y see the difference,” said Barr.
Barr is a senior clinical sociology major with a concentration in community development. She plans to do graduate work and would eventually like to work in a college student development office.
Growing up in Fenton, Mich., Barr knew a lot about SAU. She decided she would attend SAU after the Admissions Office sent her a handwritten birthday card.
“I love that they are so personal. It is one of the reasons I want to work in student development once I graduate,” said Barr.
After being passed up for a Peer Advisor position, Barr was devastated but then given the opportunity to be an SLA. She found this step into the unknown to be very rewarding.
“God has this habit of letting me know when I’m too comfortable,” said Barr.
At the end of her first year in the position, former SLA coordinator Sarah (Alumbaugh) Classen asked Barr to succeed her as the coordinator.
SLAs are called to be servant leaders, encourage their floors to lead a life in devotion to Christ and inspire Christ-like behavior. This year, SLAs are required to have three on duty hours each week when they spend time in their room (sans roommate) and make themselves available to residents. On duty times are posted on each SLA’s door.
“Consistency is what we are striving for,” said Barr.
A mandatory Bible study was also reinstated for this year. Each SLA must actively engage their floor in an activity each week.
“The only way to really love God and love others must be in an intimate way, not a fringe way. You are able to be a lot more intimate in a Bible study composed of the people you live with,” said Julius Buzzard, male K-House SLA.
Another new addition is the Co-SLA (pronounced “coleslaw”) program, which connects five or six SLAs from different areas on campus for cooperation and fellowship. Meetings can range from a 15-minute prayer session to a two-hour discussion on what God is doing in their lives.
Barr wanted to offer the SLAs some freedom, and she is excited to see what growth will come out of it. The Co-SLA program is in addition to a monthly meeting with the entire group of SLA’s as well as a meeting with Barr each semester.
“I hope these changes inspire the SLAs to rise up as leaders and to truly feel the calling of God to lead this campus. Through them I know the Lord wants to do big things,” said Barr.
In short, Barr’s goals for the SLA program include actively participating in the campus and stirring spiritual growth. She said this program is a vital asset to SAU. Barr’s vision is that Resident Assistants (RAs) and SLAs can work together to create a healthy spiritual community on the floor.
“They volunteer so much of their time to serve their residents. My hope is that their passion and excitement will get more students excited about God,” Barr said.
A previous SLA mentioned to Barr how she felt that the SLA provided a safety net in addition to the RA that could catch any students who might be falling through the cracks.
“The SLA program has changed my life. I am learning more and more every day about what it means to use my gifts and passions to live out my purpose here on earth, to show people love and help bring them to Jesus,” said Barr.
According to Barr, in order to be an SLA, those interested must be a current full-time traditional student with a GPA of at least 2.5, respect for the University concept and a heart full of sacrificial love for others.