If you’ve ever lived in a residence hall, you probably know what a resident advisor (RA) is, but what you might not know, is what roles they actually play on campus.
Contrary to popular belief, RAs don’t exist to act as “dorm police;” they are an important part of the Residence Life team, and are in the residence halls to provide mentoring, coaching and advising to the students on their floor.
At CU Boulder, there are 224 RAs across campus, spread out over 16 of the 24 residence halls, each supporting approximately 35 residents—mostly first-year freshmen. The RAs are available day or night and help students with a wide range of concerns, including things like what to do after a failed chemistry midterm, how to deal with a break-up with a significant other or how to cope with some serious homesickness.
RAs are also responsible for conducting proactive outreach to residents through the “1-2-1 Model.” The model ensures that all residents have purposeful interactions with their RAs, and through those conversations, students receive some very specific messaging. This includes learning to effectively set goals, find connections on campus and in the residence halls and develop meaningful personal relationships within their community.
RAs are also trained to assist residents through referral to campus resources, and are well-versed in theories of motivational interviewing to guide student decision making. Beyond compensation of room and board, RAs develop skills in leadership, time management, conflict mediation, community building and social justice—all in preparation for post-graduate employment.
Applications for RA positions open Nov. 1, and the selection process runs through February 2017. For more information, please contact Residence Life in Housing & Dining Services at 303-492-7260.