The Ins and Outs of Residence Life

March 7, 2012

2009 Freshman Move In Day 001

Residence Life. This is a familiar term for anyone at any school, almost anywhere. Most colleges and universities require students to live on-campus during their freshman year in order to be acquainted with campus and understand the fixings of dorm living–roommates, dining halls, communal life and of course, a residence hall.

Not all colleges guarantee four years of housing, but residence life is important whether you live on-campus for one year or all four. Residence life presents a great opportunity to get involved in your school and living community at the same time. It’s also a fantastic source for school spirit and fun events!

Let’s start with the basics: the Residence Hall Association. Most dorms and living communities have a Residence Hall Association, which is there to provide events for residents in the building and offer student input on improving the quality of community in the building or area. The Residence Hall Association is a great place to turn if you’re not completely sure how you want to make your mark on campus. Meetings generally take place right in the building with other students! The Residence Hall Association is a wonderful source of student leadership–by working with the RHA, you can learn more about getting involved at your school and becoming a leader on other parts of campus.

Looking for a great work opportunity? The Office of Residence Life at your college or university may be just the place for you!  Check out work-study or job postings for the chance to grab a position answering phones, making copies or helping out those who run the building. Better yet–go into the office and check it out for yourself! The Office of Residence Life is a great place to learn more about your building or living community. You also can talk to the Office of Residence Life if you have any questions or concerns about where you’re living–it’s their job to make sure you feel at home.

Every building has a group of Resident Assistants to help making life easier for students and administrators at the university. Speaking from personal experience, RAs are the people to know in your building. They know about cool events on campus, resources that might go undetected for students and how to get involved at your college or university. If you’ve got a question or any concern (major or minor), your RA will be there to help you out. Also, becoming an RA is a wonderful stepping stone for leadership in college. If you enjoy helping out other people, planning events and fostering positive community building, check out RA opportunities at your school! Remember: being an RA is a huge responsibility–there’s a lot of fun involved but the job also includes reporting incidents and being put in intense situations. My commitment as a Resident Assistant takes up approximately 20 hours a week but it varies by school.

Good luck getting involved with Residence Life!


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