By Lilly Radack
Three officers waited in the hall to prepare for what they thought was a speech being delivered to residents of Christensen and Williamson Tuesday night. To their surprise, the RAs of Williamson Hall were actually hiding in a conference room with pizza, balloons and donuts to surprise the officers they have worked with so closely this year.
Meredith Cline and Erica Dota, the two RAs of Williamson Hall wanted to show gratitude for what these officers have done to make their lives easier, and planned this surprise party to show their appreciation.
“They do so much for us,” Cline said in the midst of all 16 Williamson RAs, “I feel so confident that they would do anything and everything for me, for the rest of the staff and for all students here.”
The Williamson RAs decided to create an award for Officers Mary Kitsis, Sean Wilton and Aaron Standard called the Williamson Hall Outstanding Service Award. The officers were touched and flattered. One was particularly shocked because he was behind the planning of the party and didn’t expect to be honored alongside his coworkers: Detective Anthony DeFrancesco was approached by Cline and Dota when they wanted to put together this appreciation night.
DeFrancesco explained he was behind the planning.
“We’re going to lie to them, tell them they have this huge presentation to give to Williamson and Christensen,” he paused. “I actually remember telling them don’t tell people that I told you this,” he said.
Instead he was a recipient of the award as well.
Along with the Outstanding Service Award, the RAs thought to create their own superlatives for the officers that have helped them so much throughout the school year.
The RAs and the officers that visit Williamson so often have a great relationship, as revealed through this night created in their honor. Wilton joked about the brownies sitting on the dessert table.
“Wait a second,” he said, “these were made on 4/20? Better stay away from those!”
Cline addressed the wrong image associated with UNH cops.
“Oftentimes officers here have a negative connotation when spoken of, and that shouldn’t be the case,” she said. “They are all such wonderful individuals and so we just want to showcase that, and make them feel appreciated, because they should be.”
Todd Borchers, Hall Director of Williamson Hall, admits that he had nothing to do with the planning of the appreciation night; it was completely up to the staff to honor the officers they have become so familiar with over the past year.
Borchers has worked in Resident life for six years and has never seen something of this magnitude to show appreciation for officers on campus.
“The relationship and respect between both parties is amazing this year,” he said. “…they really have come down to our level and helped us out, it makes our work easier and hopefully does the same for them as well.”
The teamwork that goes on behind the scenes of residential life has a huge effect on the ability to keep residents safe within the halls.
“Most of the work here goes out to them, without a doubt,” Standard said, reaffirming that cooperative and reliable RAs are what makes their lives a lot easier as well.
Lieutenant Steven Lee was also present, showing support and his own appreciation for his staff.
“To know the actions officers take resonates with the staff is huge,” he said. “You couldn’t ask for more.”
Being an RA in a freshmen dorm can be challenging, and despite what leads to the officers coming in so often, Dota explained that her job is not all that hard.
“Having a good relationship with the UNH PD has made my RA experience that much more successful because of how helpful they are to us,” Dota said. “Our relationship with them is what leads us to want to do this for them because they do so much for us.”