Students seeking a job that will give them new responsibility, build their communication skills, and place them in a leadership position can begin the search within their own dormitories.
The resident assistant selection process for next year is under way, and Laura De Veau, the assistant director for student and staff development in the Office of Residence Life, is encouraging students to think about the real-world experience that being an RA can provide.
“We really look at this as a transferable skill-development opportunity,” says De Veau. “You’re going to have to deal with difficult decision-making, keeping the interest of the community, needs assessment. You’ll learn job skills.”
There are 300 RA positions available on campus each year, and students can expect to supervise between 30 and 80 residents, depending on the residence hall. De Veau says the job typically requires a 20-hour commitment each week; RAs are on call in their dorms from 5 p.m. to 9 a.m. on a rotating basis and must attend a weekly meeting with other Residence Life staff.
In addition, RAs are expected to accompany their residents to one campus event each month.
“I learned more about the school as an RA than you can learn any other way,” says Dina Petrushenko (CAS’07), who supervises 30 residents in Myles Standish Hall. “Being a regular student, you have no clue about everything that’s going on on campus, or about all of the departments and services that are available. I’d recommend it to everybody.”
Students are compensated for their work as an RA with free housing, and depending on the accommodations, a meal plan.
To be eligible, a student must have a minimum GPA of 2.7 and be in good academic standing; applicants must also attend one of two information sessions, which will be held on Friday, January 20, at 3 p.m. and Tuesday, January 24, at 4:30 p.m. in the Warren Towers cinema room.
No experience is necessary, De Veau says; students must simply demonstrate that they can handle the responsibility of being an RA.
“Anyone who wants to put in the time and wants to be a great RA should do it,” she says. “We want to make sure that they’re going to be able to handle the balancing acts between academic and cocurricular responsibilities. This is their first nonacademic priority, and we mean that.”