Jazmine Cooper, Digital Media Marketing Major

If you don’t find community on campus, living away from home can be extremely difficult, no matter how close you are to your family. And a big part of campus fellowship comes from your dorm floor.

From sharing a bathroom with each other to having parties in the lobby, your floor is where you’re going to spend the most time. The person who cultivates that time? Each floor’s Resident Assistant. Here’s a list of five things RAs do for students on OKWU’s campus!

1. Floor Parties

students in carriage house

What’s a better way to create community than to have parties together? From painting parties to movie nights, RAs plan time for their floor to get together and have fun. Each RA has their own style, and each floor is different.

Klayton Coffman and Thomas Lindsly, RAs in Scott Hall, decorated their building with targets and obstacles to be used in a dorm-wide Nerf war. With boxes and extra mattresses scattered to make the game more fun, they wanted their guys to be engaged with one another in a way that was both lively and interactive. “It wound up being a good way to get guys out of their shell and interacting with one another,” Coffman says.

2. Informs Students of Events

girls at barn bash

Campus life is always bustling with events for students to attend and participate in. OKWU’s Student Development team does an amazing job of informing students of these through social media and campus signage, but to give that extra measure of communication, RAs will send messages to their floor letting them know about everything happening during the week. Good old-fashioned word-of-mouth works, too! When they see their students in the halls or walking to class, they make sure to invite everyone to anything that is going on.

3. Takes Care of Work Orders

dorm building

Just like in any building, sometimes things in the dorms break down. When something happens – like a washing machine stops working or window blinds break – it’s the RA’s job to investigate the issue and report it to Buildings and Grounds to get it taken care of. This way, the dorms can be kept in the best shape possible, and living conditions can continue to be great for all the residents in the dorm. We could not do it without our trusty B&G workers!

4. Manages Conflict

girls on library porch

We all know that sometimes there can be conflict on a dorm floor. Mixing together 15 to 30 different personalities into one place can come with challenges. But it is the RA’s job to take care of those different personalities, especially when there is tension happening.

Whether it’s roommate issues, bathroom arguments, or lack of tidiness, the RA will tackle the problem to make sure that the living environment can get to a place that is comfortable for everyone. While difficult to do, this is something that Anastasia Thornhill, RA of lower Adee Hall, manages well. “It’s really all about understanding your students,” she says. When you know the needs of the students involved, whether a firm hand or a soft approach is needed, it can make a world of difference going into a conflicted situation.

5. Invests in Floor Health and Care

girls in dorm building

There are lots of struggles that come from living on campus. Being away from home, no matter how close or far home is, can be difficult. It’s also hard when you get sick, or when you’re not doing well in your classes.

RAs do what they can to lighten the load of these struggles for their residents. When a resident is sick, their RA reaches out to them and checks in; they’ll make a Walmart run and get them anything they need. If a student is struggling in their classes, their RA does what they can to help, whether it’s studying with them or giving them a brain break with a coffee in Doc Lacy’s. Investing in their residents’ physical and mental well-being is a priority for RAs.

Investing in spiritual well-being is also a top priority. Taylor Hanneman, RA of South Phillippe, does this by taking prayer walks through her floor. She prays over the doors of each of her students, lifting them each up to the Lord.

RAs want to do everything they can to help their residents live their best life on campus!

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