Being present and making a difference

What is means to be a resident assistant

Alicia Dougherty and Katie Popp

The role of RA has always played a significant part in people’s campus experiences. RAs have been there to help guide their peers living with the complex they were stationed at as well as keeping students safe, making sure complexes are safe and secure.

This time around, the Royal Purple took the opportunity to sit down with a couple RAs this year to get a better understanding of what they do for our campus community besides being a student themselves and what advice they have for those thinking of becoming an RA.

For some this is their first time serving as an RA. Sophomore Rianna Gilerman is a first time RA this year in Knilans. She became an RA for her love of helping and working with others and being someone people could trust.

“I genuinely love being one [an RA] already,” said Gilerman. “The people I’ve met have for sure solidified my decision to become an RA.”

Briahna Rounds is also a sophomore studying History Education. She currently serves as one of the RAs on the second floor of Pulliam Hall. Last year she also served as an RA in the same complex. Rounds became motivated to become an RA receiving  support from her own RA. 

“My freshman year was 2020 which was really rough due Covid and my RA was one of the friends I had made that year”, and he kind of encouraged me to want to make that difference for other people.

RA training was a little different this year. RAs became better informed about their resident’s mental health and covered other topics surrounding certain situations that might arise during the school year.

“We were a lot better about being sensitive to certain topics,” said Rounds. “We were a lot better this year on trigger warnings.”

According to Rounds, RAs went through rotating sessions on things that needed to be worked on. Crisis intervention was one session that explained how to recognize a crisis, how to divert it, and how to calm it down after it has been diverted. 

Both Gilerman and Rounds were asked what  they would say to people who were thinking about being RAs. Both Gilerman and Rounds agree that being an RA is a big responsibility, but it is also a position that comes with a lot of reward.

“There’s more to being an RA than just being present on your floor,” said Gilerman. “There’s going to be a lot of ups and downs, but everyone’s there for you.”

Rounds mentioned that being an RA also teaches you to be more accepting of other people’s viewpoints and cultures. 

“Focus on the connections you make,” said Rounds. “You’re going to meet a lot of people and you are not always gonna get along with them, but you can’t let that deter you from working with them.”