Becoming a Resident Adviser a fruitful on-campus experience

by Lisa M. Chmiola

Daily Cougar staff

Want to live on campus, make a lot of friends, learn to be a good leader and get paid for it? Perhaps you should consider becoming a Resident Adviser.

Better known as RAs, these students are the "big brothers and sisters of the floors (in the residence halls)," said Gary Gregory, assistant area coordinator for the Quadrangle.

RAs are responsible for the development of their floor community and resident relationships. They must be responsive to problems on their floor and resolve residents' conflicts while maintaining confidentiality, he said.

The RAs develop programming for the residents and complete weekly paperwork, Gregory said.

The process to become an RA begins with turning in an application along with a recommendation from an employer or an RA. The next step is to attend a six-week program of leadership classes.

"Even if you don't become an RA, it's still really helpful," Gregory said.

After the classes are completed, each candidate is interviewed. Following this final step, those selected for the job are notified.

Maybe you are wondering what it takes to become one of the chosen few. Candidates must be enrolled as a full-time student with a minimum GPA of 2.5. A sense of responsibility is also essential, Gregory said.

Denece Willits, a Cougar Place RA, said, "(You) have to have really good time management skills. I think it's a good leadership job."

Good crisis management skills are necessary for dealing with the variety of situations that may occur, said Cheryl Price, an RA for Oberholtzer Hall in the Quad. These can range from a resident not getting along with a roommate to more serious matters, like depression or assault. Emotional maturity is essential, she said.

For all their efforts, the RAs receive many benefits. RAs receive free room and board for the semester they are employed.

"It's great fun," said Cathy Wang, an RA for Sette Gast Hall in the Quad.

She said she has learned how to deal with different people and has met many people she would not have if she was not an RA.

Price said she has learned problem solving skills and how to utilize people working on team projects. "It's very personally rewarding," she said.

Willits said, "Having been an RA has helped me to grow." It has also helped her to be more assertive in a responsible way, she said.

Still interested, but you missed last week's information meetings? You can still turn in an application at one of the training sessions this week. The meetings are today from 6 p.m. to 9:30 p.m. or Tuesday from 2:30 p.m. to 5 p.m. The sessions meet once a week through the week of March 18. Do you have what it takes to become an RA? Attend one of the meetings and find out for yourself. For more information, call 743-6040.

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