Dorm Council Airmen help improve quality of life

  • Published
  • By Airman 1st Class Christopher S. Sparks
  • 48th Fighter Wing Public Affairs
Since October 2017 the Dorm Improvement Council, comprised of Airmen representing each dormitory building, has been meeting with wing leadership each month to help improve quality of life for dorm residents.

These meetings provide the dorm councils an opportunity to communicate directly with the 48th Fighter Wing command chief, as well as first sergeants, unaccompanied housing and dorm managers.

A variety of topics are discussed in regards to facility, equipment and furniture enhancements.

“For me to watch these young individuals and their enthusiasm, their motivation and the impact that they are having on the 48 FW is really impressive,” said Senior Master Sgt. Billy Duncan, first sergeant assigned to the 48th Munitions Squadron. “It’s a good stepping stone to build themselves as leaders.”

The Dorm Improvement Council has led many dorm projects such as ensuring laundry rooms have operational machines, revising room lock out procedures and other initiatives to positively impact the dorm experience for their fellow residents.

“Joining the dorm council makes me feel like I’m making more of a difference and not just for myself,” said the president of the building 920 dorm council and dorm resident.

One example of how the Dorm Improvement Council is implementing changes is building 920’s utilization of social media. They created a Snapchat account to provide a relaxed, efficient and private way to bring up issues to the council.

“If they want to tell us that their water is out or to ask if they need to submit a work order, they can send us a message,” she said.

Dorm residents are also empowered to make a difference through idea presentations. For example, a simple suggestion to the council resulted in vending machines being added to building 943.

“Essentially the dorm resident had the idea and brought it up to the dorm council,” said Duncan. “The council did the leg work and now there are vending machines.”

The council has also been working with unaccompanied housing, Interserve and first sergeants to modernize how work orders are submitted.

One solution that resulted in their collaboration is the use of signs with QR codes on them. The dorm managers hope to place them in resident rooms and to their dorm in-processing brochures. Codes will simplify and expedite how maintenance work orders are submitted.

For example, if a dorm resident is doing laundry and the machine breaks down, they can scan the code to report the issue via email.

“All they have to do is point their phone at the QR code and it will automatically generate an email and populate the email addresses for the Interserve helpdesk and the dorm management team,” said Alexander Clifford, chief of unaccompanied housing at RAF Lakenheath. “All they have to do is fill out the form and send the email.”

However, if dorm residents choose to use the original way of submitting work orders instead of using the QR codes, Snapchat and other innovative solutions, they will still have that ability.

“Across the board the biggest thing that’s improved is the communication between the residents, dorm management and the parties that can fix problems,” said Clifford. “Before Chief Rendon came on, there really weren’t dorm councils. There was no real communication between dorm residents and wing leadership or with my staff.”

An incentive for dorm improvements is the Dormitory Excellence Award. The quarterly award is based on a dorm excellence inspection, and the winner receives additional funds specifically designed for the winner’s dorm building. For example, the funds could be used for new furnishings or decorations for their dayrooms.

“It’s pretty awesome that you have a command chief who cares so much about the Airmen in the dorms,” said the president of the building 920 dorm council and dorm resident. “During the meetings, you can tell he’s really engaged and genuinely wants to know what’s going on.”

The Quality of Life Initiative has helped cultivate a working relationship between dorm residents and wing leadership in a short amount of time. Many improvements have been made not only to dormitory living but in bringing a voice to Airmen. By establishing dorm councils, Airmen can address future topics or issues that directly apply to dormitory residents.