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College chooses new RAs

Liz Harter | Tuesday, March 18, 2008

Shortly before spring break, the Saint Mary’s Office of Residence Life informed 44 students that they would be hired as resident assistants (RAs) for the 2008-2009 academic year. The group includes 31 students who are new to the position.

Life as a Saint Mary’s RA intertwines dorm living, the full-time workload of a college student and the significant responsibilities of creating unique living situation for students who decide to take on the job.

Sophomore Melissa Croft said she was very excited after being informed that she will be the RA of 5 South in McCandless Hall, but is also “very nervous, but the good kind of nervous.”

She said she has wanted to be an RA since she found out what the position entailed when her older sister, Elaine, attended the University of Chicago.

“I think it is a really unique opportunity to be a part of the campus community and to get to know several groups of people including the entire residence life staff, my particular hall’s staff and of course the women in my individual section,” Croft said.

Croft said she is looking forward to leading students in what is traditionally a freshman hallway, and hopes that she can bring them together through section events that she is already planning.

“I don’t even know if this is feasible but I would really like to have a Mario Kart tournament as a section event,” she said. “I want to have events that allow the girls to better get to know each other and the campus community.”

Croft said she would try to strike a balance between sticking to the rules and letting her residents have fun.

“I don’t want to be known as the stickler for the rules who girls are scared to approach or be around, but I also don’t want to be the ‘joke’ RA who lets you get away with anything, and the girls will try to manipulate,” she said. “I hope to find a balance.”

Current junior and RA Deanna Molosky said RAs are put in the dorms to create a strong sense of unity within their sections, among other sections and between the different halls.

She decided to reapply for the position because she feels that it has helped her grow as a student and as a person.

“I want to continue to help the [Saint Mary’s] community in a way that best fits my talents,” Molosky said. “The staff provides a great support system that helps me not only as a resident advisor, but also as a student.”

She hopes to create a neighborly atmosphere in her section of Regina Hall next year and continue the events that she and the staff in that hall have created throughout the past year.

“I would love to continue the all hall events that Regina Hall hosted this year such as Royal Indulgence and Don’t Be Dopey as well as organize programs that help to make the women of Saint Mary’s more interdependent with the people on-campus and in the South Bend community,” Molosky said. “Community was an important theme this year on staff and I definitely want to continue that theme throughout the upcoming year as well.”

To ensure the safety of students, 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 said. Applicants must also be at least rising sophomores and have at least a 2.5 grade point average.

“When hiring RAs, we are looking for women who are passionate about making a positive impact at Saint Mary’s in this leadership role,” Kathleen O’Leary, assistant director of the Office of Residence Life said. “We are looking for students who will be able to balance their academic workload with the demands of the RA position and have fun doing it.”

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

Croft said she knows that being an RA is a full time job, but thinks she will be able to handle having to 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.

“I think it will help keep me on my toes,” she said.