by Jilly Horaneck
Elm Staff Writer
The Office of Residential Life is looking for new Residential Assistants (RAs) for the 2017-18 academic year.
Senior Ashley Gates said, “The primary duty of an RA is community building, but being an RA also entails policy enforcement and administrative duties.”
An RA is assigned to a residence hall to help take care of its residents. They help make sure the building is maintained by performing three room inspections every year. RA’s are also responsible for knowing the Honor Code and maintaining the standards of the community.
Sophomore Meredith Kenton said, “We keep track of paperwork for each resident such as the RCR’s and roommate contracts. We are also in charge of mediating roommate conflicts or any issues that may arise with our residents. Finally, we plan informational, and hopefully fun, programs for our floors and create door decorations and bulletin boards to educate and unite the floor or building too”.
RA’s come from all different backgrounds, but make up one community on campus.
“We look for a lot of things and our staff makes up a unique group of individuals,” Gates said.
Kenton said, “I look for an individual who can talk to anyone, is organized and enthusiastic, and can be a leader, but also a good listener. It is important that you can confront things, but at the same time it is also important to listen and be compassionate. I also look for someone who wants to make a difference or is excited for the job. I really think it is important to want this job with all that you have because it can be difficult at times, but also rewarding, so you definitely cannot be in it for just the parking space or single room.”
Working as an RA is a great experience to have. Gates said, “The most rewarding part of being an RA is seeing your residents grow and develop. Hopefully, from the beginning of the year to the endyou are able to impact at least a few residents in a positive way.”
Kenton said, “It is also really heartwarming to see shy residents come out of their shell and find their niche at WAC. I also find it to be really rewarding when I can help solve a conflict between two residents. It definitely makes you feel like you can have an impact on people.”
To become an RA, students must submit an online application, which can be found on the Residential Life page on washcoll.edu. This includes two faculty recommendations and a cover letter. Once a student submits this, they go through two interviews. One interview involves the applicant meeting with two current RA’s and a Residential Life Staff member. The other is a group interview where students work with other applicants through different scenarios an RA can face.
“If you are offered a position, you’re required to come back a week early before the Fall semester starts for training,” Gates said.
“Being an RA doesn’t mean you can’t do anything else or won’t have a life. Most RA’s are very involved in other activities, like sports, other jobs, clubs, and frats and sororities,” Gates said.
Kenton said, “It is a big job, but you can also be involved with other things and do well at school and still be a great RA. Just be ready for anything. Some weeks your residents may not need anything and sometimes all 30 of them might be having issues, so it’s good to be flexible. It is also super rewarding, so don’t forget that.”