Ellenwood Shares Impact of REAs

Blake Ellenwood

Hello! My name is Blake Ellenwood, the residence education assistant (REA) at Cary Quad. I am from Chesterton, Indiana and studying general management. This is my second year as an REA in Cary and my third year within University Residences.

Within my role as an REA, I have had the pleasure of working with many different people across the department. One example is serving on the Student Staff Training Committee.  With the Training Committee, I have been able to take part in multiple projects such as our annual case competition, neighborhood keynote speaker planning and my favorite, coordinating training for my peer REAs. I have been able to restructure our training curriculum to further develop and teach the necessary skills for REAs to serve as peer supervisors. A unique part of my position is that I get to inspire RAs to create meaningful communities and to guide students to be the best they can be. The REA role is a great way to gain professional development experience. 

I work in Cary Quad, which has one of the largest staffs on campus with 24 RAs and more than 1,000 residents. Cary is known for its exciting events and strong resident connections. Events such as our movie nights, trivia, snow cones and midnight pancakes are staples that have been going on in Cary for many years. An event we brought back this year was Big Pink Volleyball, a tournament to raise awareness for local breast cancer research.


Purdue President Mung Chiang addressed RAs and RECs at a training session prior to spring semester.

Purdue President Mung Chiang addressed RAs and RECs at a training session prior to spring semester.

In January, Purdue President Mung Chiang spoke at our winter training welcome. President Chiang had words of support for the RAs and explained the importance of the role we bring to students at Purdue. He expressed his gratitude for the opportunity to speak to us before all the students returned to campus.  A main point of his that connected with me was the significance of our role. We [RAs and REAs] see residents on a daily basis and see the highest of highs and the lowest of lows, and we support and help them to be successful. The message that he gave us inspires me to become the best that I can be because we are creating an impact on students’ success. As he highlighted, we are often the resource that residents go to when they need guidance on what to do and where to go.

I am on track to graduate this May and it does not feel real. The impact that I am able to make on campus through University Residences and Cary Quad is not finished. I look forward to continuing my development and the knowledge that I can give to those for the future.

Written by: Blake Ellenwood

Writer: Matt Vader | Editors: Tammy Loew, Renee Kashawlic, Danielle Fawbush

Editorial Board: Barb Frazee, Tammy Loew, Renee Kashawlic | Inquiries Contact: studentlifemarketing@purdue.edu

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