Letter to the Editor: Talk to your RA before passing judgement

It is all too common for students to look down the hallway during rounds and have one of two reactions when they see their Resident Advisor (RA). Students slam the door behind them as they hear the clacking of keys from the master block or sometimes students give a simple “hello” and a small conversation starts.

Those who do have a conversation with their RAs will realize that just like everyone else on this campus, we are also students. RAs deal with the stress of balancing academics, social life, family life and other on-campus activities, as well as the issues and concerns that take place in their hallways and buildings.

Undoubtedly, being a student leader comes with responsibility. Generally, RAs are also involved with other on-campus jobs and endeavors. Two out of my six fellow Kroner staff members are also tour guides for Admissions. Two other staff members have obligations such as student teaching and need to be up at 6 a.m. I balance being an executive member in the Leadership Development Program, vice president of the Public Relations Society and this job, as well as maintaining a 3.6 GPA.

Students from all corners from every building are too quick to determine the role of the Resident Advisor in their hallways and naturally assume we are glued to our rooms ready to solve all their problems and unlock their doors at any given moment. RAs have students knocking on their doors around the clock (literally) asking to be let into their rooms because they have locked themselves out. Some students will just start walking to their room and expect the RA to follow.

RAs don’t have the block with the master key 24/7. Each building on campus is assigned one block with the master key on it. As any student can imagine, to lose this key is a tremendous legal liability, not to mention a huge expense to change all the locks in a residence hall. This is why RAs will only carry the block when they are on duty.

Some residents will not even bother to look at the duty calendar that is posted on each RA’s door or walls. Residents will ask me if I am on duty without even bothering to look at the calendar and ask to be let into their rooms when I am not on duty. In addition, duty hours take place each night from 7 p.m. to 11 p.m. (or 1 a.m. if it is a Friday or Saturday).

RAs are trained during a two-week summer session to handle the difficult issues that a student faces. We confront roommate conflicts, alcohol situations, drug situations, fire safety checks and even sexual assault cases. RAs serve as counselors, connectors and advocates for their resident students and will do whatever they can to see that their residents get the help that they need.

So next time students are locked out of their rooms or see an RA, say “hello,” attend a program and have a conversation. Students have a great resource in front of them with these wonderful staff members and I invite all residents to take the opportunity by saying “hello” and “thank you” to their RAs for all the work and dedication they give to their residents.

– Stephanie Trabold

Class of 2011

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