Carolynne – STARS (Part 5)

Carolynne 5Fellow Readers,

Something that is really close to my heart is UCA. I have grown so much through the experiences and people I have met. One thing in particular that has really impacted me is the Residential College. I have lived in the Residential College for two years. I was not originally placed here (Short/Denney) last year but I got moved here after a crazy situation in the middle of the first semester. After making it through the rest of the year in Short/Denney I applied to be an advocate here, which I soon found out that I got accepted and would be here the following year (this year). If I would have stayed where I was I probably would have never experienced the Residential College life.

Then this year, I kind of spoke out expectations that I wanted to see happen and gave myself a goal. I have learned so much through this year from the people I have met all the way to the situations I have been in. Living in this community has really challenged me, strengthened me and gave me joy. I wouldn’t have traded any of my experiences for anything.

I have really grown so much through living in the Residential College its unreal almost. I have met so many different people and my mind has branched out so much. I always knew college would cause me to branch out but this year in particular I have branched out beyond measures. Living here has helped me find myself. I never really questioned who I was but this year really put a lot of different things in to place for me.

I will forever be thankful for the opportunity I have had to live here. I wouldn’t trade these past two years for anything in the world. It has put relationships to the test, priorities to the challenge and life questions to be answered and other questions to be raised.

This has by far been one of the best experiences of my life and had a huge and phenomenal impact on my life!

Chandler – STARS (Part 5)

chandler 2Short and Denney is a place to be artistic, to make friends, to hang out, to really experience life in a way that you haven’t before. Over the course of the posts, I have bragged about our classroom, the networking, and probably more than I care to admit. When it comes down to it… why should you really live here? It’s no skin off my back whether or not you decide to take a chance on a stranger’s advice.You should move here because if you don’t, others will.

It’s the sad truth of life. If you pass up on a great opportunity, someone will be there to catch where you went wrong. I’m also not claiming that STARS is the best residential college for you, although it is the best. If Hughes is a better fit, go for it, if you belong in EDGE, don’t hesitate. But be willing to join the community you think will be most likely to grow you and to make you a better version of yourself.

If we are being completely honest, I did not have friends the first semester of my freshman year, or at least not consistent friends. I was friends with a lot of upperclassmen who already had their own groups, circles, and lives, and so when I tried to join in a lot of times, I just felt left out. I struggled with anxiety and depression until kind of making friends with some people from Short and Denney on accident at a neighborhood work project day. Going to that one event on that one day got me one friend that turned into twelve by the end of the week, and have been there for me ever since. I’m a cheese ball, we all know that by now, but let college mean something to you instead of being just something that you tried one time. My friends from freshman year still mean the world to me. (Go check out Michael’s Hughes post, he’ll vouch for me!)
If you need to crack down academically, decide to do it and we can help you. Need friends? There are two hundred people to choose from that are stuck in the same building as you. Need plans this weekend? So do three other people in your hall. This is a community because we made it a community. I am an Advocate which basically means I’m a live-in tutor and an upperclassman that knows how to help all the freshmen survive their first year with few or no regrets. I and the other four advocates sacrificed hours and hours of our time at the beginning of the year to just be available in the lobby or the classroom or to go to dinner just to make the freshman here believe that this building is a community before it is anything else. We spent unpaid hours striking up conversations with freshmen and getting them comfortable enough to come to us or even just to hang out in the lobby. It is a community because we work really hard to make it that way for you.

I wouldn’t push this hard on something I didn’t believe in. (If nothing else, do what I did in the first place and register for STARS because you want suite-style bathrooms instead of dealing with community showers.) To each her own, right?


 One of the many perks of having friends down the hall and in your classes is late night trips to the park for a study break!

One of the many perks of having friends down the hall and in your classes is late night trips to the park for a study break!

Daniel – STARS (Part 5)

Dan2Daniel. Marketing major. Freshman. STARS Residential College.

Among the greatest shocks in my college experience came at the start of my second semester. My friends and I had finally moved back into the STARS after a long break and I was eager and ready to start my new classes and see the faces I had missed the last few weeks. It took several days before I realized that there were missing faces. Casual acquaintances, floor mates…some were gone. I was startled when the realization fully settled. In high school everyone comes back after a break. But in college, sometimes, people don’t come back. These are people I will probably never see again.

No one is guaranteed success in college. Every student needs to be prepared to put effort into their studies. I knew people who slept through all their classes or never made time for class work but I don’t see them anymore. They didn’t make it through their first year. Sometimes I think of these lost friends and sometimes I miss them but I never understand them. UCA gave each one the potential to do extremely well.

Study areas. Advising centers. An extensive library and database. Easy access to tutoring. Professors who are available to meet with students individually. Residential Colleges. UCA gives us so much!

Residential Colleges are an invaluable asset to a freshman. I was fortunate to be in the STARS. I needed the help I could get, the help my Residential College offered me. If I had not utilized every benefit, every tool, every advantage UCA gave me I might have ended up as one of those people who don’t come back. This is my final semester in a Residential College but because of the STARS I am prepared to live without the STARS. Because of the STARS I have a bright future with UCA.

