Frequently Asked Questions
We're sure there are some burning questions
you have about the RA job that have yet to be answered as you surf around our
website. One of the things we learn to do as part of our outdoor education training expedition each August is to look into
our crystal ball to find the questions and answers that will surely come our
way. Here are a few Q&A's we see floating around in our crystal ball for RA
What are you looking for in an RA?
The Office of Housing and Residence Life is looking for a student who is
responsible and able to model strong leadership; outgoing and excited to
develop SU students; knowledgeable of campus community; dedicated to
building relationships; looking for a challenge; and committed to diversity.
How many weekends a month do I have to stay on campus?
RA's are required to be on campus two weekends each month. Typically, one
of the weekends is their duty weekend, and the other may be a back-up
What is a duty night?
A duty night is when the RA is required to be in the building staff
office for a period of time during the late evening. While the RA is on
duty, the following responsibilities are met: completing building
rounds; interacting with residents; checking the security of the building;
and responding to maintenance and emergency incidents. Following the last
round, the RA is expected to remain in the building until the next morning.
Are RA's to hold outside employment?
First semester RA’s are not permitted to hold another job.
After the first semester the RA will be evaluated and based on
that evaluation RA's may be permitted to work 6 hours either
on/off campus with prior approval from their AD/RD.
What is the RA class?
The RA class is a spring 1-credit leadership course in which new
staff members learn about issues of diversity, community development,
conflict mediation, student development theory, etc. Newly hired RA's are
expected to attend the class -- the course will take place following
selection of new staff in mid-March. New staff will automatically be
registered for the class once hiring is completed.
When does RA training begin?
RA training typically begins the second week of August, and lasts
approximately three weeks. During Fall training, RA's will complete a
outdoor education experience. Additional RA training takes place three days
prior to the Spring semester. Throughout the semester RA's are required to
attend scheduled training sessions on issues relevant to Residence Life and
When can I leave at the end of the Fall and Spring
RA's are required to remain in the building until each resident has
checked out of the building and the building has been secured for the
semester closing. The same is true for both the Thanksgiving and
Spring Break closings.
Will I have time for myself and to see my friends in other
buildings or off campus?
Absolutely! Time management is a key component to the RA position. Your
AD/RD will help see that you are taking the time needed to live a
well-balanced life. Of course, the position can be quite demanding. There
will be times when you will need to make sacrifices for the position. The RA
job is a student personnel position, and we cannot always predict when our
students will require our attention.
What is the difference between
an AD and an RD?
Area Directors (AD) and Resident Directors (RD) are responsible for the
management of our residence halls. ADs are full-time,
live-in professional staff members with a master's level education in counseling
or student development. In addition to directly supervising an RA staff, ADs
have the responsibility of managing 2-3 residence halls within their residential
areas and supervising 2-3 RDs. The RD is a graduate-level, live-in professional
staff member pursuing a master's degree. RDs are responsible for the
supervision of a building and an RA staff.
I have never had to intervene in a crisis situation or
handle medical emergencies. Will I receive training in these areas?
During RA training, and throughout the year, you will receive training in
crisis intervention and emergency protocol. As a staff member, you have the
full support of the on-call AD/RD, University Police, and Counseling
Services to assist in any situation.
Am I allowed to student teach and work as an RA during the
Unfortunately, due to the time commitment of the RA position, staff
members are not allowed to be an RA and student teach during the same
semester. Additionally, the RA contract is a one-year agreement. Education
majors who are considering the RA position for the Fall semester, and
planning to student teach in the Spring semester, are not encouraged to
I was documented for a Housing policy
violation. Should I
consider applying for an RA position?
It is is difficult to answer this question without knowing the details of
the situation you were involved in. Please see your AD/RD for a more
definitive response to this question. The RA contract does specify that you
cannot be on any type of University probation and hold the RA position at
the same time.
I transferred to SU at the beginning of the semester from
another college. Am I eligible for the RA position?
The RA Selection Committee asks that you have lived on campus for at
least one year prior to appointment. We will consider anyone who
has lived on campus for at least one year, between his or her residential
history at SU and any other institution.
How often will little things "pop up" that I am expected to handle as an RA?
Because of our closeness to SU students, many departments throughout the
university will rely on us to disseminate information and motivate students
to get involved on campus. We receive requests throughout the year for your
involvement in university events, and we do our best to support SU. As a
residence life staff we are in the business of developing students and
complementing their academic pursuits. The strength of your community within
the residence hall is dependent upon the overall quality of the SU campus
community. There will never be a time when you will be asked to do something
that doesn't support SU and its goal to be a strong student-centered campus!