Beginning next fall, Residential Life (ResLife) will replace the five resident advisors (RAs) of High and Low Rise with four community advisors (CAs), placing two CAs in each residential area.
According to the ResLife website, the CAs will be responsible for aiding their residents and establishing a community that allows for healthy and safe living conditions. The CAs will not have times when they are “on duty,” but will be expected to carry out the same responsibilities of RAs. Although they will not be a constant presence in the lives of their residents, they will still be qualified ResLife staff members who provide answers to residents’ concerns.
“The CA position allows the creation of community in a different manner,” Head Resident Candace Buckner ’09 wrote in an e-mail. “In the RA position, RAs are expected to be a steady influence in residents’ lives through continual contact. But many students living in the William Street area feel that in this stage of their lives such contact is unnecessary. This position will allow the CAs to focus on community building through the act of programming, which allows for contact but not in a parental manner.”
According to Associate Director of Residential Life Maureen Pyne Isleib, the alteration will most likely go undetected by residents of High and Low Rise.
“I don’t think the residents in High and Low Rise will notice any changes,” Isleib wrote in an e-mail. “The staff will still be expected to facilitate programs and address community issues.”
This change was prompted by a few years of suggestions from staff and residents who felt that a CA would better serve the independent lifestyle of the High and Low Rise apartments.
“The change is appropriate for the area. Life in High and Low Rise is a mixture of elements of dorm life but with a far greater degree of independence,” wrote RA Kenton Atta-Krah ’09 in an email. “The CA will still be the person on-point, the liaison between students and PSafe, Reslife etc. This is just one of the tasks of an RA/CA. Of course by the time students, typically juniors, live in the High and Low area, they are more comfortable than they were freshman or sophomore year with calling Physical Plant, etc. themselves, but it is still helpful to students to have that resourceful student staff member there that you can go to or call.”
The change allows ResLife to cut costs because CAs are compensated differently than RAs. It also allows for a fifth RA to be relocated across campus to work in the Fauver Residence Halls.
In addition to these changes, CAs are no longer required to have been previously employed as RAs or house managers because of the extensive training program they will attend in August.
ResLife staff members hope that this change will allow the advisors of High Rise and Low Rise to better meet the needs of the community. Isleib thinks students will receive the change as a positive one.
“Prior to making the decision, we consulted with the current RA staff who felt the change would work for the community,” Isleib said. “Since announcing the change, I’ve only received a few responses, but all were very supportive.”