Vitality in EDGE Residential College is very important for your future successes. I feel EDGE Residential College is a way for students to want to learn about the world in different cultures and aspects of different ways of life and using academic vitality is one way to want to continue to learn and be open-minded about the world at UCA.

Michael – Hughes

Hey guys, whats up?  My name is Michael Parrish and I am a Jr. Instrumental Music Education major here at the University of Central Arkansas.

I have called two places here on campus my home, Short/Denney STARS Residential College and Hughes Leadership Residential College. Back in my day S/D was not STARS, but it was just what we call TSD “The Short Denney.” Since I moved over to the merry ole land of Hughes it has been adopted by the college of Fine Arts and Communication. Now I am a Learning Assistant in Hughes Hall and an avid member of HLI “Hughes Leadership Institute.” Hughes Residential College is the res. college that builds leaders.

For me residential colleges have played a very important role in my life here at UCA.

Though I have not really had the traditional route through the res. college life. I walked into UCA with 23 hours, which meant I did not have many classes to take in the res. college that I lived in. For me I got to adventure out into the big world faster than my friends. We did not realize this at the time, but it was a very big advantage for myself and my friends. Because I knew where everything was on campus now, including what areas of study were in what building (this was really helpful when everyone started switching from pre-med to other majors).

While I did not have a lot of my classes in Short/Denney I did get the same experience as everyone else. I was able to reach out and get help from “mentors” at the time. Now these students are called Advocates. For me I was around one the mentors a lot because he was in my friend group that I made. We all lucked out that we had him, because we did not wonder around like the lost little freshmen that we were.

When came to classes there is a lot of help available. Unfortunately being the hot shot that I was I did not use it, I said “I don’t need help, I never had to study in high school, I’ll be able to study for this test the night before,” and the ever popular “I’ll do better on the next test.” I would make my first C and have to drop a class my first semester of college.

This was the eye opener of my life.

As it got later in the fall semester the more I started to use the resources that were offered by my professors and the place that I lived. I would some how pull the almost F that I had in Sociology up to a C for semester, because I started going to my professor’s office before the test and review where I had went wrong on the last test. I sought out the mistakes that I had made on previous testes and corrected them for future test. I would ask my professor advice on how to study the material and he gave me advice on how to keep which theorist straight with what theory.

From here I was not in a writing class, but when I had to write papers my grammar sucked, so it was bringing my grades down. So I started asking mentors to read over my papers and I even adventured over to the Writing Center to have my papers looked over as well.

Once I started to use the resources that were given to me, for free I might add, I started to succeed. I enjoyed college and I wanted to stay here so I pulled up my pants and settled in for the long hall. I set the firm belief in my head that I was here for an education and then a social life, I would realize later that you have to have an equal amount or you do not actually get what you come to college for. If you are not developing ties with people there is nothing tiring you to UCA. While if you put all of your ties into your studies, all work and no play made jack a dull boy.

Finally all this to say, 1. you need to study, 2. make friends(they will help in ways you can’t even imagine right now), and 3. always accept help no matter what shape or form.

For now I want to leave you with. The friends that you make in college will be your friends for life, your “biffil’ (best friend for life) will probably be your maid of honor or your best man. The first major you first pick probably will change, but some people like myself stick it out, you will realize that yes, you have to study more than you did in high school. This studying may not happen in you 1000 or 2000 level classes but it will for your 3000 and 4000 level classes. Learn to talk to your professors like you did in high school teachers, don’t let them intimidate you, they want to see you succeed just as much and everyone else. Most importantly don’t drink your college years away, but also have some fun on the way.

Stay plugged in for my next post.


Brady – STARS

“Be excellent to each other, and party on, dudes.” -Abraham Lincoln (Bill & Ted’s Excellent Adventure)

What you find in a residential college is unique and you will never experience anything else like it. Residential Colleges at UCA take the standard model of a dorm room and tailor it to your fields of interest allowing a more communal feel. Every resident has a different background but they are there for the same reason, to collaborate and further pursue their interests, be it the arts, the sciences, global awareness, and leadership. Not only do you form communities of like minds but within Residential Colleges you also for academic communities to help further your education as well.

