The Journal of College & University Student Housing Vol. 47 No. 1 - 54

Jordan P. Fullam * Andrew J. Hughes

growth as a result of social interactions and
sustained interactions with FIRs. For example,
four participants reported that interacting with
FIRs was helpful for relieving stress or depression. One participant who attended both
music- and crafts-related FIR programs, for
example, suggested, " Just watching people
make lanyards compared to actually making
one I felt more de-stressed, " and " going to
the [jam] sessions helps me to forget about
all the issues that I have going on even if it is
just for like a few hours. " Another participant
reported that he was " more lively " during the
time period when he was participating in FIR
programs. When he stopped participating, he
started " getting a little more depressed and
it was starting to hit me more. " Acknowledging this change in his well-being, the student
planned to resume participating in FIR programs during the next school year.

" Bridging the Gap " : Learning Beyond
the Classroom
In addition to these social-emotional benefits,
participants indicated that the most significant
academic benefits they received from the FIR
experience resulted from interactions that had
both social and academic dimensions, were sustained over a period of time, and allowed FIRs
and students to build relationships. The type of
interactions that participants suggested were the
most impactful were deeper life interactions.
Participants, for example, described interactions with FIRs that were both social and
academic in nature during which students
learned a " more educated perspective on
things " or a " more mature " way to express
opinions and engage in discussion. One participant shared that before meeting the FIRs,

54

. . . participants indicated that
the most significant academic
benefits they received from the
FIR experience resulted from
interactions that had both social
and academic dimensions, were
sustained over a period of time, and
allowed FIRs and students to build
relationships.

she understood what it meant for a person to
identify as gender non-binary-an identity that
is outside the gender binary and rejects cisnormativity. By discussing her opinion with an
FIR, however, the student was able to deepen
her understanding of the concept and better
articulate her own position:
The way [the FIR] said it was so much better
. . . argued and . . . we said similar things
but the way you said it even in phrasing
things. Yeah, I think it is even small stuff like
mannerisms and how to argue, how to have
like a respectful debate.
Another participant reported that conversing
about music with an FIR helped him engage in
intellectual conversations about other topics:
We talked about music and he made me think
about music in a different way. And then I
would say that helped me bridge the gap. And
I can think about everything as a subject on
a larger scale. So I can talk for hours about
computers. I could talk for hours about a book.

THE JOURNAL OF COLLEGE AND UNIVERSITY STUDENT HOUSING



Journal of College & University Student Housing Vol. 47 No. 1

Table of Contents for the Digital Edition of Journal of College & University Student Housing Vol. 47 No. 1

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