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Saint Mary’s RAs hired for 2006-07 school year

Liz Harter | Monday, April 10, 2006

Life as a Saint Mary’s resident assistant intertwines dorm living and significant responsibility, creating a unique living situation for students who decide to take on the job.

Shortly before spring break the Saint Mary’s Office of Residence Life hired 49 RAs, including 25 who are new to the position.

Freshman Pauline Kistka said she was nervous after being told she would be the RA in Queen’s Court, a section of LeMans Hall rumored to be haunted by ghosts.

Kistka said she quickly changed her mind, however, and is now excited to live there – especially since she will be a sophomore in a traditionally freshman section.

“I think it’ll be more beneficial for the residents … I am just one year older than them and have experienced everything that they will be encountering within the past year, and [will] be more in touch with what they are going through,” Kistka said.

Rising junior and RA Margaret Clark said RAs need to be adaptable to a variety of situations while also able to enforce the rules.

“The RA position is not a popularity contest, but rather a position to ensure the safety of the students,” Clark said.

To ensure that safety, there are certain criteria that RAs must meet to be considered for the position.

Candidates must not have any outstanding debts to the College or be on disciplinary probation, the Residence Life Web site reads. Applicants must also be at least rising sophomores and have at least a 2.5 grade point average.

RAs’ residential placement depends entirely upon where Residence Life feels the candidates’ strengths would best fit the needs of the residents.

Brittany Pangburn, a rising junior and RA in McCandless, said she thinks she will continue to improve as an RA throughout her time at Saint Mary’s.

“[This year] definitely taught me how to deal with certain crisis situations and how to say what needs to be said at the exact moment,” she said, citing instances where she was able to convince, rather than force residents to seek help at the Counseling Center.

Being an RA is a full time job, Pangburn said, since RAs must set aside large amounts of time to be on call and meeting with other RAs. They must also be available to work the front desk in case a shift needs to be covered at the last minute.

While it is a lot of work, being an RA is fun, Pangburn said – but there are rules to follow.

“The rules are there for a reason,” she said. “You have to follow them for a reason. If something bad happens it’s because we weren’t doing our jobs.”