Daniel 3


Chelsey – STARS (Part 5)



This school year at the University of Central Arkansas has been an experience that will always stay with me. Coming from an extremely small town that lies three hours south of Conway, I started out this year not knowing anyone. It was terrifying, but I had dreamed of coming to UCA since I was very young— so there was no stopping me.

UCA ended up being exactly how I had always imagined it would be and more. My roommate the first semester became my closest friend. And, even though she would end up moving home to Arizona the next semester, that bond and friendship meant the world to me. We would hang out in the lobby and meet new people (together, so it wasn’t awkward!) and even attend events that the dorm was holding together.

We loved it, the Residential College created this bond between us and everyone else in the building. I ended up attending “group talks,” where everyone talked about their religious beliefs, families, and much more! These connections I made at the beginnning of the semester encouraged me to do well and work harder so that I could stay at the place I loved.

I have loved my classes at UCA—especially my teachers. The work here has been challenging, but enjoyable. I’ve learned so much! And the Residential Colleges have given me the push and tools I need in order to succeed. I love UCA and I have loved the dorms I’ve lived in. If I could start over, I believe I would do it all the same. I’m extremely grateful for my experiences this year and I have loved every second of being at the University of Central Arkansas and living in their Residential Colleges.

Chandler – STARS (Part 4)

Over the course of my posts, I think I have definitely showed my bias in terms of building friendships and gaining life experiences… and I’m about to do it again.

After walking past the same people in the hallways, sharing the kitchen with the same regulars, and bumping into people in the lobby on a daily basis for about ten months, it’s hard not to pick up some social connections. As I’m typing this, the door to my room is open to the world of STARS and there are the random passersby that have camped out in my room for a hour or two, the people who chat for a bit before moving on, the pairs that sing show tunes at the top of their lungs, and those that pass silently. If you’re looking for a place to study, generally there are occupants in the classroom or in the study lounge that you can join. Need a person to eat with? Hang out in the lobby for five minutes and I can pretty much guarantee someone else is headed that way, too.

The connections you make aren’t even just cool for the purpose of having people to hang out with, this is my networking plug. You’re probably not really worried about networking at this point, but really… the people in STARS all have just as many connections in the world as you do. Your roommate is active in the Young Democrats, the guy down the hall is Student Government, the girl across the hallway works at a daycare down the road. There is an unlimited number of connections just doors down the hall from you. If you need a job, ask around, someone probably knows about an open position and can put in a word. Need to make a short film project for class? The guy you eat breakfast with is really good at working lights. There is an ocean of untapped potential that you have access to just by living here. I’m still really close to my friends from freshman year and probably will be for years down the road, and the only thing we had in common to start with was the building we lived in.

Chandler 3

Photo courtesy of Blake Elermann, also of STARS.

Brady – STARS (Part 4)

"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)

Ever since I started college I have always stated that college is all about networking; meeting people and building relationships with them in order to broaden your resources for future endeavors. It’s these connections that you make while in college that will help you have better chance at a more successful future because. When entering college it’s best to form your network early on so that way you can build stronger relationships rather than waiting until your senior year. From my personal experience, being a member of a Residential College has vastly improved my network and I am meeting many new people that are not only my friends but like minded, forward thinking individuals.

I believe that being a part of a Residential College will greatly increase your odds of making successful connections for future relationships. Every Residential College has a theme; they range from the arts, to leadership, to global awareness, and the sciences. The whole ideas behind these themes are to not only to make your college transition a smoother one but to put you in an environment with students that have similar interests as you. By joining these RCs you have a greater opportunity to collaborate with your fellow students and pursue your interests even further.

I think one of the biggest connections I’ve made while living in the STARS is with my good friend Chris. Christ is an aspiring film major but his true passion is in video games and video production. Chris, along with several of his friends, plan on opening a production studio in which they can create video game videos along with skit type videos to publish on YouTube and hopefully turn it into a business.

Like Chris, I too have a deep passion for video games and the video game industry but I am a business major. I would love to someday become famous, whether it be on the internet or as a professional, I do know however that the odds aren’t necessarily in my favor, that’s were Chris comes in. Next semester Chris and I are sharing an apartment together, this will be right around the time he hopes to start his production company. Since I will be living with Chris I’ll have direct access to his ventures and if he so chooses I could become a part of it. We have discussed this before, a system where maybe through endorsements or other means of communication he would help me grow my fan base in internet video game community.

Even if being a popular internet video game player or a professional doesn’t work out, I would still love to have a job in that growing industry and I think that by making this connection with Chris through the Residential College program will help me make that a reality. I think that being a part of a Residential College can really help you benefit in many way that are beyond academics. Starting your freshman year, the networks you form will hopefully last as you enter the job market and begin the rest of your life.

Carolynne – STARS (Part 4)

STARSHello my dear viewers!


One of the biggest things aossociated with residential colleges is the social connections. The friendships that have been made throughout the school year have been worthwhile. I have been blown away this year by how well people have come together and made long lasting friendships. This environment has really come together and made a big family.


James Foote, Freshman and Theatre Major says this:

“The social connections in this Residential hall is very well-rounded. The people are friendly, open-minded, and are very involved in the social events.”


