The Journal of College & University Student Housing Vol. 47 No. 1 - 98

Sam Chu * Elsie Li Chen Ong * Albert Chau * Robert Chung

in social development when they lived in a harmonious environment (Flowers, 2004; Pike,
2002; Yang & Chau, 2011). They also manifested a stronger sense of community belonging, which is consistent with Consolvo's (2002)
finding that social support and encouragement
enabled students to get more involved in university life and develop a sense of belonging to the
university community.
Apart from increased social skill competence, healthy emotional bonding with hall
mates was also conducive to personal development. As suggested by the literature,
social connections promote opportunities for
personal growth and all around development
(Lavelle & O'Ryan, 2001). The current study
extended this idea, showing that residents
who had close relationships with hall mates
were more likely to develop self-reflection and
become conscious of their own strengths and
shortcomings. In addition, living under the
same roof with people of different ages and
cultural backgrounds provided a diversity and
openness that helped them expand their perspective and view things from different angles,
supporting earlier findings that students involved in a collective community tended to
be more open to different opinions and were
more tolerant of alternative viewpoints (Yang &
Chau, 2011). Residential students also indicated more confidence when placed in a new environment, as social involvement had required
them to develop self-confidence and adapt to
their new situation. However, compared with
the profound influence of peers, interactions
with wardens and hall tutors had a weaker relationship with residential student development.
This signifies a need to review the current
residential education system in Hong Kong in

98

Academically, students who have
close relationships with peers and
hall staff were found to be more
motivated to achieve academic
excellence and to have experienced
more intellectual stimulation.

order to enhance staff-student interaction and
maximize the benefits of the hall environment.   
Although Astin's (1999) student involvement theory indicates that students living in
residence halls learn and develop actively, he
was also aware that the interest in non-academic activities may occupy time and energy that
should be devoted to studies and other college
activities. This suggests a need to review the
current residential education program in Hong
Kong to create a better living environment for
students and address their psychological wellbeing and academic success.
It is noteworthy to reflect on some of the
success of building rapport among hall staff
and residential students in Western countries.
One successful example would be student
mentorship and pastoral care programs that
are well developed in many higher education institutions in England. Pastoral support
allows students to fully enjoy residential life
and improve their well-being and interpersonal skills. As a result, self-control and other
elements of personal development may be
enhanced through relationships with student
mentors. The University of Sheffield, for
example, offers a student mentorship program

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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