Like I stated before, every resident comes from a different background with different specialties academically-wise and, with the tight knit community that develops through our common interests, we begin to rely on each other so we can succeed collectively. For example, I have a friend Tyler who is a creative writing major with a minor in philosophy and I often find myself coming to him for help with my philosophy class and discuss philosophical and moral issues. My suitemate, Daniel, is a marketing major but loves politics; there’s hardly even a day when we don’t find ourselves talking about past and present politics along with coming up with hilarious and creative slogans, names, and sayings for events that happen in our daily life. For me though, I’m the resident “techy,” that means whenever someone has a problem with their computer or any electronic device, I’m the one they come to. It’s also the same for math; it’s no surprise I love math and a lot of the time I’m called upon to help somebody with their college algebra homework.

Our academic community is only as strong as the recourses we have at our disposal and, within residential colleges, we have many recourses available to us to succeed academically. With the addition of an in-dorm classroom and a designated space for working on homework and studying, our community is reinforced with the tools necessary to go above and beyond in our academics. Almost every day in our writing class in our dorm classroom I find myself staying behind to talk with my friends and fellow students about a wide variety of academic topics such as music theory, philosophy, media and the entertainment industry, and of course the reason I’m that class, writing. Just off our lobby is our quiet lounge, this area is designated for studying and doing homework. It seems just about every day I see somebody occupying the room, reading a book or writing a paper on their laptop, and I occasionally see groups of students in there studying or collaborating on a class project.

A residential college brings together students from many different backgrounds but with a common goal, to let those with similar interests collaborate and make the collegiate experience better. We are so much more than a group of like-minded students with common interests; we are college students trying to further our education, that’s where the academic community that is created by being in a residential college comes in to play. Our wide variety of academic interest helps us both bond with each other and make stronger connections. After all, college is about networking and collaboration; as we enter the real world, the academic communities we form in residential colleges gives us a one-up on everyone else.

Chandler – STARS

This is some of the motley crew from my freshman year in 2010-2011. Aren’t we cute? This is my junior year as a UCA Bear and a STARS kid. If it wasn’t my favorite place on campus, I would have moved by now...

This is some of the motley crew from my freshman year in 2010-2011. Aren’t we cute? This is my junior year as a UCA Bear and a STARS kid. If it wasn’t my favorite place on campus, I would have moved by now…

I am a Sociology major, a junior, and a UCA Bear. I fancy myself an artist at times and a terrible procrastinator at others. I’m a theatre kid and sometimes like to think of myself as the most talented undiscovered signer there ever was….and I may be a bit delusional because of that. I’m a STARS kid.

A little background for the uninformed: STARS is the residential college at UCA that specialized in music, theatre, art, communication, and all of those lovely things. It’s a place the artsy oddballs can call home, and we do. If I was labeling my blogs with some fabulous heading, it would probably read something like, “Raindrops on Roses and Whiskers on Kittens, Bright Little Freshmen and Late Nights in the Practice Room,” or “Five Reasons You Should be Jealous that I Live Here and You Don’t….” Perhaps something less sassy.

One of my favorite things about living in STARS and I assume any other residential hall is the simple fact that there is a classroom in the building. It really doesn’t seem like much in the grand scheme of college and life and whatnot, but it makes for relaxed classes with people you are pretty much guaranteed to know. Everyone in the residential hall is required to take two or three classes offered exclusively for your hall, and the classes are generally Gen Ed classes or relating to the emphasis of the hall. There were so many days where I would just hang out in my room until two minutes before class and then leisurely stroll down the hall to class and back when it was over. Also, you wouldn’t believe how much joy you get on rainy days when one doesn’t even have to go outside if they so choose. It also seriously helped in group projects because I already knew most of the class and they all lived in the same building so syncing up was almost too easy.

Another added perk of my beautiful building is related to the classroom. I’m a tutor in STARS but I have also been tutored in some of my more rough subjects. There is generally someone in the classroom every day of the week to help you with school work or organization or whatever. And the best part? They have to be there whether you come to tutoring or not… so you’re not even inconveniencing anyone. [Which is something I am ALWAYS paranoid about.]

