Closing Time… Helping Residents Say Goodbye To Your Community

As the end of the term approaches, it brings a number of rites of passage and end-of-the-year celebrations–from banquets to award ceremonies to graduations. Residents are also preparing for finals, saying goodbye to friends, planning for summer work and internships, and, for some, leaving school for the last time. As a RA or student staff member leading a community, you’re in an excellent position to help your residents take stock of their year, set new goals, and prepare for the summer or future that lies ahead. As you reach to the end of the year, begin thinking about how you can bring closure to your community.

What Do You Want To Accomplish?

When thinking about end of the year activities for your community, there are a number of goals that you might want to achieve. Some of these outcomes may be provided by your department, and some may be outcomes you choose as the person who knows their community the best. Some outcomes for a closure experience might include:

Residents will be able to…

  1. Explain what being part of community means to them and how it impacted their learning and growth.
  2. Evaluate the successes and challenges they encountered over the past academic year.
  3. Set priorities for the upcoming academic year or for their post-graduation plans.

Residents will…

  1. Celebrate the successes and achievements of others in the community.
  2. Develop durable lasting friendships and bonds.
  3. Leave with a tangible artifact that serves as a memory of their community.
Here’s a 1990s throwback song for you!

Ideas for Closing Activities

If you’re thinking ahead to closing and what you want to plan for your community, the following are a few ideas to get you started. These could be accomplished in conjunction with a final floor meeting, or on their own as a stand-alone program or activity.

  • Choose icebreakers for your final floor meeting that reach at some of the above outcomes:
    • Ask residents to share a favorite (appropriate) memory from the community or something they appreciated about the community from the past academic year.
    • Ask residents to recognize one other community member for a success they had this year or to thank them for something they did for the community.
    • Ask residents to share their summer plans and what their goals are for the future.
    • Ask residents to share one challenge and one success they had this year.
  • Create goodbye superlatives with certificates that can be distributed at a final community meeting.
  • Ask each resident to contribute photos and memories that can be copied and distributed as a “yearbook.”
  • Create a final farewell video or slideshow.
  • Have the residents write letters to their future selves. Also, have them address an envelope so you can save these letters and send them to the residents in the Fall (or at some future point).
  • Have residents write their name on the top of a piece of paper. Ask them to write as many answers as they can to the following prompt: “I am becoming a person who…” Have them post their answers on the wall so all community members can view them and reflect.
  • Have residents bring a meaningful quote to their final community meetings and have them share the quote and why they chose it. Compile the quotes into small books to be shared with all members of the community.


Building and guiding a successful community isn’t just about setting it up for success well, but also in how you help bring closure to the experience. Take time to reflect on the goals and outcomes you have for your community and design intentional experiences that will help you reach them. Don’t forget to make it celebratory and fun, too! The end of the year and the start of summer is an exciting time.

Key Questions:

  • How can a final floor meeting or activity help residents…
    • Reflect on their year and set goals for the future?
    • Say goodbye?
    • Encourage lasting connections?
    • Allow community members to celebrate?
    • Leave with an artifact or memory of the community?
  • How might you involve student leaders (through hall council or other means) or fellow residents in planning and executing the closure process?
  • What activity “fits” with your community and how its developed over the past year?

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