GVSU begins search for 2017-18 resident assistants

By Ashlyn Korienek | 11/17/16 12:21am

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GVL / Courtesy - Kristen Evans RA's gather in the courtyard of the Holton-Hooker Living Center on Monday, August 15, 2016 to take a group photo.

by Kristen Evans / Grand Valley Lanthorn

On an average night, Grand Valley State University student Mandakini Quiñones can expect to wake up at 3 a.m. to an urgent phone call or pause her homework to assist in a residential conflict down the hall.

Quiñones, a third-year student at GVSU, is among the 115 resident assistants (RAs) at GVSU who work year-long to create safe spaces and build a strong Laker community within on-campus housing.

For the 2017-18 school year, the housing and residence life department is currently accepting applications for resident assistant positions. Applications are due Wednesday, Dec. 21.

Kristen Evans, assistant director of recruitment and training for the department, said nearly 50 percent of the RAs return each year, opening up half of the positions to new applicants.

As RAs are responsible for addressing student concerns and safety, Evans said the job requires general skills including problem solving, time management and intercultural competency.

“There is no one type of RA,” Evans said. “Resident assistants get the opportunity to welcome new Lakers to campus and connect them to GVSU. Each of our staff members brings a unique set of skills and experiences to the job.”

Serving her second year as a resident assistant, Quiñones works for Winter Hall on the Pew Campus. As she balances a full-time student schedule, Quiñones said the job does not end when her shift is over.

“The thing about this job is even when I'm not on duty, I'm always known as an RA, which definitely shapes my day,” she said. “I'll see residents on campus and talk to them, or get random texts from residents asking for help on certain issues. So while I'm a student, I’m constantly doing the job as well.”

Over the years, Evans said alumni who served as resident assistants report confidence with conflict management and other workplace-related challenges.

In addition, RAs are provided training every August where new staff can learn skills to support students with different backgrounds.

“Often, RAs remain in contact with other staff members, forging lifelong friendships,” she said. “Resident assistants facilitate everything from small floor gatherings to campus-wide events around these themes, often collaborating with other GVSU departments.

“As an RA, you have a unique exposure to campus resources and relationships with faculty and staff across campus.”

Lending advice to students interested in joining the team, Quiñones said the most important quality is flexibility and to prepare for a variety of difficult situations.

“You'll be put in some crazy situations that might overwhelm you. You have to have a good sense of humor,” she said. “Luckily you are usually placed with a staff that's amazing. You are never alone and always have support from the housing community.”

Any current GVSU student is eligible to apply for a position, however candidates must have at least a 2.5 cumulative grade point average to be eligible. Feedback to five questions and a resume is required for an interview.

For more information about the application process, visit www.gvsu.edu/ra.

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