Advocates and RA’s came together at the beginning of the school year with the same mindset and goal. We made sure our faces were seen often in the lobby so students will know us and will trust us. We set out on this long adventure and because of that I personally have made a lot of long lasting friendships as well as others in the dorm.

Chelsey – STARS (Part 4)



Life in a Residential College has been the most fun, interesting experience. When I lived in my previous dorm, State Hall, it was very different than the dorm I live in now- Short/Denney.

In State Hall, I had few social connections. I had a randomly chosen roommate, named Sidnie, and we very quickly became best friends. Everyone on my floor tended to keep to themselves- most doors were often kept closed and everyone was respectful to each other, but also did not socialize much. Girls were kept separated from the guys and could not be in the other’s side of the building without someone escorting them. It was almost a little silly: if a boy was leaving my dorm to go back to his, he could not even walk down the hallway, down the stairs, and to the door leading outside without me with him. Honestly, I did not like it. It gave a very childish and tense atmosphere. Needless to say, after my roommate moved back home and I felt a serious need for change, I decided to switch dorms.

I was now starting my life in Short/Denney. I had friends instantly. When I moved in, I kept my door open and random people would just walk in to say hello. Each night after I moved in- at this time I did not have a roommate- I would have large groups of people from my floor in my room just to hang out. Almost everyone on my floor casually kept their doors open as a sign of welcome and, soon, we all became close friends. Short/Denney is also much more relaxed, you have a roommate and suitemates of the same sex (of course), but your next door neighbors had the potential to be male or female. I liked this setting much better—I was happy to finally find the right dorm for me!

I’m positive that social connections are so important for your college experience. When in Residential Colleges, you find connections everywhere! I have loved the Residential College life, with easy access to everything on campus and so many in-dorm benefits. I must say, I am sad to be moving out of the Residential College this year, it is a wonderful experience that I am so happy I had and will be greatly missed.

Carolynne – STARS (Part 3)

STARSHello my fellow readers,

To start off this blog, I would like to give a quote…

“Diversity is a very broad term, and its truth meaning is hard to define. However, we do experience diversity everyday which we may not be aware of such as gender, age, race, culture, and much more. Every individual has their own background and value. All these years, I have learned one valuable thing that would benefit me for a life time. I believe that in order for other individuals to accept our differences, we must first learn to accept theirs.” – Hien Phung

Honestly, Diversity is something that we face every day. Diversity is something that when we see the word we automatically think race and gender but that isnt the whole meaning of the word. Diversity is the multi-formity and variety. In the Residential Colleges we see diversity in so many different ways, from our backgrounds, to our everyday life choices, to our majors and even our race and gender.

Living in the Fine Arts dorm, people automatically assume that everyone is a fine arts major (particularly music and drama) all the way down to the lifestyles we live. There are so many stereotypes for the different dorms but when you look at the people that live in the residential colleges the stereotypes are not all that they are said to be.

In the STARS Residential College we have:

*music majors, theatre majors, art majors, English majors, psychology majors (I am one of those), and even Nursing majors

*whites, blacks, Hispanics, and Chinese students

*straight, gay, bisexual, ect.

Such Diversity may sound like it could be very segregated but honestly it isn’t. Here we look past all of the differences and it has made us one big family. Because in our differences, we find similarities among each other.

Chandler – STARS (Part 3)

I think the absolute best part about living at UCA and more specifically STARS has been the people. I basically say that in every post in a different way, but seriously. It’s great to have people who love what you love in classes and down the hall in the lobby.

A hangout we did at a local trailer park my freshman year.

A hangout we did at a local trailer park my freshman year.

But you know what’s better? Finding people you have absolutely nothing in common with. Or- at least not a whole lot in common… I’ve met a British girl who went to the same school as Emma Watson and took a year off before college to play semi-professional rugby. I’ve made friends with students from Korea, Vietnam, Japan, and China that have learned the majority of their English after we became friends.

There is diversity among students in everything from music taste, clothing style, type of humor, general speaking volume, and thickness of accent; to things like family income levels, general culture growing up, how sheltered they’ve been, life experiences in general, and so much more.

Even in class, professors will introduce you to new concepts and theories and ways of looking at life. You don’t have to agree with them or change your views, but commit to listen and to take it in. There is an infinite amount of information in the world that you haven’t learned yet or even been exposed to. Give it a shot. I think the best thing you can do is to come to UCA or the STARS or residence colleges in general with the mentality that you don’t know much and go from there. Its amazing what you can learn from people that they didn’t even mean to teach you.

Me and a friend during Coming Out Week.

Me and a friend during Coming Out Week.

I have restarted this sentence three times trying to figure out how to convey through words just how much you will learn and see from people that you haven’t experienced before. Honestly, it’s really easy to stay comfortable and within your own world if you don’t really want to experience anything new, but if you’re willing to step out- you’ll find…everything. I’ve seen everything from the Pride Parades to Decapitalization circuses and step shows. Come to UCA ready and willing to experience new things and meet new people.


Me trying to learn an African folk dane...and failing.

Me trying to learn an African folk dane…and failing.



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.



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.

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

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.

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!

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.

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

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.