Really, at the end of the day, it’s a great community and when you put off a paper from class and have to do it last minute- there are five other people pulling an all-nighter with you. It’s always fun in the lobby and you can always find someone to hang out with or to help you with class or really whatever you need. We are a big weird artsy blob of a family, and it’s pretty awesome if I may make so bold a statement.

Brandon – STEM


Me at Battle of the Halls 2011

Hello everyone. I’m Brandon, a senior here at UCA studying applied and pure mathematics with an emphasis in physics as a minor. I also do research in applied mathematics, so most of my day is spent doing math in some way or fashion.  However, when I’m not exploring the wonders of the mathematical world, I am usually doing something for the STEM Residential College.

A short digression:

STEM stands for Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics, and a residential college is a community in which students live and go to classes with other students who all have similar majors. For example, just about everyone in STEM has a major that is, in some way, connected to science, technology, engineering, or mathematics (this includes medical and other health fields too), and almost all of the students will have at least one class in STEM with their fellow STEM residents each semester.

All of that being said, I should probably say now that most of my posts are going to be heavily laden with information and examples about my experience specifically within STEM Residential College because STEM is what I know (though, not to say that I don’t know about the other residential colleges too).

I’ve been living in the STEM for three years now, my first as a freshman and the remaining two as an Advocate, so all of my college experience has been touched in one way or another by STEM. Throughout my years in STEM, I have learned more than most people would care to know about many subjects in chemistry, biology, and physics, and my knowledge in mathematics has caused me to completely lose friends and family within a few minutes of talking about what I do on a daily basis.

But that’s not really what this post is about, so instead I’m going to talk a bit about how being in a residential college has helped me be successful in my academic endeavors.

When I first came to college, I registered as a biochemistry major, my heart set on one day becoming a successful (and more importantly, filthy rich) doctor. I mention this to highlight the fact that I had set myself up for a very difficult next four years.

Within the first week of Biology I, Chemistry I, Calculus I, and an introductory writing class, I realized college was hard. Way harder than high school at least. Homework had to be done, studying was essential, and there was no one there to make sure I did everything I was supposed to do.

Luckily, I buckled down, adjusted to the changes college brought, and did pretty well on my own throughout my first semester (I had not really bought into being a part of the “Residential College community” and spent most of my time as a loner), but during my second semester, classes became even more challenging. I soon found myself struggling to maintain the same level of success that I had throughout my first semester, and this was disconcerting as well as a little disheartening as I had a bit of an ego my first year.

Things were looking bad, but around this time, I went to my first Science Night, a service learning project within STEM where students teach elementary and middle school students about science through various demonstrations and activities (I will talk more about these service learning projects in later posts).

At the Science Night, I recognized some of my classmates and began talking to them about our mutual disappointments in our academic performance that semester. Determined to reestablish a hold on our studies, we decided to combine our efforts and form a study group that would meet a few times a week to go over homework, lectures, and things of that sort, and this had an extremely positive effect on all of our grades.

This was the kind of experience that residential colleges like STEM, Hughes, EPIC and the rest are designed to promote; they take a bunch of like-minded freshman, put them in the same building, the same classes, the same service learning projects, with hopes that the students will work together to succeed academically.

Unfortunately, this process doesn’t always work out so smoothly. Sometimes a student will be struggling either in a class or in just adjusting to college but won’t know how to resolve their problems, so the problems just continue compounding over time. This is bad and usually ends with a very stressed and upset student who will probably not be very successful in their current or future academic endeavors.

But there is hope…for we are the advocates!

STEM Advocates 2012 - 2013 From left to right, top to bottom: Brandon Ashley (me), Jean Paul Ngabonziza, Tyrus Nelson, Anna Junkans, Blaze Calderon, Kayla Mazzanti, Taylor Reams, Laney Mason, and Benjamin Castro (he thinks he's fancy).

STEM Advocates 2012 – 2013
From left to right, top to bottom: Brandon Ashley (me), Jean Paul Ngabonziza, Tyrus Nelson, Anna Junkans, Blaze Calderon, Kayla Mazzanti, Taylor Reams, Laney Mason, and Benjamin Castro (he thinks he’s fancy).


