Resident Assistant peels back curtain on the job

Lindsay Dowdle and Lindsay Dowdle

If you search Resident Assistant on West Liberty University’s website you will find a short description on about what an RA is. The description says, “The RAs are skilled para-professionals who have been trained in many areas to make the student’s experience in the
residence hall healthy, safe, fun, educational and memorable.” That description is accurate but there is much more to an RAs job than that.

1. RAs Work 24/7.
RAs work 24/7, even though RAs might not be on duty, they are still working. For example, if RAs have a situation that occurs somewhere else on campus and they witness it, they still respond to it. RAs also deal with lockouts no matter what time of day or night. Resident Assistants also are in charge of notifying their residents about various things that are going on, on campus. If there is a cancellation or delay, they have a phone tree that goes around to every RA. A phone tree starts with a phone call from the Hall director in each building and goes around to every Resident Assistant in that building. This lets the RAs know, so they can hang signs throughout their building to make sure the residents are informed of these changes.

2. RAs help with maintenance work.
Resident Assistants help do maintenance work. For example, some of the RAs know how to fix certain issues that are occurring with the toilets, saving the maintenance staff the time to fix more pressing issues. Hall Director, Adam Davis said, “RAs work with the maintenance
staff by completing work orders and by describing what is wrong with resident’s rooms to get the issue properly fixed.”

3. RAs work Campus Activities.
Another part of the RAs job is campus activities. As RAs they are required to work one campus activity per semester in addition to the area programs that are put on every semester. These activities not only give the students something to do but also can provide a much-needed break at times from studying and school work. Resident Assistant Kylee Carcione said, “Campus Activities are a way to create a more exciting environment on the hilltop for residents and RAs.”

4. RAs are mandatory reporters.
One thing a lot of students don’t realize is the fact that every RA is a mandatory reporter, this means that if residents come to Resident Assistants with something that jeopardizes their safety the RAs are required by the university to report it. Their objective is to keep residents safe. Another job RAs do, is crisis management, they have been trained to handle many different situations. Emily McLean, a Resident Assistant said, “At the end of the day we are here to be a resource for residents. Most of what we do is in the best interest of residents and we are ultimately working to make the campus safe and enjoyable for them.” This is all in place to keep the residents safe.

5. RAs go through training and team building exercises.
One of the RAs favorite parts of the job is that they play rock, paper, scissors competitively, what I mean by this is they have a lot of team building exercises that occur within training to help them bond with their staffs. The training also helps prepare the RAs to work with their residents and to ensure that every resident is aware of the various rules and is comfortable with their surroundings. If there is a problem, the RAs are there to help.

6. RAs form a working relationship with campus police.
This relationship helps the Resident Assistants in so many different ways. The RAs receive helpful information from campus police and the police are there to help the RAs when needed. They work together to keep the entire campus safe.

7. RAs do admission hours.
The last thing RAs do is they are required to do four admissions hours for the entire school year. This means they either give tours or call prospective students in order to promote the university.

The examples above are just a few of the things RAs due on a daily or weekly basis. They do all these things to make the Residents life better, safer, and more enjoyable in the Residence Halls. Being a Resident Assistant is a lot of fun and also very rewarding. This experience teaches you many different things such as leadership skills and responsibility. If you would like to learn more about Resident Assistants and their jobs, check out this link at West Liberty Universities Residence Life Page.

Photo Credit: Lindsay Dowdle