Hi everyone! I hope everyone is doing well. As I write this blog now, I am on duty.
No, I’m not a police officer or even a student officer working for University Police. I’m a Resident Assistant, which is probably better known as “RA.”
The job of an RA includes many roles and responsibilities: programming, holding one-on-one meetings with residents (the students on an RA’s floor), and enforcing policies in the residence halls. All of this is done with the goal of fostering and building community among students.
However, one of the more famous duties of being an RA is duty. Every night on campus, there are RA’s on duty who are more or less “on call” for the night.
The RA’s on duty make themselves available by being in their rooms with the door open, and they keep a duty phone on them for the time they are on duty so that they can easily be reached.
The other major component of duty is rounds. One might think of it as “patrol,” but really, it’s simply RA’s walking through the residence halls to make sure everything is alright and people are following the rules. At least two rounds are done every night, and RA’s do these with one other RA.
Weekday nights (Sunday through Wednesday) significantly differ from weekend nights (Thursday through Saturday). As you might expect, weekday nights are quieter and less eventful than the weekend nights. On the weekend nights, there are more RA’s on duty, they do more rounds, and the rounds occur later in the night.
So I’m here now on a Tuesday night sitting in my room on duty. It’s perfectly acceptable for me to blog, do homework, or watch TV, but I need to be able to respond immediately if needed.
Most nights on duty are fairly quiet. Most often, an RA on duty might receive a call for a lockout, which means a resident is locked out of his or her room and needs to be let in. In this case, an RA is able to help by gaining access to the master key and keying into the room for the resident. Other times, RA’s receive more serious calls, but fortunately, this doesn’t happen often.
Why tell you all this? If you’re a student looking to go to college and live on campus, you will likely be interacting with an RA or someone in a similar role. You might even look to become an RA in college. And if you’re a parent of prospective student, then you might like to know what RA’s do to foster healthy learning environments for students.
Stay tuned for more blog posts about all the things that go into being an RA!