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What is a RA?

Position / Duties and Responsibilities / Expectations / Hall Management / Community Development / Participation

Nature of Position

The Resident Assistant (RA) is responsible for a floor or wing of residents. He/she is there to help with the personal and academic concerns of the student and to help work out any group conflicts that may arise. The Resident Assistant also serves as a facilitator to encourage a cooperative and considerate group living environment. The RA is expected to help and build a feeling of togetherness and community by initiating and helping organize floor/wing/hall activities and programs. He/she serves as a source of information about the campus and residence hall. Most of all, the RA is expected to be a person who cares about people and attempts to make the residence hall a worthwhile place to live.

Resident Assistants who have the greatest success and who seem to enjoy the position the most, share common characteristics of personal warmth, social and emotional maturity, possess the ability to develop meaningful relationships with many types of people, be open to new experiences, have the capacity to deal with change, are able to evaluate a situation objectively and to deal with a wide range of human emotions and behavior, and have patience. An RA must have a good sense of humor as well as the ability to communicate and treat each person as a worthy human being.

The Resident Assistant position is a commitment of talent, time and effort; therefore, he/she should have demonstrated strength in academic pursuits. The RA receives the personal benefit from learning and improving human relation skills, which will serve him/her well throughout life. Therefore, this position should be viewed as an educational opportunity as well as a means of financial assistance. To deal effectively with these multifaceted responsibilities, the Resident Assistant must possess both time management and administrative skills.


Duties and Responsibilities

The responsibilities of the Resident Assistant are numerous and varied. The following is a representative, certainly not all-inclusive, list of RA responsibilities. The Resident Assistant Employment Contract and Office of Residential Life Staff Manual augment RA responsibilities. The duties and responsibilities are divided into four broad categories: general expectations, hall management/administrative responsibilities, staff and hall community development expectations, and required participation.

General Expectations:

1. Must be a student who meets the grade requirements set by the Office of Residential Life.
2. Knows and understands the philosophy and operation of the Office of Residential Life.
3. Maintains a professional attitude and manner while serving as a Radford University employee and representative.
4. Sets a positive example and serves as a role model for other students by adhering to all University and residence hall policies.
5. Must enroll in and successfully complete the Resident Assistant course during the first semester. The course is offered after being appointed to the RA position.
6. Knows and understands the rationale for University and residence hall policies and procedures and is able to explain, interpret, and enforce them effectively. Supports and participates in the evaluation and implementation of University and residence hall policies.
7. Knows and understands the operation of the University and its services such as the Admissions Office, Dean of Students Office, Student Counseling Services, Health Center, Financial Aid Office, Career Service Center, Student Activities Office, and community resources.
8. Facilitates openness and honesty in the communication between students, Resident Assistants, Resident Directors, Residential Life Office staff members, Student Affairs staff members, and the entire University community.
9. Develops a positive working relationship with the Resident Director, the other RAs, and other members of the Residential Life staff.
10. Responsible for all expectations, responsibilities, and tasks as given by the Resident Director, Assistant Director/Area Coordinator, and/or the Office of Residential Life.

Hall Management/Administrative Responsibilities:

11. Works with the other residence hall staff and University members to educate residents about Fire Safety. Monitors all fire safety equipment to ensure its proper usage and maintenance.
12. Provides an informational floor bulletin board.
13. Responsible for duty nights as scheduled by the Resident Director. Duty hours are normally from 8 p.m. - 8 a.m. on weekdays with rounds of the hall lasting until 12:30 am. On weekends, duty hours are normally 8 p.m. - 8 a.m. with rounds of the hall lasting until 2:30 a.m.
14. Assists in maintaining order in all emergency situations.
15. Works with and supports the maintenance and housekeeping staff and explains their role to students.
16. Responds to administrative and clerical tasks assigned by the Resident Director and/or the Office of Residential Life. |
        a. Maintains records concerning room inventory and damages in student rooms.
        b. Reports room/hall damages and assists in the billing process.
        c. Assists in student room check-in and check-out procedures.
        d. Assists in surveys and special projects as requested by the Resident Director and/or Office of Residential Life.
        e. Assists in additional responsibilities concerning the hall's functioning.

Staff and Hall Community Development Expectations:

17. Works with the Resident Director in advising the Hall Council, when necessary.
18. Supports and makes an effort to participate in University and residence hall special programs.
19. Supports and encourages students in their involvement in residence hall government, programming, and campus activities.
20. RAs must be seen regularly by their residents and be available so as to be able to meet student needs. RAs are expected to be in their respective halls at night. RAs are allowed ten nights away each semester, eight of which can be weekend nights.
21. Holds periodic meetings with living unit for general communication, sharing information, or generating enthusiasm.
22. Checks with the Resident Director and/or Assistant Director/Area Coordinator when controversial issues surface within the living community.
23. Facilitates programming individually and in cooperation with other RAs and residents within the living unit. Reports of the programs are prepared for the Office of Residential Life. Specific guidelines or directions concerning programming are arranged with the Resident Director according to guidelines established by the Office of Residential Life.
24. Becomes acquainted with each resident in the living unit as soon as possible, as well as with other students living in the residence hall.
25. Assists students with their personal and group concerns within the limits of his/her training and capability. Refers students in need of further assistance to the appropriate residence hall and/or University staff member.
26. Helps students adjust to their roommates, suitemates, floor residents, residence hall community, and University community. Facilitates students getting to know each other.
27. Informs the Resident Director of living unit situations (e.g. happenings, needs, behavioral changes, problems, etc.) through informal visits, conferences, and staff meetings. |
28. Supports and participates in the evaluation of residence hall staff personnel.
29. Works cooperatively with students insuring the rights and privacy of all residents through:
        a. Encouraging through the community development spirit, an appropriate academic environment.
        b. Teaching responsibility for one's own actions and consideration of others in the group living situation.

        c. Knowing and understanding the referral procedure for additional information as well as for assistance.

Required Participation:

30. Participates in all training, including pre-opening RA training (held in mid-August) and pre-Spring Semester training (held in early January). Attends in-service training sessions per requirement set by Staff Development and Training Committee.
31. Attends and participates at all meetings called by the Resident Director and/or Office of Residential Life. Advanced notification to the person responsible for holding the meeting is required if the RA is unable to attend.
32. Participates in the interviewing and selection process for new staff members, as defined by the Resident Director or Assistant Director/Area Coordinator.
33. Participates in the Room Deposit and Sign-up process.


Any questions about this website, email Simon at spsjogren@radford.edu.

2009 Radford University