Improved Plex activity program boosts participation

Michelle Ma

One hundred Foster-Walker Complex T-shirts sat ready for residents to don for the Homecoming parade. But organizers discovered that was not enough, and more shirts have been ordered to fill the demand.

An unprecedented 133 Plex residents marched along Sheridan Road last Friday to represent their residence hall, and even stopped in front of the judging stage to chant “Plex, Plex” repeatedly. Seeing the residents go wild was the best part of the event for Scott Harris, area coordinator of the Plex.

“They were yelling and jumping,” Harris said. “It was almost like they were being freed from something.”

Record participation in the parade and after-party with pizza and raffle prizes in Plex’s basement marks the third highly-attended all-Plex event in the last 10 days, Harris said. A sex and chocolate seminar and an Election Night pizza party both recruited about 85 Plex residents.

“Now that it’s begun, the momentum is here,” Harris said. “You can almost feel the place come alive.”

Combined attendance at these recent events sets a new record for participation in Plex’s residence hall events in a dorm often known for its solitary single rooms, he said.

Harris’ efforts as the new Plex area coordinator to motivate resident assistants has made a difference this year, said returning Plex RA Mike Kopera, a Communication senior.

“Last year (the RAs) started the ball rolling, but we didn’t have the focus that Scott has brought to make Plex such a social residence hall,” Kopera said. “More energy is put toward having residents come out for events.”

The difference this year is based on RA and resident interaction, Harris said. At the beginning of the school year, each RA was asked to get to know each student and establish a connection with them, he said.

Plex’s RA staff is now organized into four sub-staff groups. Each sub-staff — composed of one returning Plex RA and three new RAs — is in charge of planning one all-Plex event each quarter, Harris said.

There is no Plex formal this year so more social dues can go for all-Plex events, Kopera added.

The atmosphere on different floors varies, Harris said. The freshman floor is enthusiastic about Plex-sponsored events, said RA Cheick Sanankoua, a McCormick junior.

“Every time we have an event and promote it, they are excited,” Sanankoua said.

Freshmen on his floor have organized hall intramural teams and often eat dinner together in the dining halls, Sanankoua added.

On the upperclassmen floors, RAs are making an effort to promote community in small ways, including hanging “good-looking” door decorations, Kopera said.

“I do my best to get (residents) to open their doors and meet people,” said RA Diana Lebiecki, a Weinberg senior.

The next all-Plex event will be a joint dance party with 1835 Hinman next Friday. A week-long massage event to will take place during Reading Week, Lebiecki said.

Reach Michelle Ma at [email protected]