The start of a legacy
Blackstone resident advisors begin new traditions of leadership in the dorm’s first year. | Photo courtesy of Meleca Consultado
After careful planning and many hours of construction, the doors of Blackstone hall, named after Biola dean William Blackstone, opened this year to new residents.
As the dorm’s first group of RA’s, the Blackstone Hall resident advisors have an opportunity to leave a legacy among Biola students. The RA’s hope their leadership will impact the dorm’s residents.
“I want it to be like a transformation — I want them to enter in one way but then leave out a different way, and I just want them to feel a closer relationship with Christ but also with themselves and other people,” said Tebraie Johns, junior human biology major and second floor RA.
Because the RA’s all come from different communities, they create a diverse group with many different perspectives.
“I really think they wanted to integrate the community to be a diverse thing for everyone to bring in their own best parts from all the other dorms,” said Grace Delmar, senior film major and fourth floor RA.
STARTING A LEGACY
The majority of the RA’s originally applied for Blackstone and said they loved the opportunity to be a leader in a new building. Senior english major Olivia O’Brien said many students she knew were first-time RA’s in new dorms and eventually took on roles such as pastors. These students stirred her personal desire to be an RA for Blackstone.
“Coming to Biola and having the opportunity to be a starting RA somewhere and knowing what sort of legacy that creates was daunting but also something I felt like I wanted to do and be a part of, even though it’s definitely a challenge,” O’Brien said.
Emerson residents were given priority during the housing lottery for Blackstone, and junior biblical studies major and first floor RA Daniel Hollenbeck saw an opportunity to stay with his friends and establish a new community.
“I knew that a lot of my friends would be moving here, so I knew it would be a very unique opportunity to start a floor and be on the very first floor — not only just to be just a part of that community, but at the same time, being the one that is kind of directing that,” Hollenbeck said.
O’Brien said that a united vision for growth and care within Blackstone will benefit the community overall.
“We're rooting ourselves in this care for the community and care for individuals within the community and also growing with fun and laughter and joy,” O’Brien said.
In addition to this vision, the RA’s also have plans for their floors. Since Blackstone is new, they also have the opportunity to name their floors. Hollenbeck is the resident advisor for the dorm’s first floor and named his floor “The Forge” after Proverbs 27:17, which discusses how iron sharpens iron. Hollenbeck hopes God shapes the men on his floor in a similar way.
“We wanted it to be a place where regardless of what age they are, regardless of what class they are, it’s a place where they come and are modeled and shaped and formed into what God has for them for this year specifically, but also moving on they prepare to be husbands and fathers and family men,” Hollenbeck said.
Junior English major Claire Zasso named her floor “Euka”, short for “eukaris deo,” which means “give thanks for God’s grace with joy.” Zasso said she hopes the women on her floor will learn to love each other better as sisters in Christ and realize the importance of relationships.
“I’m really hoping to encourage thankfulness on our floor — I think thankfulness is really the foundation of learning how to trust God and learning how to live in joy in Christ and in order to learn to love each other better,” Zasso said.
The group also hopes to impact their residents through other ways such as fun events. Although they do not know what the year has in store, they look forward to new traditions that will arise.