Res Life Educational Focus

The Department of Residential Life strives to support the central mission of both the Division of Student and Academic

A photo of the UNH gate

Services 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.


Being engaged in diversity and social justice at UNH is everyone’s responsibility. 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 contribute to an inclusive community in their hall

2) Students will be aware of one way they have benefited from a privileged social identity


"As a hall director at UNH, I enjoy coming up with fresh ideas to get students thinking about their identities and the social justice issues they support and/or challenge. This could be through a film about a current issue, a Safe Zones program, going to an event on campus, or even just a conversation in the lounge about a newsletter article or a recent event on campus. I then push past their comfort levels and help them view at least one experience through another person's eyes." Beth Wallace, 3rd year Hall Director

Examples of Social Justice Education in Our Residence Halls:

  • Conversations with residents about identity development
  • Bias Gallery
  • Culture Nights
  • “Ally” campaign
  • Invisible Knapsac (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 seek out and maintain healthy living habits. Understanding these lifestyle issues is instrumental in a student’s overall success 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 acheiving balance in their physical and emotional health.


Sample Healthy Living Programs and Initiatives in our Halls

  • Residence Hall students are actively involved on hall intramural teams. These teams compete with other teams from around campus.
  • 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 to encourage students to positively engage in their communities and to develop leadership skills by:

  • Abiding by Community Standards
  • Being Involved in the hall and other campus organizations
  • Understanding and Embracing Civic Responsibility

A few of our favorite Community engagement efforts

Energy Challenge

In the 2006-2007, the first two Energy Challenges were held.  Each residence hall and apartment complex is challenged to save the most energy and water use.  UNH is a leader among colleges for sustainability on campus, with six halls on campus earning the Energy


Star designation.  Each hall has an Energy Captain or Energy Team.

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 has an established partnership with a local agency where they provide ongoing service. It's a great way to establish links with the community and have students meet other students in their hall.



Our goal is to have our staff play an active role encouraging students to engage in their education, both in and out of the classroom and to help students make the most of their academics at UNH.

  • Board Breaking

     Establishing consistent and productive study skills

  • Engaging with professors and advisors
  • Making the most of their academic experiences

Sample Academic Programs/Initiatives in our Halls

  • Study Bucks/Incentives for studying
  • Create your Own Story Gallery
  • Support UNH campus wide Dialogue topic.
  • 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 and bulletin boards
  • 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 who live together and take one of their four courses together in a small seminar format.
  • Training RA and RHDs so they understand the need to take an interest in students’ academics

Examples of how we implement the Academic Engagement 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.