“Being a resident assistant is such an eclectic job that it is hard to describe all that goes into it,” said Felipe Bueno, a senior diplomacy and economics major.
Students living in the residence halls are guided by resident assistants, known as “RAs.” They are SHU students tasked with leading a section of a floor in the building. Bueno, an RA in Aquinas Hall, said that an RA’s main responsibility is to be a resource for students, whether it be someone to help a student find his or her classes, a shoulder to cry on or anything in between.
Adah Beck, a junior biochemistry major, was an RA in Aquinas Hall. Beck said that along with serving as a resource person for students, RAs take overnight shifts being “on-call” to attend to any need or emergency and spend an hour in the office at the front desk. They must also craft bulletin boards that passively teach residents about campus life, everyday skills, resources and good values.
“Part of being a good RA, and especially a first year RA, is being a good role model to residents and always making the best effort we can in work, social and academic environments,” Beck said.
Beck added that RAs must document and report any incidents to the appropriate authorities, help residents complete their roommate agreement and host monthly floor meetings.
“Our responsibility is to be a resource person who helps to make sure that residents have the best freshman experience possible,” she said. “And that they always know there is someone there for them that they can talk to, to make sure that everyone feels safe, and to make sure that everyone feels like they belong at Seton Hall.”
Cristina Hill, a junior finance and information technology major, said that RAs must also plan and carry out programs for residents that are fun and address their needs. These programs include lessons on how to do laundry and how to be creative when cooking in the cafeteria, while some programs feature donation drives.
Hill said that she has always wanted to be an RA and loves working with people and helping them in any way she can, especially freshmen.
“I love working with freshmen because they’re starting a really exciting part of their lives and I love helping with their transition into college,” Hill said.
Hill added that bonding with her students is her favorite part of being an RA. She tries to talk with her residents as often as she can to get to know them better and check how they are doing.
Jaclyn Emm, a sophomore philosophy major, was one of Hill’s residents last year and said that Hill was always prepared and ready to answer any questions that she and her roommates had.
“Cristina was definitely someone I had no problem reaching out to,” Emm said. “It was nice to have a sophomore as an RA because she had just gone through what my peers and I were going through.”
Emm said that Hill has influenced her to become an RA herself and that she will be working as an RA in Aquinas Hall starting in the fall.
“My advice to anyone who wants to be an RA is just be yourself,” Hill said. “There is no one personality type that makes you a better candidate. Every staff tries to have a mix of people that any resident can relate to.”
Bueno will also be returning to Aquinas Hall in the fall.
Freshmen residents will have the opportunity to meet their RAs during the freshmen move-in day in August.
Liam Oakes can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.