The great R.A debate

Whether too invasive, or too out of touch, resident assistants or R.A.s as they are commonly known, are presented each year with the tough task of knowing their boundaries with students.

A majority of the JBU student body has lived in a residence hall, as students are required to live on campus for six semesters. In a residence hall the student is assigned an R.A. For Mayfield and J. Alvin residence dorms, each hall is assigned two R.A.s. This is not the case in Walker and Hutcheson where each hall is only assigned a single R.A.

Malorie Magnus, senior child and family studies major, feels that the two R.A. set up in Mayfield is a “good dynamic.” Magnus said overall it enhanced the community life. She said that usually one R.A. was more organized than the other, while the other one was more enthusiastic than the other.

This difference in personality created an even and appropriate balance. She said that the girls on her Mayfield hall even nicknamed their R.A.s Aunt and Mom, implying closeness in their relationships. The most organized being the Mom, and the more relaxed being the Aunt.

Kory Gann, senior youth ministries major, lived in J. Alvin his freshmen year and said his experience of having an R.A. was a “distant” one. Gann said his R.A. tended to, “do his own thing.” Gann’s R.A. was unable to develop a close relationship with him, which could have been attributed to him being a junior, and Gann being a freshmen at the time.

His sophomore year went differently in a more positive way. Gann’s R.A. his second year was closer in age and worked more on building a community environment for his hall.

Gann said he considered a successful R.A. one who was more “relational” and “personal” towards residents.

Adam Sloter, freshmen worship arts major, had a similar experience as Magnus. Living in Walker he loves his R.A. “The first week of school the new guys got together with the R.A.s.” Sloter said this bonding helped build their friendships with each other.

For resident assistants it is a tough balancing act to know how to handle not invading a student’s space. When asked how to handle the position Mayfield Assistant Resident Director, and previous Mayfield R.A. Meaghan Ranz, said wisdom is the answer.

“As an R.A., it is important to let others know that they are invited and welcomed in my life, and there is a lot of wisdom in knowing when to ‘break through the barrier’ and when to allow space to be present. My hope is that my girls know that I deeply care about them, and that looks very different for everyone,” said Ranz.