Why Resident Assistants are Important to DU

When thinking about school spirit, it seems like the people who should be thought about most often are those that do the most for the students. While sodexo, the professors, counselors, and many others do so much for the students, there is another group of individuals that largely remains unrecognized. Those that seem to do so much, but are never recognized for the work they do are the Resident Assistants, more commonly known as  RAs. The RAs stay up late taking desk watches, caring for their floor, and keeping students as safe as they possibly can.

RAs have a fairly strict application process which include being interviewed, filling out an application, and going to workshops. This process does not stop once they are accepted into the position. They then have to go to training in the summer and learn how to become a successful RA. During the school year, they live on the same floor as their residents rather than sharing a house with their friends, work shifts frequently, and have an almost constant mentor position to their residents.

The fact is, they are underrated. Not many people appreciate what their RAs have done for them, or the fact that they really do try to make living in the dorms nice. I can think of a few examples where my RA tried to unite the floor, hosted fun activities that always involved food (because let’s be real, the only reason college students attend any function is for free food), and generally just made sure that we had friends. Beyond that type of noticeable work, RAs work ridiculous hours, take care of drunk people, and try their best to not write up anyone.

When RAs are on duty they are in charge of emergencies. If there is something going on, they will be sure to take care of it. This goes from drunk students to dealing with injuries, or calling ambulances. They are moral support, and physical support for the person in trouble, and do this all while gauging the situation and figuring out how to take care of it. These people are absolutely incredible, and clearly have not been recognized for what they have done for everyone. According to Angie Thomson, an RA at Nagel, most people do not recognize that the bulletins and door decorations are put together by the RAs. She states that she doesn’t “think that people realize just how much time and effort and planning go into it all”.

Seriously, your RA is not just waiting outside your room with a pen and paper to write you up. Most of them will do whatever they can to actually avoid that. These people are immensely cool and deserve so much respect. An RA at Centennial Halls, Hannah Renea Bumgarner talked about the fact that she hates busting people. She “thinks it’s an important part of the college experience” to explore limits, but when she is “writing someone up, it’s because” she needs to do her job. She isn’t “trying to be cruel." She really loves everyone she gets to help out as an RA, and does her best to be lenient while still abiding by the rules.

What the RAs really want is to take care of the students and give them a home. This is a place of learning for everyone who attends DU. Thomson’s goal is to “make everyone feel welcome, and like they have a have a place they belong on campus”, she recognizes that “it’s hard to learn if you don’t feel comfortable” so she aspires to help not just her residents, but anyone she can at DU. Bumgarner wants to create a cycle of positivity amongst students, because “moving to college can be a rocky and scary time for almost everyone” and she wants to give students “somebody that they feel comfortable looking up to.” All these women want is for students to succeed, be comfortable, and be happy. They work so hard to do just that, and they are only two of many.

So much work goes into how students succeed and RAs are those that do their best to contribute the most to that. They want to pour everything they can into students. So next time you see your RA let them do just that, don’t give them grief, just smile, and tell them thank you, because they will never stop trying to help you.