Moving into college is an exciting moment, but it can also be daunting, stressful and difficult for many students. For many of our residents, they are moving away from home for the first time, often interstate or overseas, far away from family, friends, and the places they are used to. Because we are aware of this, at RMC we place a very high priority on providing excellent pastoral care to our residents, ensuring that we do all we can to promote their wellbeing – physically, emotionally, relationally, psychologically and academically.
As a Christian college, we believe in the importance of caring for the residents who have been entrusted to us. We consider that each one, being created in the image of God, has inherent value and a role to play in the world. In caring for them while they are with us, we hope to send them out into the world as people who have experienced the love of a Christian community, and who will be able to care for others throughout their lives.
Two key ways in which we care for our residents are through our block structures, and through our residential staff.
When we receive applications from new residents, our accommodation manager works hard to place them into blocks with other residents with whom we believe they will connect. Each of our blocks has common areas and common kitchens where residents can meet and relax together. Our old blocks have gender-specific floors, which often allow for closer relationships to develop quickly.
Each block has two Residential Tutors, usually one male, one female. RTs are senior students who have demonstrated a love for people and a desire to serve them, and who are appointed to be the first point of contact for all residents, both new and returning. RTs live in the blocks with residents, organise social and cultural events for their blocks, let residents into their rooms when they lock themselves out, and are available to help with any needs or problems – or just be a listening ear. Our RTs are all trained in First Aid and in Mental Health First Aid. When residents reflect back on their years at college, their first-year RT is often the person they remember as having had the most significant impact on their college experience.
We also have seven members of staff who live on site with their families. These include the Master and the Dean of the college, complete with pets and small children; the two college chaplains and their children; and three Senior Residential Tutors. All residential staff eat regularly in the dining room, attend college functions, and are available for any emergencies or crises that arise at any hour of the day or night. Our large number of residential staff is one of the key factors that makes RMC a stronger, safer community; the staff at the university Campus Wellbeing centre often comment on the difference that it makes to the wellbeing of our residents that there are staff around and available to help whenever needed.
If you’re coming to RMC for the first time, you can rest assured that the RTs and residential staff are here to care for you, whatever hour of the day or night. This is because we strive to ensure our residents remember the care they received at College when they reflect back on their time with us.