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Top 10 rules as an RA

| Wednesday, April 11, 2018

You are reading a column from one of the six new RAs for next year in Dunne Hall, and the only one who is currently abroad. Due to my current location on another continent, I won’t have face to face repercussions from Fr. Matt by writing this. The RA position, as we know, carries a great weight of importance in every hall. They are responsible for keeping safety within their section, planning programming and generally establishing a sense of well-being for their residents. Although no one likes rules, they are an unfortunate reality that allows for a hall to grow and have the freedom to choose the good. There are certain rules universalized across dorms that I will simply not touch on. Instead, the following top 10 rules are ones that I have independently developed for my future section so that we can become the best community possible. Here we go:

1. Tear all the walls down to help build community.

Build bridges, not walls. Actually, take away walls altogether, what have they ever done for us? When I think of walls, I think of crude posters hung on them, lack of vision and out of date analog clocks hung. Any of you who have seen HGTV knows that the first step in home renovation is to knock down the walls in between the kitchen and living room for a more “open concept.” Well, I’m going to take this to the extreme and take away all the walls so that residents will have to interact. Structural integrity be damned, this will do well to build community.

2. Everyone has to know everyone else’s name, hometown, shoe size and blood type.

Honestly the first three I’m iffy on whether they’re necessary but blood type is vital. I think part of the reason I was chosen for the RA position is because I’m O- and can donate to everyone. But, what if you see a fellow Sentinel bleeding out and you don’t know if you can blood-let into them? All I’m saying is it’s a precarious situation we want to avoid in my section.

3. Celebrate parietals with fireworks going off.

This idea comes from the Gannon and Moran presidential ticket which I am a huge fan of. We have all been in the situation where a member of the opposite sex is overstaying their welcome, what better way to signal to them they must leave? Blowing up a small part of our campus every night is the answer. Bonus is the celebration of coming closer to your section with only the boys leftover.

4. Door always open, including while sleeping.

Similar to the walls principle, we don’t want any barriers to community, whether abstract or physical. No walls will probably render doors useless but I’m not taking chances. At this rate, we’ll have a beautiful South Bend breeze constantly entering our section. Another way to help community.

5. Section Flare Guns.

Picture this: you’re a freshman at a football game and you’ve lost your friends. We’ve all been in this scary situation not knowing many people. How do you find them quickly? Simple fix right here. What if you’re at an off-campus party as a first year and you forget the way back? Shoot your shot and either me or another section mate will be there. Leave no one behind.

6. Decorations in the section have to be free-trade.

Should go without saying but I’m not putting up any streamers, wrapping paper, etc. that have been made in sweatshops. People forget that this happens, my section will not.

7. No boring social gatherings, only real home-wreckers.

B.Y.O.S (bring your own sledge). If we are going to destroy walls and doors, we need some motivation. If you don’t want to party I completely respect that. If you do though, you better be a good host and pass out the tools as long as they aren’t of the power variety. Ya, maybe social gatherings bring trouble in a few instances, but if we’re going to have them regardless, why not ball out?

8. Those written up must give a PowerPoint presentation on what they’ve done.

Every RA I know says writing people up is an unfortunate reality that must be done. No one relishes that aspect of the role, but if they are going to misbehave then I want full-on Mendoza-esque presentation with animations. That means if the write-up is as a group, you all smile at the one presenting, suits will be worn and there is no actual learning. This way there won’t be secrets in our section, only lightly attempted justifications for one’s actions.

9. Residents must follow the quasi-caste system I will establish.

I really don’t want to play favorites in the dorm based on who I already know. To remedy this, I will randomly assign numbers to residents through a number generator. Higher numbers are treated better, lower numbers treated worse. It’s a simple way to avoid favoritism by randomly placing people into certain classes of respect and privilege. Hopefully no Stanford prison experiment kind of thing happens as a result but that’s a risk I’m willing to run.

10. “Closer” and “Mr. Brightside” must start and end every social gathering, respectively.

I may be an RA in Dunne specifically, but I’m an RA for Notre Dame overall. That means I represent the campus as a whole and have to respect all Notre Dame traditions. I want my residents to ask me for anything, but if that means the aux, they better look elsewhere. There are only two Notre Dame approved songs and I will simply mandate them.

Parietals, rules on alcohol and noise volume will all be important in my section, but this list will be my section’s Ten Commandments. I hope my residents will come closer because of these, and if they are ever in trouble my door is always open. Mainly because I won’t have a door. Or walls. Basically I’m one flare shot away at all times.

The views expressed in this column are those of the author and not necessarily those of The Observer.

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