Lack of RA on Wilmarth's 3rd Floor Impacts Students

Lack of RA on Wilmarth's 3rd Floor Impacts Students

Residents of third floor Wilmarth, one of the all women’s floors on campus, returned from winter break to find the position of their Residence Assistant, or RA, emptied. We are now nearly a month into this semester, and the position has remained unfilled.

Whether they are lifesaving gifts or just kind of there, RA’s are an inescapable reality of living in Skidmore’s resident halls and apartments. Semi-annually, the Office of Residential Life spends weeks interviewing candidates both individually and in group settings, attempting to select a diverse group of individuals capable of being community leaders as well as bridges between students and campus resources.

After selecting the ideal applicants, the Office of Residential Life gives a two week training session before the fall semester begins, with follow up training sessions and retreats in the spring to ensure that their staff is properly prepared to face any situation they encounter. For new spring semester RAs, students will return to campus a week earlier than other students to partake in a similar training program. After all of the effort placed into finding and training these individuals, what happens when the bridge crumbles and there is no one available to fill the void?

With no RA, there are no new bulletin boards, no emails to keep everyone involved, no floor social events, no updated door decorations, no conflict mediators, and no community builders. Some residents have said that “without an RA, there is a general lack of community.”

While there have been floors without RAs before -- either because of a lack of applicants or students leaving the positions mid-year -- let’s face it: it’s no fun living somewhere where you do not feel welcome or comfortable, and an RA plays a huge role in making sure that residents feel their college living situation is (at least slightly) bearable. Res Life could have pushed the first and second floor RAs to do more -- hold meetings, create the bulletin boards -- but their position is already time-consuming enough dealing with one floor, let alone two.

On Sat., Feb. 3, 2018, the Office of Residential Life released a statement that they “expect to make an offer for the RA position in the next week -- ten days.” And for the residents on the third floor, they should, or continue to, “contact other Wilmarth RA's” if assistance is needed, as they would be able and happy to lend a hand. 

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