The Journal of College and University Student Housing - Volume 45, No. 2 - 38

Michelle L. Boettcher * Kurt Earnest * Angel Eason * Leslie Lewis

and Ó Fathaigh's (2005) finding that social
capital is "a set of lasting social relations, networks and contacts" (p. 68). This study highlighted the relationships of Students of Color
within residential communities at a PWI.
Existing literature has examined the sense of
belonging related to the persistence of Students of Color in higher education (Harwood
et al., 2012; Strayhorn, 2012). This study built
on that work and highlighted how Students
of Color exercised self-efficacy in cultivating
social capital through relationships. Participants at this PWI focused on the community
advisor, friends, roommates, and custodians.

. . . White students, particularly at

Community Advisors

mates to address issues of discomfort and to
avoid feeling ostracized. In both cases, when
participants exercised self-efficacy, they cultivate social capital on the individual (connection) and community (belonging and safety)
levels.

Participants saw CAs as individuals responsible for developing community and as key individuals with whom they needed to connect
to build networks of support. This aligned
with Bourdieu's (1980, 1985) focus on group
involvement as positive (capital) for individuals. Previous scholarship also identified CAs
as central to student experiences in residential
communities (Spanierman et al., 2013).

Friends and Roommates
Students of Color identified friends as people
who helped them get through difficult situations. This aligned with Coleman's (1988)
idea that as social capital, social ties protect
members of social groups from personal and
individual threats. This finding adds to existing scholarship about microaggressions from
roommates and others in residence hall settings (Harwood et al., 2012).
In this study, participants said they engaged
with roommates and increased their sense
of belonging or served as educators to room-

38

PWIs, can identify negative issues
related to racial climate, though
they often see higher education
institutions as offering more support
than is actually available and see
campus climate issues as less
significant than they actually are.

Even in situations where tensions emerged
around roommate relationships, participants
talked about identifying strategies or finding
other areas of support to work through issues.
Having the ability to engage with friends
rather than just roommates was an exercise of
autonomy. Friends in residence life communities were consistently described as helpful to
participants at this PWI.

Other Students of Color
In addition to talking about support networks
within their living communities, participants
talked about the role of dialogue with other
Students of Color. For example, they discussed
staying connected and continuing to build relationships that started in the focus groups. As
one participant said,

THE JOURNAL OF COLLEGE AND UNIVERSITY STUDENT HOUSING



The Journal of College and University Student Housing - Volume 45, No. 2

Table of Contents for the Digital Edition of The Journal of College and University Student Housing - Volume 45, No. 2

Contents
The Journal of College and University Student Housing - Volume 45, No. 2 - Intro
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