The Daily Gamecock

In spontaneous dance, RMs hope to increase ranks

Russell House flash mob publicizes position through creative choreography, message

With winter weather melting away, resident mentors braved the ice and broke into a flash mob on the Russell House Patio Wednesday afternoon to recruit students interested in becoming a RM for the 2011-12 academic year.

Defined as a spontaneous musical event performed by a large group of people, a flash mob is meant to gain attention to a specific cause.  More than a dozen RMs performed a choreographed dance to Taio Cruz’s “Dynamite” wearing T-shirts displaying their new motto, “To Be One, Ask One” to a crowd of students.

“Last year our motto was the RM ‘aRMy,’ which kind of had a negative vibe to it, and that’s not what we’re about,” said second-year early childhood education student and Columbia Hall RM Blythe Barrack. “We wanted to stress the mentor part, and the best way to become an RM is to look at yours and how they make the floor a community.”

Barrack, who choreographed the dance, said the housing department was looking for a new way to publicize the position and was taken with the idea of a flash mob, opposed to only posting banners and holding information sessions. The new promotion strategy was effective to second-year public relations student Bernice Woodard, said are now considering applying.

“The flash mob definitely interested me. It takes a huge stress off finding a place to live and is a great way to give back to USC,” Woodard said.

Another Columbia Hall RM, Patrick Ryan, said this was his first flash mob,  After spending a considerable amount of time training, Ryan was pleased with Wednesday’s attendance.

“We got a relatively good crowd and a lot of people asking questions, which is always good,” the second-year broadcast journalism student said.

According to the University Housing website, applications must be turned in by Jan. 14. Applicants must have a 2.75 cumulative and semester GPA,be in good standing with the University, have experience living in a residence hall and be able to sign up for the one-credit RM class. Benefits include a stipend of $4,135 for the academic year, including a private bedroom with a 50 percent housing discount and on-campus involvement.

“Being an RM is amazing, and we’re hoping to get the word out by application deadline,” said Assistant Director for South Area Stephanie Carter-Smith. “I mean, who else does flash mobs?”