This fall, St. Thomas Resident Assistant Louis Missurelli created a unique way to help second floor residents of Brady Hall get acclimated with college life by challenging each person to write down at least one thing he wanted to accomplish before his freshman year ended.
Freshman Joe Seifert jokingly wrote down that he wanted to throw out the first pitch at a Twins game.
“I didn’t think it would ever happen, but he made a couple of phone calls and got it done,” Seifert said.
Seifert threw out the first pitch before the Minnesota Twins game against the Los Angeles Dodgers on May 1 and said it is Missurelli’s willingness to follow through on things that sets him apart.
“He said from the beginning that you can make it big, you can make it small, you can do whatever you want, and I’ll try my best to do it,” Seifert said.
Missurelli experienced some initial resistance by a few residents when the program started, but ultimately all 40 people on the floor decided to participate.
“There was definitely people who just thought it wasn’t for them, and there was some indecision, but after I bugged them enough, I got every person to write down at least one thing,” Misurelli said.
Missurelli said the inspiration for the program was a result of a now-canceled MTV series, “The Buried Life.” On the show, four men made a list of 100 things they wanted to do before they died.
“They just went around doing the craziest things they could think of, like playing basketball with President Obama,“ Missurelli said. “So when I was choosing programs for this year, I thought my residents could come up with the programs themselves because they’re the ones who are going to attend them.”
Director of Residence Life Aaron Macke said giving students the option to choose their own activities for the year is a creative way to get them involved and excited about on-campus activities.
“Every year, the million-dollar question is how to get young people excited about doing something in an environment like a university residence hall, so I love the creativity of this,” Macke said. “To my knowledge, it’s something that hasn’t been done before.”
Freshman Trevor Norton said he thinks that the program is a great way to foster communication between people on the floor.
“I think it was a fantastic idea, and it was a really natural way to get guys to talk to each other and have fun together,” Norton said.
Norton said he thought his entry on the list was a little more light-hearted.
“I wanted to do a prank, and when Louis mentioned that he had a cousin named John Mayer, we decided that it would be funny to post flyers all around campus saying that John Mayer the musician was coming,” Norton said. “But even though it never happened, it was still fun to just think about it and have an RA get involved like that.”
Missurelli said Seifert’s wish was one of the most ambitious things written down but certainly not at the top of the list.
“I think the guy that wanted to go skydiving was the most ambitious, but then there was also people who wanted to Skype with Brett Favre or skate with the Minnesota Wild,” Missurelli said. “But in the end, I would say that going ghost hunting and spending the night in Loras Hall was the oddest one.”
If residents chose to write something inappropriate on the list, Macke said that Missurelli would use his judgment.
“If someone did write something on the door that was a safety issue, a health issue, something that doesn’t reflect well on the university or just a bad idea, an RA would just choose not to engage that thing or come up with something different,” Macke said.
Missurelli was aware of potential problems, but he said that the No. 1 rule was that the activities had to be legal and compliant with university policy.
Second-floor residents are also given the opportunity to give back.
“For every one thing they wanted to do, we also tried to do one service project or donation to charity,” Missurelli said. “So for every first pitch at the Twins game, we’d do spring cleanup or donations for Prostate cancer.”
Macke echoed his admiration for Missurelli’s program and said his personality fits it well.
“At the end of the day, you have to have a staff member who has their heart in it and the personality for it,” Macke said. “Louis has proven that he had his heart in it, and he was willing to put the time in and make all these dreams a reality.”
Tom Pitzen can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.