The STEM Advocates. There are more in the other residential colleges. Many more…

As Advocates, our main objective is to ensure that the above situation never happens. We are kind of like the residential colleges’ academic ninjas. We are a group of upperclassmen who have already gone through the residential college program, but decided to come back to help the next group of freshmen students succeed in those intimidating first semesters. Between the lot of us, we have taken just about every possible freshman level course within the STEM majors that UCA has to offer, and we are very well prepared to help incoming students.

I kind of went off on a tangent, but my main point is that being involved in a residential college really gives students greater opportunities to be successful their freshmen year of college. The program is specifically designed to help the students build lasting relationships and work together so they can excel within their classes, and even if a student is struggling within the program, the Advocates are always there to help push the student over whatever hurdles they might encounter. Residential colleges helped me get to where I am today, and I am very confident that they will help future students be successful too.


Daniel – STARS

Daniel. Freshman. Marketing Major. STARS Residential College.



I learned essential lessons in high school but it was also in high school that I discovered the easy joy of procrastination or that missing class would leave my GPA untouched.  The methods by which I did well then condemned me to early failures in college and these naïve habits could not be overcome alone.  Without the community of a Residential College my first semester would have been disastrous.

I am a member of the STARS Residential College, the framework of which was drafted to support the various fields of the arts and of music and theatre. Though my studies are in business I am not an outsider here. I have found a network in which to thrive among the most creative minds of UCA’s youngest class. The STARS gives me access to a myriad of resources designed to advance my academics. A classroom and study area within our building. The friendship of older Advocates eager to share their experiences and course knowledge.  And yet I failed my first exams. What had been a formula for success in high school was instantly rendered useless against the higher standards of my education at UCA.

GPA in college is vehemently, critically important. If I fail to perform well in my courses I lose scholarship money. Failing a class means I might not be here next semester. I had to learn how to succeed in college quickly before irreversible damage was done. The STARS gave me what I needed to restore my grades to where I needed them. I found a connection I desperately depended upon. Living among students who learn in similar styles meant successful study groups with friends on my floor. Old high school habits began to dissipate as my Residential College eased me into a more mature standard of academics.

Today I am comfortable with the work load and rigor of a college class. I can handle the challenge of learning new fields but I’ve learned I can’t do it alone. A network and community is essential to my success.  I have everything that I need, in great abundance, offered to me through the STARS Residential College.

Seneca – EPIC

Hello future students this is Seneca.

I am a sophomore at University of Central Arkansas. I am going to describe to you in a few paragraphs when and Why I UCA.

Coming to school was a scary event for me indeed…After coming from what seemed like a dead end job and hoping to find my niche. Surprisingly enough, I found more than that through UCA. I not only found my dream major and possible future career I found EPIC Residential College and it has been the best discovery for me in a long time.

I am a nutrition major so though my major isn’t necessarily connected to EPIC (Entrepreneurship, Public Scholarship, Innovation and Community),I have been able to succeed both in and out the classrooms as well. I have always had confidence in my ability to succeed but never really much imagination. EPIC helped me to discover my creativity while also putting it to positive use and strive to ascertain not only success through the projects we do but success in the classroom, to work harder than ever before to make the grade. Through EPIC I have been able to do both, to have my cake and eat it too as the saying goes.

Why do I UCA? Because of EPIC Residential College. The main program in EPIC that has helped me thus far was our recruitment/retention project.  Each team was given either one of those ideas and we were to come up with ways to improve it. I have to be honest at first and for a while I was afraid to come up with any ideas, but soon I found myself getting excited about the prospect of keeping students here and it started to raise my belief level. My team and I were able to band together and through research and numerous man hours came up with an idea that we could be confident about and get behind and support.

EPIC allowed me to be realistic yet different at the same time. I took the same all I gave to the project, put it into my studies and I have been able to increase the time spent studying for tests with more success, but also I am able to better focus on the task at hand whether it be a paper or homework assignment. I could not have done it without EPIC. Speaking from experience being in EPIC is so worth the time and effort because it will help you succeed, not only in the program or in your academic careerl, but in life.