My Resident Adviser – a hero in disguise. Several weeks ago, my roommate and I were confronted with a very troubling dilemma. We woke up one morning to find a large and undeniably repulsive cockroach on our bathroom floor. Not knowing what to do, yet still quite disgusted, we trapped it under a cup and called our RA.

Immediately she jumped into action, calling Residential Life to try and rid us of this nuisance dwelling in our bathroom. Our RA came knocking at the door prepared to do what needed to be done. As we held our breaths, she bravely walked in, armed with a piece of paper and shut the door. All of a sudden there were screams of horror quickly followed by the sound of a flushing toilet.

Finally, we knew it was over. Our RA had saved us from the vile insect that stimulated our fear and timidity.

Aside from dealing with emergencies such as ridding the world of pesky insects, RAs are students who are hired as authority figures within the residence halls and are committed to keeping their respective territories healthy and safe. They instill a sense of community, which is beneficial to the residing students. RAs tactfully take on various roles depending on the situation at hand – they can be counselors, social directors, cheerleaders, crisis managers, mediators or even dreaded rule enforcers. It requires an exceptional individual who possesses the aptitude to attempt to tackle the range of circumstances that may arise in the course of duty.

“[ResLife] looks for students who understand the importance of a strong residual community, students who have had positive experiences living on campus, who hope to expand on those experiences through a leadership role and students who possess the personal and intellectual maturity to be strong role models for their halls,” Assistant Dean of Freshmen and Associate Director of the Office for Residential Life Daniel Watts said.

It’s part of the RA’s responsibility to enforce a sense of community and a positive environment in the dorms.

By establishing adult relationships with each resident and interacting accordingly, the RA should serve as a model for productive and healthy relationships. Not only must the RA create substantial, mature relationships between themselves and their residents, but each RA is also expected to provide their residents with the chance to participate in five different programs throughout the year. This allows the students to simulate an environment in which the welfare relies on mature interactions, making these activities beneficial to them for years to come.

Aspiring RAs are subjected to a selection process, which takes place in three parts, and if chosen, are then required to participate in a series of intense training sessions.

Starting Oct. 19, applications for the RA position will be available from ResLife offices, and, after submitting it by Nov. 2, they will then move on to the second part of the process. This second phase, referred to as the “carousel,” consists of a three-part interview.

“Candidates are divided into groups of eight where they are observed participating in a structured task activity, observed participating in a values discussion and then an individual interview with a current RA and a member of the ResLife professional staff,” Watts said.

At this point, ResLife will select their desired candidates, approximately 90-100, who will then participate in Leadership in the College Community, or better known as, the RA class.

The third and final phase of the selection process is a seven-week, two-credit class designed to develop a strong foundation in leadership skills.

The final selection will then be made from the students who successfully complete this class. Those who are chosen can start preparing themselves for the trying, yet rewarding experience ahead of them.

RAs are unquestionably vital to college life, dedicated to creating a uniform school out of a sea of individual fish. Whether you have a close, personal relationship with your RA, or see them only during those pesky mandatory hall meetings, RAs should not be overlooked. They are here to enhance your college experience, even if it means saving you from a cockroach.

Weintraub can be reached at

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