The RA Role: An Amazing Leadership Opportunity
The Resident Assistant (RA) role at Westmont is a student leadership position that allows for countless opportunities for leadership, service, and learning. You will not find another opportunity quite like it at college–from helping students move in, to leading peers, to celebrating difference through a section gathering, entering into conflict to responding to crisis–RA is a dynamic, exciting and formational role on campus! The RA gets to live with and lead his or her peers in the residence hall and, as an essential team member of the Residence Life staff, RAs actively facilitate opportunities for residents to grow in their capacity to live, love, and learn. Often RAs find their work on their team, in their halls and on campus an extremely rewarding experience.
Some RA Basics
While the Westmont RA role is dynamic and multifaceted, some of the most important aspects of the role involve
- Collaborate with a team of RAs to create a diverse and transformative culture in your unique Residence Hall that celebrates the individuality of each resident and welcomes them to make their contribution in the community we all call "home"
- Look out for student safety and hold residents responsible to behaviors shaped by the Residence Life policies and Community Life Statement
- Creatively facilitate opportunities for both education and fun! In the Residence Hall through section and all-hall initiatives
- Maintain a positive presence in the halls through interacting with and serving residents
- Support residents through being available, empathetic, and consistent role models as a peer leader
Deeper Dive Into RA
Residence Life relies heavily on the RA as a conduit for the safe, hospitable, and educational communities we strive to create.More specifically, RAs serve on duty weekly and conduct rounds during every duty shift in order to make intentional conversation with residents and to ensure a safe and healthy living environment that allows residents to prioritize their academics. RAs also serve to create programs and initiatives within both their halls and sections in the areas described above to educate residents and build community. RAs attend weekly staff meetings and weekly training sessions in order to continue their personal and professional development throughout the semester.
Residence Life provides an opportunity to see students at their best and in their hardest, most vulnerable times, and RAs have the privilege of coming alongside students to share in the joy and the tears of life. Some other highlights include:
- Bringing restoration and redemption to conflicts that occur between roommates and friends
- Challenging residents to live out their personal and community values by holding them accountable for their actions
- Asking residents to think critically and to engage in conversations where they can ask hard questions that don’t have easy answers
- Encouraging residents to lean in to the community by taking uncomfortable steps, like sharing personal aspects of their lives, in trusted relationship in order to heal and grow
- Caring for residents experiencing personal emergencies or difficulties
- Connecting residents to the plethora of resources available to them on campus
- Modeling faithful servant leadership to the community of Westmont and the larger communities of Santa Barbara and the world
Don’t worry: an RA never does this alone! They are always supported by a Resident Director (RD) and staff of peers, as well as equipped with awesome training. Often RAs find high value in their relationship with their RD, being supported and challenged as a student, leader, and person. RAs participate in training both before and during the school year that prepares and equips them to live, love, and learn in servant leadership alongside their residents. As part of training, RAs are asked to engage in a five-day camping and backpacking trip designed to build team unity and trust and to push them outside of their comfort zone. During training and in weekly RA class throughout the fall semester, RAs grow in skills such as confrontation, mediation, active listening, time management, and networking. RAs are also educated in societal topics from a Christian perspective that benefit them in their role and beyond such as: mental health, strengths, student development theory, sexuality, and diversity & multicultural identities.