Large Number of Students Seek R.A. Positions

Adam Myers, Re

Residence Life staffers are interviewing and evaluating an unusually high number of students seeking to fill a maximum of 15 Resident Assistant positions.

The number of applications has more than doubled as compared to recent years, with 45 residents seeking positions, said Dominick de Matteo, Area Coordinator for Residence Life.

“We are excited to see what this group of students can share with us. We love when residents bring a new perspective to things,” said de Matteo.

Residence Life staffers are looking for applicants who will engage with the university community and make students feel welcome in the residence halls.

Staffers are looking for students who are the best fit.

“We are looking for people who want to have a strong, dominant leadership position,” de Matteo said.

He said applicants should not be discouraged if they do not receive an acceptance letter. He wants students to apply next year because “it shows dedication,” he said.

The Residence Life office keeps every applicant’s resumé on file. Applicants may ask why they did not get the position after the hiring process has finished.  Not only will applicants receive useful information about their application; staff will make an entry in the file about the fact that they  inquired, de Matteo said. Staff will know if the student applies in he future, giving them a leg up on securing the job.

“The best piece of advice I can give to the applicants is to just be themselves and don’t give up,” de Matteo said.

Residence Life are also in the process of making changes. There will be a Head Resident Assistant in place of a Resident Director for  upper class housing. The position would give one returning Resident Assistant more responsibilities than a traditional R.A. has, de Matteo said. The office will release additional details after the Resident Assistant evaluation process is complete.

Jenna Hiryak, a first year physical therapy gradate student and Resident Assistant, believes it’s a great job.

“Obviously the best part of being an R.A. is the monetary help with free room and board. Everyone is lying if they say otherwise. Additionally, being an R.A. helps build leadership skills, as we are responsible for a whole floor of residents, as well as communication skills,” Hiryak said.

The position can take students out of their comfort zones and help them meet new people.

“Probably the best part of being part of Residence Life has been meeting my best friend and boyfriend,” Hiryak said.

Being an R.A. has also helped her become more mature, she said. She added, however, it’s not always the easiest work.

“The negatives of being an R.A. is that it is a huge time commitment, and it seems as though all the incidents that happen, all occur at the most inconvenient time,” Hiryak said.

Resident Assistants are students as well, de Matteo said. They may have to report other residents for infractions,but that’s only to ensure the hall is a safe place.

“Sometimes people see Resident Assistants as police or ‘fun killers,’ but Resident Assistants are in their respective buildings to help residents feel safe, happy, and healthy,” said de Matteo.

Residence Life prepared new R.A.s during required summer and winter training sessions. Resident Assistants learn about professionalism, conflict resolution, communication skills and event programming.

“Anybody can learn and better themselves with proper training,” de Matteo said.

Hiryak said she has learned to balance her stresses with time management sills, which she learned from R.A. training. This enables her to maximize the time she has in her everyday life.

Hiryak said the professional Residence Life staff are willing to get to know R.A.s and realize that they are are students, too.

Hiryak offered a piece of advice for all of the applicants as they go through the process.

“I would say to just take a deep breath. If you make it as an R.A., then welcome and congrats, but if you don’t, you get to live with your friends. which is totally fun!  There is always next year to reapply. Do the best you can, and your best will always be good enough.”

Residents or applicants who have questions about Residence Life or the hiring process may contact Dominick de Matteo at [email protected].