Ashley Newman | staff writer
Every student living on campus has a Resident Assistant, or RA. They seem to always be there – they set up floor meetings at the beginning of each semester, decorate the halls and just make sure your floor runs smoothly.
With Duquesne honoring RA Appreciation Day on Monday, Feb. 17, what is it really like to be an RA?
Emma Naegler, a first-time RA in St. Ann Hall, said that an RA’s main responsibility is to make sure that their floor is a safe environment.
“Our primary job as RAs is to ensure the safety of the building and create a friendly environment for the residents on our floor,” Naegler said.
Along with keeping their floor safe, RAs must also update the boards in the halls monthly and check in on their residents regularly.
“I always try to check in with [residents] at least once a month, because sometimes a person is struggling … and is just too timid to reach out for help. By reaching out to my residents, it gives them an opportunity to ask for help without feeling pressured to approach me,” Naegler said.
RAs are also expected to work “on duty” regularly. When RAs are on duty, they are on call to answer and solve any issues, help monitor the building and inspect the safety of the building.
The most common calls Naegler gets while on duty are people who are locked out of their rooms, people violating their 2 a.m. curfew and noise complaints.
One of Naegler’s favorite parts of being an RA is helping her residents and getting to know everyone on her floor.
“Each person has a different background or a different story, and it’s really interesting to hear how they ended up at Duquesne,” she said.
Naegler said that being an RA is “a very rewarding position” as she can help others and act as a leader at Duquesne. Along with that, Naegler enjoys the relationships that she has built that she would not have been able to without the position.
Another RA, Sydney Maurer, is an English literature and rhetoric major. Maurer, an RA in Towers, said that an important aspect of the job is forming a real relationship with the residents.
“The only thing I have found that is the most work is being present on and off the wing and floor, creating a relationship with the residents and the time commitment between the two,” Maurer said.
Maurer said she was “inspired” to be an RA last year because her freshman year RA was like a “big sister figure” to her.
Being an RA, though, has its own set of challenges.
“This is a job with a lot of miscommunications, inconsistent expectations and a lot of different approaches between individuals associated with the job,” Maurer said.
Despite the difficulties that the job can come with, Maurer always cherishes the time she gets to spend with her residents and the friends she has made through the job.
“Any amount of time I have spent laughing and talking with residents and other RAs [are fond memories] because it outweighs any amount of time spent on a difficult duty situation,” Maurer said.
Towers RA Karli Sutton admitted that the job of an RA is more work that she anticipated, but she still loves the work. Sutton’s favorite part of being an RA is planning floor programs to help her residents “destress from the normal hectic college student life.” She also appreciates the friends she made from the job.
“RA training is where I met some of my best friends. We would stay up until 3 a.m. laughing until we couldn’t breathe. It was one of the most fun parts of college so far,” Sutton said.
Overall, RAs keep our buildings and our campus safe. Without them, our resident halls would not be as organized and certainly not as well-decorated. They deserve to be recognized for their hard work and dedication.
“If you see an RA, give them a smile and a thank you, it will go a long way,” Sutton said.