Whether students live on or off campus, they’ve more than likely come across a Resident Assistant (RA) at one time or another. RAs serve an important role within the Keene State College community by being model students and working to keep everyone safe.
Students have often had an RA at one point throughout their college experience, desired to fulfill the role, or have friends who do just that. They are seen making door tags, performing Individualized Interactions (IIs) and health and safety checks, as well as putting on building-wide programs.
But is this the bulk of what they really do?
KSC senior and film major Nathan Brown explained that most students don’t fully understand what RAs do for their community.
“In my opinion, and I may be completely wrong, I feel like most interactions with RAs are during incidents, so students may have some certain skewed ideas of what they might think RAs do and they think that all we do is go out and get people in trouble,” Brown said.
He continued, “Making sure they’re [students are] safe is only one aspect of it. We also want to make sure that they’re doing well in school. We do check-ups every couple months, depending on what area you are in, but it’s to make sure that they’re getting the most out of their college experience that they can….We are there as a resource for them to better their college experience.”
Serving as a mentor and resource for students is only one aspect of an RA’s job.
Brown also said that the job is incredibly rewarding for the fact that they can make a difference in someone’s life, whether it be small or inspiring them to do something bigger and better that they didn’t think they were able to do.
RAs are given the opportunity to form close relationships with each other, their residents and other figures on campus.
KSC sophomore and elementary education and studio art major Inja Diamond said she has enjoyed meeting new people and getting to know the different people in her building and around campus.
“I think it’s given me a lot of connections with different people that I wouldn’t have necessarily gotten to know and it’s really great because I’ve gained a really good support group with my staff and meeting other staffs and getting to know the different people that work on campus and in residential life,” Diamond said.
Brown said that becoming an RA has given him a solid friend group that he clicks well with.
“I don’t know where I would be if I hadn’t become an RA and I’m incredibly grateful that I actually did apply. You learn all sorts of things like how to intermingle with other people who have different styles of working together, especially when you’re on rounds,” Brown said.
KSC senior and criminal justice and occupational safety major Patrick
Rose also agreed that he has been able to meet more people and gain valuable life skills.
“It’s made me more responsible. It kind of makes you catch up with the work load which is a good thing. I think it’s been a maturing experience…I’m a lot more organized now. I have an agenda and I actually use it which is pretty cool because I’ve never done that before,” Rose said.
Brown and his two classmates, junior film production major Aubrey Paul and junior film production major Evan Moniz, are in the process of filming a documentary called “Behind the Door Tag.”
The film is a look at behind the scenes lives of RAs and what most students won’t necessarily see RAs doing.
Brown said they want to show that there is a wide variety of personalities that go into this job and what actually goes on behind the scenes is different from what most students would expect.
Paul and Moniz are not RAs, but said they have been filming footage while Brown is on duty.
Paul said, “I think what we really wanted to show is who the RAs really are and they’re more than just their job. They have the job, but they are people. They’re not out to get you in trouble. That’s not what their end goal is. Their end goal is to make you safe and make the campus safe. End all be all, that’s what it is.”
The film is set to debut on May 1, at The Colonial Theater, along with films from other members of the crew’s production class.
Jessica Ricard can be contacted at firstname.lastname@example.org