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Residence Life Welcomes 30 New RAs

Earlier this semester a total of 111 students applied for residence assistants positions across campus. After a thorough application and interview process, 36 new RAs have been hired for the upcoming 2018 – 2019 academic year.

“We’re pretty excited about this new group and looking forward to getting to know them even more over the summer and during training in August,” AJ Goodman, associate director of residence life for Chrysostom Hall, Jasper Hall and Overlook Manor, said.

The hiring process begins when students fill out an online application that includes submitting a resume, an essay, and reference forms. Only the candidates who successfully complete the online application are invited in for a group process. In the group interview, students are assessed on how they interact with others as they are put through various activities pertaining to the job of an RA. If a student is successful during the group session, they are selected for an in-person interview which is the final stage of the process.

“There’s a lot to the position so I know that the biggest thing that I am looking for is why you want to become an RA and evidence that you are trainable and ready to learn,” AJ Goodman, associate director of residence life for Chrysostom Hall, Jasper Hall and Overlook Manor, said.

Bartosz Gierczak, a sophomore studying international studies and philosophy, is one of the new additions to the residence life staff and will be an RA in Horan Hall this fall.

After becoming good friends with his RA in Chrysostom his freshman year, Gierczak knew he wanted to become an RA.

“This year I Iive on the 11th floor of Horan. My RAs, Nate and Brittany, through their great attitude, friendliness, care and effort made me even more sure I want to become an RA. It may sound mainstream but I like to help people whenever I can. And I’m not talking about huge favors because realistically it’s impossible to help everyone with everything. I believe that even the smallest deeds matter,” he said.

The most intense part of the hiring process according to Gierczak was the in-person interview as well as the waiting to hear back during long periods between stages. Looking ahead, the sophomore is most excited working with his residents to create a “friendly atmosphere” on his floor and to get to know the rest of the residence life staff.

Over the summer, the RAs will learn some instruction through online training but the biggest lessons come in August when the entire staff meets before the school year begins to talk shop.

According to Goodman, the two focus areas for that August training include safety and community building.

“First and foremost making sure the residence halls are a safe environment,” Goodman said. “The other focus area is the ongoing everyday aspects and making sure [new RAs] are getting to know their residents and making sure their residents are getting to know each other.”

At this group training session the residence life staff runs through different situations that may arise throughout the school year that RAs need to be ready to handle. The office brings in outside presenters as well to talk about different support offices on campus where students can be referred if they are dealing with a larger issue.

For example, the counseling center will talk to the RAs about different mental health issues that residents may face. Hayden Greene, the director of the multicultural center, will also talk to new RAs about exploring different identities and how those different identities may interact with one another based on power or privilege.

“We’re pretty excited about this new group and looking forward to getting to know them even more over the summer and during training in August,”Goodman said. “We have a great staff this year and we are excited about the leadership our group of returning RAs will be able to have on the newcomers next year.”

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