Cilia, of Wilmington, is graduating with a degree in criminal justice and sociology, and has been an RA in Lane and Russell residence halls. She said she was just a bit envious of her graduating friends who had participated in study abroad programs and qualified to wear a sash at graduation representing the country they had visited.
“Participating in programs for residence life played a significant role in my time at UD, and I had a thought that it would be nice to have some way to commemorate that,” she said. “I mentioned the idea of sashes to Carol Bedgar, a staff assistant in residence life, at a meeting of the Curriculum Review Committee, and she was very supportive. We were sitting across the table from Barbara Kreppel, UD associate vice president, and she liked the idea too.
“In fact, Ms. Kreppel pulled out her cell phone and made several calls and in a matter of about 10 minutes I knew exactly who to contact and what to do to make this happen. It was only about two weeks until Commencement and it all got taken care of. It was amazing!
“I got to announce the idea at our end of the year banquet and a huge cheer erupted from everyone attending. I was so pleased to be able to do something that made so many people happy. It is such a nice way to commemorate and be recognized for residence life work which in itself is so very rewarding.”
"I wholeheartedly supported Laura's request on behalf of the RAs but I certainly don't want to take credit for something that was not my idea. I just happened to be in the room and heard Laura's comments," Kreppel said. "The University Bookstore researched the availability and cost, and Sharon Dorr [director of alumni and University relations] carried the request forward to be approved for inclusion in this year's commencement ceremonies.
"RAs contribute many hours to enrich the residential experience of our students," Kreppel added. "The RAs are the primary facilitators of our living learning communities, and it is fitting that they be so recognized during Commencement. As a former RA, I can identify with their spirit of commitment."
Kathleen Kerr, director of residence life, agreed. “I think it's a great idea. So many of our staff feel that their time as a resident assistant or hall director was a significant part of their UD college experience. It's wonderful that they will be able to symbolically represent that at graduation.”
This fall Kerr and Cilia will meet to design an embroidered logo to add to the sashes in the future. Cilia will be back on campus to pursue a graduate degree in counseling in higher education with a concentration in student affairs practice and will be serving as a hall director, of course.
Article by Beth Thomas
Photo by Kathy Atkinson