Student life in this tight-knit community offers one of the many opportunities for learning at CSG. Tightly integrated with the Leadership Adventure curriculum, “Res Life” offers students a time to practice leadership, explore tools for productive communication, and learn about themselves as they work and live alongside one another. We work to establish and uphold community-living norms, such as respect, positivity, trust, and hard work. Students learn to manage their schoolwork and free time, navigate group dynamics, and thrive in an environment characterized by openness, support, play, and compassion.
Students live on the top floor of an 1850’s era farmhouse that has been renovated into a cozy, open-style bunkroom, with a full kitchen, offices, and classroom space on the first floor. Meals are served family-style in the farm kitchen and will feature locally-grown food when available. CSG makes a concerted effort to accommodate individual dietary restrictions and will regularly offer vegetarian and dairy-free options.
The Head Resident and two Resident Assistants make up the Residential Life team, who live full-time in separate accommodations in the farmhouse. The Res Life team plans and facilitates all non-academic activities with the girls, including Saturday night and Sunday activities. They also make it their business to stay on top of the well being of every girl over the course of her semester experience, whether that means physical, emotional, or mental health. In addition to their faculty advisors, students are encouraged to seek help or advice from the Res Life team in regards to any and all problems or successes over the course of their CSG semester.
Three times a week for an hour, the students have Exercise period, led by members of the Res Life team. These sessions strive to teach the girls about balance and healthy living, and what that might mean in their lives at CSG, and back at home. We ensure that Exercise period includes fun, variety, and camaraderie, providing the girls with an outlet to let off steam amidst their busy academic schedule. Resident Assistants collaborate with individual students to set personal goals for exercise over the course of their semester. A sampling of activities includes: Frisbee, yoga, 80’s theme aerobics, soccer, core workouts, track stations, shoulder-strengthening circuits, running, and Capture the Flag.
Focus on Community
We believe that some of the most significant learning that goes on in the little yellow farmhouse is the learning of how to live and work together, to resolve conflict through effective and honest communication, and in particular, to take responsibility for our actions, realizing that they affect the people and the place we live in.
In the beginning of the semester, students work together with the support of the Res Life team to write their Community Agreement, a document containing the group’s commitment to shared values and standards for behavior and attitude. Students present the Community Agreement to the entire CSG community of faculty, staff and students, providing a foundation for all school activities and interaction. We believe that setting these standards is crucial on the path towards establishing a community characterized by safety, trust, hard work, and learning.
As the semester progresses, the Res Life team continually encourages and challenges students to help each other adhere to these rules and expectations, and push each other to succeed in this community. Students will become an interdependent group of individuals – the whole can’t fully function without full contribution of each part of the group. Students come to know well the meaning and value of “community”, and the understanding that their individual behavior affects the group as a whole.
Understanding Others, Understanding Ourselves
We feel that the Residential Life program should provide a safe, supportive environment where students feel comfortable practicing open and honest communication with one another. Members of the Res Life team work with the girls to establish tools for both giving and receiving feedback. This practice helps students hold each other accountable for their words and actions, and establishes an environment characterized by growth and learning.
Each evening before bedtime, the student group circles up with members of the Res Life team and talks about the day. We emphasize the importance of the individual by giving each girl the opportunity to have the floor and share something about herself or her feelings. Each student brings her own unique background and perspective to this program, and we are all enriched by hearing one another’s stories.