The Journal of College and University Student Housing - Volume 45, No. 2 - 39

Cultivation of Support Networks by Students of Color

If I feel like we've made a connection, I
don't want to just come here, feel this power
and then just leave and never reconnect . . .
I feel like you guys have said some really
nice things and I would not mind a separate
[continued] conversation.
In several instances throughout the interviews participants talked about the value of
connecting with other Students of Color via the
focus groups for this study. Students' desire to
continue these conversations was an example
of self-efficacy in action.

Custodial Staff
Research on the connection between custodial
staff and students is very limited (Magolda,
2016), but students in this study stressed the
importance of their relationship with custodians. Notably, most of the custodians at this
institution were White. Connections between
Students of Color and custodians were based
on interactions, knowing students, and care
rather than on shared identity since no participants mentioned connecting with their custodians based on race.
Having adults in the community who
discussed their lives outside of work while
showing care for students mattered to participants. Additionally, custodians were people
that Students of Color valued because of
the work custodians did to keep communities clean and safe. Students of Color actively
sought to build relationships with custodians
as key people in their networks of support.

IMPLICATIONS FOR
PRACTICE AND RESEARCH
Residential communities are essential to
creating an equitable space where students'

academics and personal lives intersect. These
spaces provide opportunities for cultivating
senses of belonging. Based on the results of
this study, there are implications for staff training and dialogue, but also implications beyond
residence life for practice and research.

Implications for Practice in
Residence Life
It is imperative that CAs, custodians, and other
housing staff be trained about the essential
support roles they play for Students of Color
at PWIs. This study makes the data more than
anecdotal. Providing these and other examples
of how crucial staff are to the success of Students of Color can serve to inspire more creative and persistent efforts to engage not only
with Students of Color but also with all residential students.

Training programs. Bowman and Bowman
(1995) found that about 40% of training programs for residence life staff included topics
related to diversity. By 2012 that number had
risen to 80% (Koch, 2012). This study adds
to that literature by providing specific context
about why CAs' knowledge as it relates to race
and privilege is important. Given that CAs were
consistently identified as key individuals in this
study, it is important during staff training to
highlight the role CAs play in the experiences
of Students of Color. Hiring diverse community
advisors is important, but not all social justice
work can fall on Staff of Color. White staff must
also engage. Training CAs to have conversations around current events, race, power, and
privilege is essential to Students of Color (and
all students) in residential communities.
This study confirms Reed's (2015) findings that custodians "indirectly support college
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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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