Learning the Ropes: Perspective RAs Shadow Their Predecessors

By Konnor Newton, Student Journalist

Residential Assistants (RAs) and the work they do, play a big role in campus life here at Husson University. Through floor programing,routine check-ins with their residents and policy enforcement. Whether a resident deliberately interacts with the RAs or not their presence is known. As the semester draws to a close students may notice some new faces occupying the RA desks in the dorms around campus. These fresh faces belong to the future RAs hired for the  upcoming academic year. They are taking part in the shadowing process to gain a better understanding of what the role of an RA involves. These students occupy the RA post, go on rounds and observe and RA resident exchanges that take place throughout the night.

However, observing the routine of an RA duty is only half of what the shadowing process is about. The two shifts these RAs to be participate in, offer them the ability to pick the brains of their predecessors. While at the same time allowing the current RAs to share all of the first hand knowledge they picked up doing the job.

“This is the kind of job where, sure, you can be told all of the guidelines and things you need to do; but at the end of the day the majority of the job is unpredictable because it is all based around the behaviour of other people.”

Says Hunter Clark a 2 year residential assistant at Husson. He explained that although the training process for incoming RAs is thorough, the only way to truly know how to do the job is to do it. Clark utilizes his time with shadows to explain to them the trial and error process of his first time on the job in order to give them leg up. Which Clark says will be useful, especially when it comes to disciplinary action against their peers.

“Everyone is going to have their own style of being an RA but I feel like there is definitely a right way and a wrong way to go about policy enforcement and that is all based around consistency.”   

Clark says one of the biggest mistakes he’s seen having with two different Residence Life staffs came from RA’s having an inconsistent approach to policy enforcement, being more laxed, or letting things slide with some residents while bearing down hard on others. A mistake, Clarke says, that is a sure way to cause residents to undermine one’s authority. 

The perspective RA’s are each scheduled to shadow for one weekday shift from 9:00pm to 12:00am and for one weekend shift from 9:00pm to 2:00am.  

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