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Living on Campus: What is an RA?

You may have heard people talking about RAs or heard about them from people who have gone to college before you, but you still do not know exactly who, or what, that is. RA stands for Resident Assistant, and your RA at Grove City College will be an upperclass (sophomore through senior) student of the same gender as you. There is either one or two RAs per hall, but there may be multiple halls on a single floor depending on the size of the particular residence hall. RAs are present in freshmen and upperclassmen buildings alike. But what does an RA do and how will they affect your time at Grove City College?

Your RA will live on the hall with you, and will likely be one of the first upperclassmen that you meet upon arriving at Grove City College. If you are a freshman female, you will more than likely have two RAs, and if you are a freshman male you could have either one or two. I am an RA on a unique hall this year – my residents are 1/3 freshmen and 2/3 transfers, so my freshmen are in the minority of females who have one RA their freshman year. You will meet your RA on orientation move-in day (if not earlier, via email or because you have arrived early for a sport or club), and they will help to make your transition to Grove City College as easy as possible.

Relationship Building Roles

When you first arrive you will probably have many questions about campus and living away from home, and your RA is a great resource for when those questions arrive. Your RA will also likely hold casual events on the hall like movie nights and game nights in order to get to know you better as well as to help you meet the other people living on your hall. Many RAs on campus will keep their doors open regularly, and oftentimes these casual events occur spontaneously as people stop by – keep your eyes open for these opportunities to build relationships with the people living around you!

Your RAs will also host several more formal events throughout the semester, called RA Programs (though they will likely be advertised with different names). These are events funded by Residence Life, which means that RAs are able to use those funds to do some really cool things (oftentimes with really good food). Some programs are for fellowship and fun (i.e. a building bubble soccer tournament), some are opportunities to learn a new skill (i.e. sewing rice bag heat packs), some help to teach you more about what our campus has to offer or basic lessons on campus tools (i.e. a session with the entertainment offerings at the library or a practical lesson on how to schedule your classes for next semester). Overall, RAs do their best to plan programs that are fun and beneficial.

Administrative Roles

Perhaps what you may hear most about RAs from other schools is that they enforce school policy. This is true of Grove City College RAs as well. RAs are trained to uphold community standards and confront policy violations in a loving way, and will work with students to help them to understand the purpose or reason behind a particular policy.

Similarly, there is an RA “on duty” in each residence hall from 7 p.m. to 7 a.m. every night and all day on Saturdays and Sundays.  This means that there is always an RA present in your residence hall during these times as a resource to residents in many ways – mentally, spiritually, emotionally, and physically (in cases of illness and/or injury or in cases of facility concerns). Contact information for the RA “on duty” is located on every hall within the building, and within most of the residence hall lobbies.

Simply put, your RA is a resource.

RAs are students just like you, and they are in a great position to support you through the school year and beyond. Your RA will likely be a helpful resource for you, and will quite possibly become a good friend to you.

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