Skip to main content

The Role of an RA

Katie gives a behind the scenes of what RAs do for their floors.

Katie gives a behind the scenes of what RAs do for their floors.

What do RAs do, anyway?

Before coming to Carleton, I was told that every floor of the dorms has at least one Resident Assistant (RA). Having an RA sounded like it was supposed to be a positive thing. But would it be? Prior to arriving on campus, nobody had explained to me specifically what these RAs would actually do. All I knew was that they “build community” and “create a safe environment”. I was fearful that RAs would be looming, mysterious forces on the floor just to get me in trouble based on movies and TV.

Now, starting my senior year at Carleton, I can better see what the role of an RA truly is. This knowledge comes from my experience of having RAs on my floor and being an RA myself. Of course, every RA is a different depending on their personality and leadership style, but there are common responsibilities that every RA takes on. Today I’ll take you through some of the things I do as an RA!

RAs are a resource

RAs are a source of information for residents. While, RAs cannot always personally provide the assistance needed, they can always point their residents in the right direction when it comes to academic, social, personal, or general help!

RAs and Events

RAs are not only resources for information, but they also play an active role in creating events to foster fun, safe, and inclusive floor. These programs are one of my favorite parts about being an RA!

  • A smattering of events I’ve put on include: an ice cream and board game social, a karaoke and nacho night, a Game of Thrones watch party, a hot cocoa and traying event, and a pumpkin carving competition.
  • Collaborative events are also popular; I’ve put on was a SWA and Smoothie night where we talked about how to de-stress during midterms!
  • RAs will often take their floors to OIIL Talks and GSC or TRIO events.
  • RAs and their floors will also participate in traditions together like going apple picking, SUMO movies, the silent dance party, convocation, and late night breakfast.
First Goodhue goes apple picking.
First Goodhue goes apple picking.

Passive RA Responsibilities

Some things the RAs do are less active or visible to the community, but certainly just as important.

  • During finals I often buy bagels for my floor and put them in a lounge for a quick meal, or I put candy and encouraging notes in their mailboxes!
  • The door decorations you’ll find on your door when you arrive to college are made by your RA.
  • RAs often create informative, inspirational, or interactive bulletin boards on their floors; last year my floor had Disney-themed bulletin board and door decorations.
  • RAs host study break on Sundays. During study break, RAs update the floor about what’s going on around campus, provide snacks and other activities, and currently send out a newsletter instead of meeting in person.

Overall RAs have many hats to wear and things to do beyond what I’ve listed here! I’ve come to learn that RAs are not that looming figure, but rather someone who cares about making life at Carleton positive experience in so many different ways for so many different people.

Katie is a senior English Major from Chisholm, MN. She is a Resident Assistant (RA) and loves to act in student theatre productions. When she isn’t busy with those you can catch her hanging out with friends in Sayles, drawing in the Arb, reading a cheesy Young Adult novel on the Bald Spot, or spending too much time playing Animal Crossing: New HorizonsMeet the other bloggers!