MOUNT OLIVE — Living on a university campus can take time to adjust. Being part of campus life requires students to deal with new situations. Whether it’s learning to live with a roommate, adjusting to time schedules, or making their own decisions, students need support and assistance. At the University of Mount Olive that help is provided in part by the Resident Assistants (RAs) staff.
RAs are upper level students who are committed to making the on-campus experience meaningful for students. RAs go through an interview process and are trained on topics related to event planning, policy enforcement, roommate conflict and mediation, crisis procedures, and a wide variety of other areas.
RAs live in the same residence halls and apartments as their fellow classmates. Their primary role is to assist the transition to college, encourage campus involvement, coordinate social and educational events, and provide support to students who are having personal or academic difficulties.
UMO has 21 RAs who are from six different continents and have a variety of academic and athletic interests. Director of Housing and Residence Life Ian Foley says, “Our RA students are an important resource for the University. They provide support to students during the best and worst of times.”
Logan Barrier, junior biology major from Linwood works at Hart Hall as a freshman RA, a position she has held for two years. She believes her time as an RA has been both rewarding and challenging.
“My favorite part of being an RA is getting to know students a one-on-one basis and being able to have a positive impact on their lives. I became an RA to give residents a wonderful experience like I received as a freshman. I also wanted to have the opportunity to expand my leadership potential. I felt that being an RA would help me grow as a person and get the most out of my college experience. So far, this has all been true!” explains Barrier.
Junior biology major and head RA Mary Jones of Princeton, believes that being an RA has changed her life. “I have met people at UMO that I might not have met otherwise. I have learned a great deal about effective communication and crisis response,” she said.
RAs are required to create two activities each month that focus on educational and social topics. Some of the more recent events have included Campus Jeopardy, Diversity Cupcakes, Paint that
Stress Away, and writing letter to soldiers overseas. Christmas is an especially fun time for residents where they can participate in Christmas parties with their fellow classmates.
Jones says, “These programs are one of my favorite things about being an RA. I love being able to plan fun, crafty projects for my residents. Once I was able to plan a haunted hallway event that the whole dorm participated in and enjoyed! It has definitely been my most successful program to-date.”
“I believe the RAs are a valuable asset to UMO students and administration. They are able to develop relationships that allow the students to adjust to campus life. Our RAs serve as role models for our students and for our greater campus community,” concluded Foley.