Res Life Educational Focus

A photo of the UNH gate The Department of Residential Life strives to support the central mission of both the Division of Student Life and the University of New Hampshire as a whole.


Both missions pledge support to collaborative learning inside and outside the classroom. Residential Life plays a central role in helping students make the most of their academic experiences while successfully navigating the often unmarked developmental roads that exist outside the classroom. We are dedicated to providing a living experience where students feel safe and have a chance to grow as an individual and as part of a vibrant living community. 
We strive to engage students about their growth and seek to assist them in effectively engaging with others in our community and the world at large.  We value the notion of helping students learn about difference, their own identities, and the concept of social justice.  We also aim to promote the importance of making healthy, well-informed decisions about lifestyle, physical and emotional health, study habits, relationships, and use of alcohol and/or drugs. 

In order to meet these goals, each Residence Hall Director works to create a curriculum built around our four educational focus areas. This curriculum is tailored to the specific community that the Residence Hall Director works with in order to ensure that the lessons are relevant and accessible to the students who live there. In building this curriculum, Residence Hall Directors have the ability to put their mark on their community, as well as the license to be creative and innovative in their approach, making this aspect of the position particularly rewarding for many individuals.


Residential Life strives for all residential students to feel safe and valued in their community. Further, we want students to engage in open dialogue with others as a means of developing a greater understanding among community members. Students will examine and understand their own privileges, biases, and how action/inaction plays out in their community. In the residence halls, we offer programs to explore the many aspects of diversity,and we also weave our commitment to social justice into conversations, bulletin boards, passive programs, trips to campus programs, and by also challenging bias and hate incidents.  Being engaged in our diverse community is uplifting, challenging, and an important part of being a student at UNH.

Our Social Justice Education Learning Outcomes:

RA Billboard


1) Students will increase awareness about social identity and bias.

2) Students will expand their comfort zone by engaging with others from different backgrounds.

3) Students will visibly show support to someone in an underrepresented group.

4) Students will confront another student about their choice of biased or hurtful language and behavior towards others.


Examples of Social Justice Education in Our Residence Halls:

  • Conversations with residents about identity development

  • Bias Gallery
  • Culture Nights
  • “Ally” campaign
  • Invisible Knapsack (privilege article)
  • Documentary series
  • Safe Zones Programs
  • The Hungry Planet
  • Newsletter articles by hall directors, RAs or students

Our staff play an active role in encouraging students to make decisions that are relevant to succeeding emotionally and academically while in college. We want students to take an active, conscious, self-directed approach to making positive choices that contribute overall to healthy living while in college. Our staff specifically focuses on helping students understand the negative impact alcohol and drugs can have on their college career while also encouraging students to work in achieving balance in their physical and emotional health.


Sample Healthy Living Programs and Initiatives in our Halls

  • Residence Hall students are involved on hall intramural teams. These teams compete with other teams from around campus.
  • Cup sizes programs to help students understand how much an actual serving of alcohol is.
  • Massage and stress relief
  • Meditation
  • Reality Check – a myth-busting program that uses student perception and reality to show that "the party isn’t as big as you think"
  • Yoga
  • Sleeping well
  • Simulated exercised (like “Beer Goggles” to help students understand alcohol impairment)
  • Weekend non-alcoholic social programming
  • Safe Sex/Healthy choices
  • Spa Nights


Our goal is for all residential students to experience a sense of belonging and social connectedness by promoting active engagement and leadership in their communities. Involvement is strongly related to retention and social and intellectual development. Students will:

  • Learn the value and responsibility of being part of a community.
  • Engage in their residential community and/or the UNH community.
  • Choose to be a more active leader in formal and informal ways in the campus life.

A few of our favorite Involvement efforts


Hall Council

Every hall has a representative group of students that provides a forum for students to develop leadership skills and plan great activities for the community. Hall Directors advise these groups on a weekly basis.  Students are encouraged to be active members of their community through service, bystander responsibility, and reaching out of their comfort zones.  Want to get involved in Hall Council?  E-mail the hall director in the hall you plan to live in. 


Community Service Projects

Each hall will have at least 3 opportunities for hall-sponsored community service. Some halls have long-standing relationships with local agencies where they provide on-going service opportunities. It's a great way to establish links with the community and have students meet other students in their hall.



Our goal is for students to participate in their academic lives in reflective, intentional, and proactive ways aimed at maximizing academic achievement, learning and career development.Our staff encourages students to explore academics and career development resources and to seek out opportunities, both in and out of the classroom, that complement their academic and career goals. Students will:

Board Breaking
  • Learn how to maximize their academic achievement at UNH
  • Students will use academic-related resources or services
  • Students will engage in the career planning process



Sample Academic Programs/Initiatives in our Halls

Study Bucks/Incentives for studying

  • Create your Own Story Gallery
  • Support UNH campus-wide Dialogue topics.
  • Designating lounges as study space
  • Integrating Academic programs into Floor Wars
  • Bringing faculty into the halls to discuss contemporary issues
  • Faculty dinners in the halls
  • Passive education in newsletters, bulletin boards, and around the hall
  • Recognition opportunities for students who do well academically
  • Themed living communities that collaborate with academic departments/resources
  • Residential Learning Communities (RLCs) for first-year students in similar majors who live together
  • Training RA and RHDs so they understand the need to take an interest in students’ academics

Examples of how we implement Academic Identity in our Residence Halls

  • Each RHD is required to meet with students who are in academic difficulty in the beginning of each semester, to assist them in addressing and improving their academic performance.
  • Academic success and related topics are regularly highlighted in Hall Newsletters and Bulletin Boards. Students are frequently highlighted for their academic interests and success.
  • Our department frequently has programs involving faculty panels, informal discussions with faculty, presentations by the Study Abroad, Domestic Exchange and Internship offices on campus.
  • We measure this area on our Residential Life survey and develop action plans as needed. Sample questions asked are… Hall staff have emphasized the importance of making the most of my academics at UNH.