This blog series features different writers responding to the prompt, “What is the future of the RA role?”
Guest Post by Gustavo Tiffer
Resident Assistants are important first line contacts with the residents in our building. They are vital to our work. But what will be important to the RA role in the future? Here are four trends and developments in the field that will continue to be (or be more) important in the future.
Holistic Approach to Student Development
Instead of solely enforcing rules, RAs are expected to take a proactive and supportive role in the lives of their residents. This might include facilitating study groups, hosting social events, or providing academic and career guidance. For example, at XYZ University, RAs have successfully implemented a mentorship program for first-year residents, helping them adjust to college life and achieve academic success.
Diversity and Inclusion
RAs are frequently asked to serve as advocates for underrepresented students and create an inclusive environment for all residents. This could involve hosting educational workshops or leading initiatives to promote diversity and equity on campus. For example, at ABC College, RAs have organized a series of events and activities focused on celebrating different cultures and promoting inclusivity.
From virtual events and social media engagement to the use of data analytics to track student engagement, RAs will need to be proficient in a variety of digital tools and platforms in order to effectively serve their residents. At DEF University, RAs have successfully implemented a virtual events platform, allowing them to connect with residents and host events even during the pandemic.
Mental Health Support
With the added stressors of the COVID-19 pandemic and the current social and political climate, it’s more important than ever for RAs to provide a supportive and understanding environment for residents. This could involve hosting wellness events or providing resources for residents to access mental health support on campus. At GHI University, RAs have undergone mental health first aid training and have a strong understanding of the various resources available to students in order to effectively support their residents” well-being.
The RA role is becoming more dynamic and multifaceted, and it’s an exciting time to be a part of this important and fulfilling field. However, the future of the RA role will depend on the changing needs of students and the evolving expectations of the higher education community. With the right mix of adaptability and dedication, RAs will continue to play a vital role in the lives of college students for years to come.