A Residence Assistant (RA) is a returning student employed by Residence Life who is responsible for the well-being of students living on their floor. RAs are student leaders who provide personal assistance to students, plan and coordinate activities, explain and enforce policies and regulations, and act as liaisons between students and Residence Life (Student Affairs and Services), as well as Housing & Conference Services (Facilities Management). The RA’s goal is to promote a well-rounded community atmosphere in the residence that is friendly, fun and fulfilling while maintaining a degree of order, discipline and security. They help maintain a reasonably quiet environment conducive to study and sleep, and they provide opportunities to become engaged in various social and recreational activities. RAs manage community expectations by organizing regular floor meetings and floor events.
You can contact your RA for information such as how to access campus resources, to resolve a conflict, in case of emergency or simply just to talk. Being an RA comes with various benefits, such as financial benefit. The RA job provides leadership experience, it creates an opportunity for students to get involved around campus and a unique opportunity for students to build relationships with residence staff and administrators. Moreover, students gain skills like time management, effective communication, conflict and problem solving, and leadership skills through regular in-person and virtual training sessions.
To learn more about the Residence Assistant and application process, click here.
Being an RA is one of the most rewarding experiences for an SMU student during their university career:
“Floor members can always reach out to their RA when they are unsure of the services available to them or if they have any questions in general. I make sure my students are up to date on all events happening on campus. Therefore, serving as a source of information.”
Chloe M. (2020)
“I developed a community on my floor by getting a feel of my floor members and tailoring floor events around that! Making sure everyone has a chance to voice concerns and making sure the floor environment is positive!”
“I chose the RA job because I wanted a bigger role in the residence life community. I wanted to feel apart of a team and help others adjust easily into the residence and encourage them to take part in larger roles within the residence life community as well.”
“Some advantages of being an RA is that we get to work with a friendly team of talented people, get very useful training, and are always one of the first to know about upcoming residence events. As a result of this job, I have developed my leadership and public speaking skills a lot.”
“The warmth of an RA attracts people which encourages them to participate and this helps to build a community on the floor. Being an RA, I have learnt patience, time management and the art of balancing school along with the job.”
“RA plays a major role in bringing people together, introducing them to each other, which helps in developing a sense of community on the floor. Being an RA, it is a very rewarding experience, you make many new friends, you feel a sense of belonging.”
“I took the RA job to become more involved within the school and meet new people. RA’s organize floor events, floor meetings and getting people involved throughout the year to build community on their floor. The advantage of being an RA is that you always have someone to eat with or 46 other RA's you're able to message or talk to about anything at any time, its a huge support system.”