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A Resident assistant (RA), also known by a variety of other names, is a trained peer leader who coordinates activities in residence halls in colleges and universities, mental health and substance abuse residential facilities, or similar establishments.

An RA has many roles and responsibilities, including building a residential community through programming, acting as a mentor for students, being a familiar first resource for students with academic or institutional questions, and enforcing residence policies. RAs assist residents with problem solving or refer them to counseling resources. Above all, a resident assistant must be an example and uphold professional and personal accountability as outlined by the institution.

At post-secondary institutions RAs are often undergraduate or graduate students themselves, and must balance their schedule and priorities with the needs of the students they are supporting. RAs must balance their own personal and academic needs while ensuring they are supporting and fostering community among residents, connecting residents with resources, and providing enriching programming. RAs will often report to a residence hall director, or another professional staff member within the Residence Life unit.

A major component of the job is not only creating a community, but also ensuring safety for all, for example, by participating in nightly community walks. Other duties held by RAs outside of community building and programming can include ordering supplies, managing a budget, and determining need for maintenance, repairs, and furnishings. They may maintain household records and assign rooms.

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Activities for Reward/Recognition

Ideas:   High Fives (Directors/Central Staff)- Each month will have a different theme for who you can give them too Ideas for the rest of this semester-   October- Sucker Ghosts – To be given to the “invisible supporters” you […]

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Staff Meeting Agenda Example

Agenda for Staff Meeting Ice Breaker What is one dream that you have that we might not know about? One way you’ve made a difference to a resident this year. Business Confrontation Activity Split into pairs and write one situation […]

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AHD “To Do List” During Fall Training

AHD “To Do List” During Fall Training   Settle into your apartment – complete inventory and provide manager with lists of concerns Get to know other AHDs in your area Become familiar with the buildings/facilities in your area of campus […]

Resident Life Staff Expectations

To insure the effective, efficient and consistent performance of duties and the implementation of the goals and objectives of Department of Residence Life, the following expectations are presented for all Department of Residence Life staff.   This document does not […]

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Undergraduate Student Staff Training Schedule

2026 Undergraduate Staff Training Joint training – Mentors & Aides TOGETHER Resident Assistants Only 2026 Sun. 8/16 Mon. 8/17   Tues. 8/18 Intl. Student Arrival Aides away PM Wed. 8/19 Aides away ALL DAY – AM & PM Intl. Student […]

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LEADERSHIP FORUM ON HIGHER EDUCATION POLICY  

In light of a “flattened” world, what, if any, policies should be developed at the institutional, local, state, federal, and/or international levels related to the following areas: Diversity Assessment/outcomes Commercial engagement Financing higher education Intercollegiate athletics Governance Technology Ethical behavior […]