By Megan Jones/Contributing writer
Shalamar Sandifer knows how to be a leader. With prior experience last year as the Residence Hall Coordinator for Burnam Hall, being the Case Hall RHC this year is not an incredibly hard adjustment.Eastern, however, was not the only place that saw Shalamar’s fervor for leadership – her hometown, Greeneville, Tenn., and the campus of Berea College also laid witness to Shalamar’s skills in action.
“Growing up, my dad pounded in my head that there always needed to be a leader or leaders on the team,” Sandifer said. “As years passed, and as I got experience on ball teams, I started to emerge in the leadership role.
“Being a leader made me feel important, and I liked to be there when we had hard times,” she added.
During her time at Berea College, she managed to get a B.A. in child and family studies while juggling a resident assistant job for two years and a Hall Coordinator position for one.
“I cannot compare EKU to Berea College,” she said. “They are two totally different institutions that have different philosophies. Their combined experiences have contributed to my growth as a professional.”
Case Hall is also a part of the first-year ConneXtions program, along with Palmer Hall. “Three out of the four Wednesdays we have the series called P.O.W., Peer Outreach Wednesday,” Sandifer said.
“The Wednesday programs are designed to help the residents reach out to each other by coming to educational programs on Wednesdays, connecting with one another, and understanding the educational, but fun, aspect to living in the residence hall,” she said.
Sandifer is excited about the promise this particular group of freshmen holds.
“Case residents bring a lot of energy and life to the hall,” she said. “They make everyday a new adventure.”
“Case residents have so many talents and gifts that they bring to the table,” she added. “EKU students are very welcoming. That made my transition from little ole Berea a smooth one.”
Sandifer makes a major commitment to being involved in the students’ lives.
“My goal this year is to connect with the students through educational and community development programs,” she said. “Also, to build an environment that is conducive to learning. I want them to understand that academics come first, and that I will strive to challenge them to be all they can be.”
Sandifer also holds a unique rapport with the residents of Case Hall.
“My residents are my family. I refer to them as my nieces and nephews because I am too young to be their mother,” she said.
“Some of my residents actually call me ‘Momma Shalamar.’ It’s kind of funny how I got the name, because one of my residents said to me, ‘Everywhere I turn, you are always there. It’s like you’re my Momma; you always know what I’m doing,'” Shalamar said.
As an RHC, Sandifer believes she is well adjusted to the uniqueness of the hall and asserts that patience is a key ingredient to being a RHC. She suggested some other qualities a RHC might want to keep in mind are “to be student-oriented, diverse, open-minded, patient, committed, dependable, honest and trustworthy.”
She thinks that Eastern has a great RHC staff as well. Sandifer encourages that in whatever hall students live in, they should get to know their RHC.
“We are a funny and supportive group,” she added.
“One of the many things that I love about EKU is that students come first,” Sandifer said. “I strive everyday to put my students first and make sure that their environment is safe, secure, supportive and fun.”
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