RA hiring process underway; should you apply?


Allyssa Ertz, Arts & Life Editor

Stereotypically, being an RA is regarded as a tedious, humdrum job.  You have to keep track of residents, be available to them when they need something, and solve problems for them.  Sounds lame, right?  Wrong, according to several in Residence Life at Buena Vista University.  They say that while there are perks and pitfalls to any job, in the RA department, the benefits far outweigh the drawbacks.

Briana Roberts, on of two Area Coordinators in Residence Life and Housing on BVU’s campus, says there are plenty of good things about becoming an RA .  She said one obvious desirable part of being a resident assistant is the money off of your tuition.  According to Roberts, BVU pays for a free single room and one half of board based on the Marquee meal plan.  

Becoming an RA provides many other benefits as well. Senior Destine Butturff, RA in Pierce-White on fourth floor says it assists you in building your resume.  She says that the real life experiences through the resident assistant position makes you more marketable on any application for an internship or job.  

Roberts agrees and even thinks of the RA position as a kind of internship experience that can prepare students for whatever avenue of work they would like to pursue, whether business, medicine, law, or anything else.

“The skills that they build through this leadership opportunity include communication, building relationships, conflict management, community building, and a number of other things that begin to develop now, but are sometimes not seen into fruition until later,” Roberts said.

Characteristics of people who are best suited as RA’s are people who have a keenness for community, says Roberts.  People who are applying for this should be ready for the hard work involved, but aware of professional and personal advancements they will receive as a reward from obtaining this position.  Roberts believe that applicants should be aware of financial benefits, but know that they will receive an even bigger reward from the experience they will have through the RA position.

Thirty-two RA’s are hired throughout the BVU campus each year, according to Roberts.  Dealing with conflict is part of the responsibility, which Roberts admits can be tough sometimes, but will also be necessary even in everyday life.  She see it as a definite advantage to develop this type of skill through becoming a resident assistant because you will use it for the rest of your life.

This job will require you to go on rounds when you are on duty and carry the RA phone around with you, as well as attend weekly meetings.  These are tasks that BVU works to fit around your own schedule.

Roberts and Butturf noted other RA perks including the big bonus of having your own room, double the amount of space you would normally have with a roommate.

The RA job includes community building in your assigned residence. This includes bulletin boards RAs are required to decorate monthly and door decks they create.  RAs also organize programs for their floor. They receive money to budget for four programs, and can do whatever they like for residents within reason.  Butturf says programs can be an excellent way to get to know other people better while partaking in fun activities.  

Being an RA can also create connections throughout the entire building, as well as lifelong friends.  Roberts emphasizes that connections are extremely important, and are how she obtained her current job as an area coordinator on campus.  Crystal Jones, Director of Residence Life and Housing at BVU, was her hall director when she went to college in Texas.  Building her connection with Jones gave Roberts an opportunity that led her to her position now in Storm Lake.  Roberts also got to know the other current Area Coordinator at BVU, Portia Graham, as Graham was an RA friend to Roberts in her own college experience.

Roberts believes that RA’s are student leaders with many qualities that are important to the position. 

“There is something about each and every one of them that I know we look for in the selection process, that shows the qualities of teamwork, compassion, responsibility, organization, all these qualities that make it so fun and gratifying for me to help develop them more,” Roberts said.

If you are interested in becoming an RA, the details about the process are available on the BVU Office of Residence Life’s Facebook page.  Information sessions are taking place now, and are mandatory to attend if you are pursuing an RA position. After attendance, an email will be sent to those interested to complete the application.  

Butturff notes that another great part of the job is working with and spending time with the other BVU RAs.

“My favorite thing about being an RA is that the other RA’s have become some of my closest friends,” she said.

Roberts highlights the fact that if any students who are even thinking about an RA position should definitely talk to their own RA and see what they have to say about the job. She also encourages interested students to attend the information sessions and apply by Feb. 21.