TV show’s glimpse into ‘Residence Life’

Director Victor Dougba, left, and producer Garrett Williams edit their Rider University Network show, Residence Life, in the TV studio. Residence Life explores real issues one might enounter on a college campus, like roommate problems, parties, classes and relationships.By Kaitlin MacRae

Nowadays it’s not hard to imagine that many students entering college envision the next four years of their lives to be a constant party. Movies and television shows depict people engaging in typical debauchery, setting the lax standards that many students come to expect as they leave the comforts of home and settle into more independent lifestyles.

While the Rider community can attest to its fair share of drama, the Rider University Network (RUN) is challenging those stereotypes with its new show, Residence Life.

Directed by senior communication major Victor Dougba and produced by his roommate, senior Garrett Williams, Residence Life tells of the college experience from the perspectives of several different characters, all of whom are played by Rider students.

“We [wanted] to create a show that everyone would enjoy,” Williams said. “So, we decided to do a show about life on campus. We wanted to give our peers something real that we can all relate to and bring it to the audience visually.”

Filmed at various locations on campus, the pilot episode is a six-minute long vignette that features appearances by 10 different people, each with distinct personalities and dealing with specific issues.

“[Residence Life] is a representation of college life with all the experiences that we have as students,” Williams said. “It also introduces real issues that we have all experienced involving academics and social life.”

The show offers both a comedic and more serious look at typical goings-on relative to college: moving in, breaking up, partying … nothing is off-limits.

Viewers first meet Candace, played by junior Chastity Manning, having an interesting first encounter with her roommate Amy, a bubbly girl from Georgia played by junior Laura Vessella.

“When try-outs came around I decided to step out of my box and be in front of the camera instead of behind,” said Manning, a journalism major. “Candace is the ‘I have it all together’ kind of college student. She’s all about her work and reputation.”

Though the show’s purpose is to entertain Rider students, it has also provided a creative and professional outlet for those involved.

“This was my first time being in a filmed series and it was an amazing experience,” said Vessella, an elementary education and Fine Arts theater major. “I love filming and all the cast and crew members.”

Although future episodes have yet to air, both Vessella and Manning will reprise the roles of their characters, an experience Manning describes as exciting and energetic. With more installments to come, Residence Life has already received positive reactions from its

“The best part was seeing that the Rider community liked the show,” Manning said. “That was the best feeling: to know that it was well-received by students on campus and that they want to see more.”

In addition to a positive community response, individuals have voiced a willingness to become involved with the show.

“Everyone seemed to like it,” Williams said. “I’ve gotten a lot of people interested in helping out with the show since we aired the first

From alcohol and drug abuse to academic pressures and relationship problems, it’s safe to say that nobody has been left unscathed by the anxieties generated from the fast-paced expectations of college life.

While the college experience is unique to each student, anyone can relate to topics the show touches upon.

Students can expect the second episode to wrap up and air in the near future. For now, the current episode of Residence Life can be seen on channel 20, and on the RUN Web site, at

Other shows featured on RUN include Right Now, Music and Interview Affairs, The Adventures of Scarab and Alien Head and Rider Sports Corner.

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