Cool Campus Jobs: Resident Assistants Build Community in the Halls and Across Campus

Posted Sep 18, 2023

At Otterbein, students have many opportunities to foster their skills and interests in the form of on-campus jobs, internships and clubs. One campus job, being a resident assistant, or RA, allows students to become leaders in their residence hall, build community among other students and make life-long connections.

A RA is an undergraduate student that lives in the residence halls and ensures the safety of the hall community while also being a resource for all the residential students that reside in their building.

Different responsibilities for a RA include assisting students with checking in and out of the residence hall, being on “duty” once a week in the RA office and planning different educational programs for the residence hall community.

Erica Bush is a sophomore public relations, journalism and media communications, and health communication major, and an a RA in Kerr Hall. She talks about her Cool Campus Job.

What does a typical day look like as a RA?

It varies from day to day. Some days are a lot more than others, but on average, I’d say a normal day would include me checking on the cleanliness of my hallway, saying hello to residents in passing and organizing my schedule to be aware of upcoming events and programs. On a busier day, I’d have my weekly duty in the RA office, host a program and fill out different paperwork such as a timesheet.

What is the most challenging part of this role?

For me personally, the hardest part of being a RA is the mental block of feeling like you’re not helping your residents in the ways they need. My top priority of being a RA is being a person that all of the residents in my building can come to with any concern and I do everything I can to be a resource to all residents.

What is something that others would be surprised to learn about this job?

Being a RA allows you to meet so many people and form true connections with them that exist even outside of the residence hall. I love seeing my residents and other RAs around campus and getting the chance to stop and talk to them about their day. I love being so connected to the other students at Otterbein.

What is your favorite part about being a RA?

My favorite part of being a RA is planning and holding programs. It is so cool to have the chance to think of unique ideas to engage the residents and execute them. My favorite program that my residence hall had this school year was an informational program against drunk driving that included riding scooters through an obstacle course while wearing drunk goggles.

What type of qualities do you think would make a person thrive in this role?

I think that to be a RA, a person needs to be passionate about helping others find their place on campus. It is so important as a RA to build a sense of community for residents, so having this dedication to the resident’s experience is crucial to being the best RA possible.