Mason Housing Is Getting A Renovation

After the Spring 2019 semester, Mason Housing plans to implement a series of new changes. While some changes are still tentative, a few changes have been decided. These changes include getting rid of the position of “Desk Assistant”, creating the new position of “Community Assistant," and redefining the job parameters of a “Resident Advisor."   

The position of the Community Assistant is designed to take on the administrative tasks previously done by the Residential Advisor and Desk Assistant. These administrative tasks will include doing residential check in and check outs, manning the desks as the face of housing, and performing what is known as “duty”. Residential check in and check outs require making sure that each room is intact at the beginning of move in and when a student moves out. Duty is a service where personnel go from building to building to monitor as a security precaution. The desks of Shenandoah, Acquia, Mason Global Center, and Rappahannock desks are the base of day to day operations. Whenever there is an issue with housing the desk is the main resource people go to. Their personnel are trained how to handle both everyday housing issues and emergency situations. These Community Assistants will receive the same training as desk assistants in order to ensure that there is no lapse in services provided. However, Community Assistant will not be marketed on each floor as RA’s are. One can be a Community Assistant stationed at Rappahannock and living in Potomac. This has the potential to cause confusion among students about how to access Community Assistants as a resource.

The Residential Advisors would no longer be responsible for the administrative duties rather their focus will be on door decs, billboards, educational programs and fostering community engagement. While these changes are being made in the hopes of alleviating RA’s stress, there has been concern among personnel that the dynamic between residents will change diminishing their effectiveness. This concern stems from the fact that there will no longer be an RA on every floor of upperclassmen residence halls. The ratio of RA to resident will increase by almost two thirds as each RA will be responsible for at least 160 residents. According to a housing representative, “Not having an RA on each floor could increase incidents and negative behavior because there’s no one nearby to hold them accountable.” This could cause confusion among residents not knowing where their RA is or having a connection where they feel safe confiding in them with problems. However, with this change, there will be increased benefits for RA’s as their stipend will increase to $1600, the Liberty Meal plan becomes reduced to $2000, and they will be provided with single space housing. Similarly, Community Assistants will be provided with free housing and a stipend upon acceptance of their position.

Housing plans to incorporate these changes, and potentially others, in the Fall semester of 2019.