While most rising seniors are finalizing plans to live off campus or preparing for room picks, a select few will be fulfilling the role of resident assistant (RA) in the dorms.
Michael Daly is one of several juniors who learned last week that he had been selected as an RA for 2010-11. Daly acknowledged the value of being an RA his senior year.
“As a senior, you really know about the ups and downs and the challenges that you are going to encounter,” Daly said. “I think it’s really important to have someone who has been through those experiences, to be a foundation and source of counsel for students.”
Christopher Harvan, who was selected to be a Dillon RA, said he was drawn to the position because of the close relationship between RAs and residents.
“I applied because such a significant part of Notre Dame is living in the dorm. So specifically in Dillon, there’s a big emphasis on camaraderie in the dorm and its starts with the RA staff, and it trickles down to all students,” Harvan said. “I wanted to be able to provide that camaraderie and let incoming freshmen have a positive experience in the dorm.”
Fr. Paul Doyle, rector of Dillon Hall, received 20 applications for nine RA spots. According to Doyle, the dorm typically receives 15 to 16 applications.
Doyle identified a desire to develop community behind the high numbers.
“I tend to think people who apply get the picture that Christian community is worth building and fostering,” Doyle said.
During the decision-making process, Doyle said he and his current hall staff cast nine rounds of ballots.
“In between ballots, there are a lot of conversations,” Doyle said. “We took about four or five hours to get to the nine.”
Sr. Mary Donnelly, rector of Pangborn Hall, notified her RA candidates of her decisions via email last Wednesday.
RAs have a variety of roles, Donnelly said.
“We look at RAs and all of hall staff as a ministry of presence,” she said. “The RAs in particular are role models, they’re disciplinarians, they’re leaders in their section, and they have the responsibility of helping to shepherd and helping the freshmen find their way.”
Emily Wurtenberger, one of five Pangborn RAs for next year, hopes to promote respect among residents.
“It’s the little things like talking too loudly out in the halls when its study days,” Wurtenberger said. “No. 2, we’ve never had a dorm trip to the zoo and I really would like to do that.”
Fr. Peter McCormick, rector of Keough Hall, strived to bring together a diverse range of students for his RA team.
“When you build an RA staff, you look to build a team,” McCormick said. “If I were to use a basketball analogy, you wouldn’t just have all point guards or just all centers, but you have a variety of different personalities that will work together well.”
McCormick said he looks forward to working with students he met during his first year as Keough’s rector.
“The biggest way that they’ve changed is certainly in maturity like all people [that] grow and develop but also in their love and appreciation for Notre Dame and Keough Hall,” McCormick said. “I think if you were to ask all of them, they would say that their greatest desire to be an RA is to give back to a community that has given so much to them.”
The Office of Residence Life & Housing (ORLH) will inform all RA applicants of their status on March 15.