The role of the RA spans across much of the undergrad’s life: confidant, provider, and authority figure. The RA position, though, seems to be faltering in Albion’s campus residential life.
Specifically in Wesley, a high turnover of RAs occurred either during or after the fall semester. Often personal reasons were cited as the reason for leaving rather than anything regarding the students.
“I think that it’s personal things as opposed to the environment for an RA,” said Samantha Schneider, Spring Lake sophomore.
After Initially applying in the spring, Schneider transitioned into her position at Wesley midway through the fall semester.
“I’ve never had a problem with my hall, so I think it was just personal for the previous RA,” said Schneider.
While one of the higher paying jobs on campus, Albion does not cover room and board for the RAs. Personal issues ranging from student involvement to financial issues are often cited for the decision to leave.
“These are trying times for a lot of us and, although the RA job is probably the best paid student position, making changes in housing or board arrangement can sometimes be the better option financially,” said Pryce Hadley, Marquette senior. “Living in the dorms can be expensive, and people have to do what they have to do.”
A combination of factors have contributed to the subsequent loss of RAs around the campus.
“Who sticks with being an RA depends on the culture of the school,” said resident director Michael Wadsworth. “Students try to do a lot of things in three years here. For athletes, they have to fit that in with their position, as well as others who want to take on leadership positions elsewhere.”
While the number of students applying to become RAs is down, the number of applicants still exceeds the amounts of spots open.
“Being an RA requires you to balance a lot of roles and take on a lot of responsibility. Sometimes people make mistakes or decide they would rather not deal with it,” said Hadley. “Most people stick with this job for reasons that are not financial. Maybe as pay and other factors improve, this will become less of a problem.”
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