by Madalyn Johnson & Christine Nappi, Web Editor & Features Editor
On Feb. 7 Residence Life conducted interviews with about 120 students who applied to be resident assistants at Manhattan College. Only 25 to 30 spots were available for the position and for the first time, rising sophomores were eligible to apply.
The decision for Residence Life to allow rising sophomores in the application pool makes the position more competitive than it already has been in recent years. On top of the qualifications to become an RA broadening for students, applicants are also required to meet the general academic criteria of a cumulative 2.5 GPA and 30 earn credits once they begin their job if accepted. Additionally, students have to complete the written requirement, which is three essay questions that must be submitted before their interview. Charles Clency, director of Residence Life, commented on the office’s decision to allow the class of 2023 to become student leaders amongst residents at MC.
“ResLife fundamentally believes rising sophomores deserve the opportunity to compete for such a highly sought after student-leadership opportunity, plus we were interested in increasing the applicant pool,” Clency said. “A student’s classification does not automatically make them a great candidate for the RA position, but rather, a student’s genuine desire to give back to the Jasper community, serve as a peer mentor, and willingness to implement departmental policies are valuable qualities in a candidate.”
Sophomore Ryan Truhn, an RA applicant in this year’s candidate pool, firmly believes rising sophomores should be given the chance to apply.
“I think it’s a good thing because as an RA, you want to be the best RA you could possibly be. So that means getting the best candidates,” Truhn said. “You don’t know what kind of experience they have, compared to yourself. You want to get the best people, and that includes sophomores.”
William Atkinson, Residence Director for Horan Hall, is overseeing and supervising the RA selection of this year’s applicants. Like Clency, Atkinson firmly believes that future RAs must have great leadership skills, as well as dedication to helping students whenever needed.
“We definitely need our RA’s to be leaders,” Atkinson said. “RAs deal with a variety of different issues, so people who are approachable are really people who we’re looking for.”
As an RA, Truhn is convinced he can do good for the college community through his leadership skills and helping residents open up and adjust to living away from home. He hopes to organize floor events that will greatly encourage students to socialize.
“I think I can really get students out of their dorms and get them to interact with each other and build a good community space,” Truhn said. “Being able to create something that everyone can enjoy, bringing people out of their dorms and actually getting to interact with each other and building friendships. A lot of times we pass each other in the hallway and we don’t know each other, but these [events] will give people an opportunity to interact.”
Regarding interview day, Atkinson shared how the process of talking to applicants generally went well, considering all the interviews were conducted in one day.
“I think it went pretty well,” said Atkinson. “I mean, this year, we did things a little bit differently than we’ve done in years past. We did all of the individual interviews on the same day, which was obviously quite a feat considering how many of them there were.”
Amongst the applicant pool was sophomore James Curry, who has experience with helping and being a leader to students. Curry discussed how his role as a leader of the social justice and service program, L.O.V.E., persuaded him to try to become an RA.
“Right now I’m a L.O.V.E. Leader, where I have to facilitate group discussions and create an enjoyable group atmosphere. I figured being an RA would be the same thing but with a bigger group, and I feel like I’m pretty good at being a L.O.V.E. leader,” said Curry.
Like Truhn, Curry is eager to hold events such as viewing parties for students.
“One of the things I want to do is just host more events around already existing pop culture events. I essentially want to be able to provide food during big events such as the Super Bowl or a popular TV series finale. In Jasper specifically, it seems that a lot of the times these types of events don’t happen.”
RA applicant and current sophomore Richard Howard finds that he fits the basis of what the RA position entails when it comes to being a guide for residents. Howard is certain his personal experiences of trying to socialize with others will allow him to better relate to students.
“In high school, I was one of the shyer kids, and I feel for those kids,” Howard said. “I would notice those kids that are more shy and less talkative and try to get them to come to events and really just try to form a relationship with them.”
The RA positions were announced on the week of Feb. 17. Atkinson advises students to apply for next year and to reach out to any member of Residence Life if they have any questions.
“I guess if anybody ever has any questions about the position, even if it’s not during the RA selection time, they can always reach out to ask about next year. Obviously, we’re wrapping up for this year, but it is something where sometimes people don’t think about it in time,” Atkinson said.
Despite the competitive applicant pool, Howard stressed how students can still take on a leadership role on campus even if they don’t get the position.
“It’s definitely something people should try and if they don’t get it, they should still try to find something and get involved,” Howard said. “If you don’t get RA, try to do other stuff around the school where you can get in positions of leadership.”
Editor’s note: James Curry has been selected to work as one of the RAs at Overlook Manor in the fall 2020 semester.