Resident Assistants are required to assume duty responsibilities in their buildings. This requires the staff member to be available in the building over the entire period assigned. The RA must always be reachable by telephone unless specified by the Residence Hall Director. Rounds of the building will be made several times during the duty hours to insure that there are no problems, the doors are locked and that the building is generally secure. Duty will vary from area to area. Finals week duty requirements are different and are at the discretion of the Department of Residence Services.
RAs may be required to provide special coverage as assigned for University holidays and recesses including Fall Opening, Labor Day and Veterans Day weekends, Halloween, Thanksgiving, winter break, Martin Luther King weekend, Presidents Day, Spring Break, and end of the year closing. Also, there may be times when an area staff anticipates an increased amount of activity on campus. On such occasions, staff availability or visibility may be required.
Most common encounters with residents while you are on duty:
- Policy violation confrontations.
- Answering questions regarding certain resources or offices on campus.
- Informal contact with residents while in the office or on rounds.
- Ensuring the safety and security of the community (responding to fire alarms, un-propping doors, noting maintenance concerns).
- Attending to crises when you are called.
- Alerting the community to crises situations and being aware of resources in the event of an emergency (i.e. responding to fire alarm and other threats to community security).
- Updating the duty log and documenting policy violations.
Training you are given for duty:
- Prospective candidates are interviewed and assessed on their ability to handle themselves in a crisis situation. Candidates are also interviewed on their past experience when confronting a peer who was not playing/working/living in congruence with rules or common standards.
- Fall training workshops include sessions on confrontation, mediation, emergency response, and other protocol.
- Discussions throughout training and in area staff meetings focusing on how to back-up and support one another in tough situations.
- "Mock Hall" - ask a current staff member what this means!
What happens if I get into a situation that I am not comfortable dealing with?
RA Fall Training will cover your questions and concerns with duty and rounds. Returning staff members are more than willing to mentor new staff members on the procedures for confrontation and appropriate responses to crisis situations. This is probably the most challenging aspect of the RA position. You are never alone as a staff member on duty. In larger complexes you have a duty partner. Student security aides are also available to go on rounds with you and for support in situations. Each duty RA also carries a radio, which gives them direct access to the University Police.
How will my duty experience apply to a future job after graduation?
- You will gain the ability to think calmly and critically during a crisis situation
- You will gain a level of comfort in confronting your peers for not following community standards, which may indicate to a future employer that you will hold others in the workplace accountable to the standards set by the management or team.
- Since you have many different issues that can arise in one duty night, you will no doubt demonstrate a mastering of how to juggle multiple, important tasks at once.
- As the front-line, first response to a crisis situation, the University embodies a great deal of trust in you and your judgment to show leadership and positive representation in any situation.