Housing officials are trying a new approach to recruiting resident assistants.
RAs supervise residents of dorms, conduct room checks and act as a liaison between students and housing staff.
Students can attend workshops to learn more about what it means to be an RA. If they decide they want the job, they can go through the interview process and attend a training program before accepting.
“It may not work, but I’m hopeful it will,” said Michael Burns, director of housing and residence life.
In years past, students were required to attend an eight-week, two-credit-hour class to learn about the job and sociology.
Attending events leading up to the application is optional. Burns said students who don’t want to attend a session can talk to their RAs about the job or meet with housing officials. Students also may apply outright if they think they have enough information.
“For some students, they can’t fit it in their schedule and we didn’t want that to be a barrier,” Burns said.
There are three upcoming events students can attend to learn more about the job. There will be a “coffee with the housing staff” event at 9 a.m. Nov. 16 in Cokesbury Court Clubhouse. RAs will host a Q&A session with interested applicants at 2 p.m. today in Walker Hall and a Q&A session at 2 p.m. Nov. 21 in Banning Hall lobby.
Burns said he predicts the sessions in Walker and Banning halls will attract a lot of new students.
The housing staff is stepping out of the room to let students talk about what it’s like, Burns said. He also said he hopes the new process makes housing officials more available to interested students.
“In the past, the class has just been there and people who know about it sign up,” he said. “We wanted to do more events where students can ask questions.”
Methodist Hall RA Daniel Etti-Williams, acting junior, said he wishes this new process was in place when he was going through the application process.
“It sucks that the RAs now wasted that credit hour, but it’s also like we’re more prepared,” Etti-Williams said.
Etti-Williams said he encourages interested applicants to attend the sessions, ask questions, talk to the housing staff, and reach out to an RA.
“A lot of the RAs are people you see every day. They’re chill guys and girls,” he said. “Ask them what their experience was like. If that’s what you want to do, go for it.”
Cokesbury RA Jenna Mazzoccoli, music theater/mass communications senior, said she liked the session she attended.
“I think you get more interaction with the current housing department and the current RAs than you did last year or years previous with the class,” she said.
Mazzoccoli said she was glad to see the class phased out, even though she enjoyed it.
“I think a lot of people are glad they don’t have to take the class because OCU students are so busy,” she said.
Mazzoccoli said she advises interested applicants to consider the amount of responsibility of being an RA and to be genuine during the interview process. She also said she enjoys her job and encourages students to apply.
“There are high expectations, but it’s easy to meet those expectations because our bosses are great,” Mazzoccoli said. “It’s a hard job, but it’s a rewarding job.”
Cokesbury RA Brandon Elder, acting senior, said he enjoys the new process because it saves students time and money. He also said students should focus on getting to know the housing staff without being nervous.
“Just relax,” he said. “Don’t stress about it.”
Stephany George, Walker Hall Director, said current RAs often reapply, but they are not guaranteed a spot. Generally, there are six RAs in Walker Hall, eight in United Methodist Hall, five in Banning, Harris, and Draper Hall, and ten in Cokesbury Court Apartments.
The RA application will be sent out Nov. 27 through OrgSync and must be completed by Jan. 26. Selected students will go through the training during the spring semester.