Residence Life sets high expectations for RAs

By Bailey Baker

Every student living on campus at Bluffton University has a resident advisor who lives on their floor. Many students may not know what, exactly, their RA’s role is. It is a common misconception for students to think that the RAs are only in place to get students, like themselves, in trouble.

One of the many goals, according to the RA job description found on Bluffton’s website, for the resident advisors is “to create a space that can be an extension of the classroom. Creating an environment where discussions can continue seamlessly from classes and personal and relationship development can occur through intentional efforts of the RA.”

Julie DeGraw, vice president for Student Life, and Kevin Williams, director of Residence Life, both have high expectations for the resident advisors. Both DeGraw and Williams said they hope RAs are able to improve their many life skills and develop healthy life-long relationships through their positions on campus.

“My hope is that Residence Life staff gain skills and further enhance their abilities in the areas of leadership, community building, time management, relationship development and conflict/meditation/restorative justice,” said DeGraw.

DeGraw said the RA role fully supports and encourages the Student Life Division Mission Statement.

Leslie and LaJohn Beasley are twins who have both taken on many roles around campus, including being resident advisors.

Leslie and LaJohn Beasley photo by Bailey Baker

“I want everyone to feel comfortable and know it’s a judgement-free zone at all times on our floor,” said Leslie.

Leslie and her brother, LaJohn, both said they both have a passion for helping people around them.

“I want to provide my residents with an environment that they can feel comfortable and be open-minded in,” said LaJohn.

Nicholas Hoffman is a resident advisor making the best of his experience as he is determined to have a positive impact on others who live in his hall. After having a not-so-great experience his first year with his resident advisor, Hoffman said that it inspired him to want this position.

“My goal is to effect people positively and make everyone’s experience enjoyable,” said Hoffman.

Williams has very clear hopes for his staff this year: he wants all of his resident advisors to be confident in embarking on the experience they are enduring.

“We hope that our resident advisors are providing students with opportunities, resources and relationships,” said Williams.

For an inside look at one RA’s experiences, listen to this audio piece produced by Sophie Hobbs last spring. 

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