By Morgan Jackson, Features Editor
Resident Assistants are students who live and work in residence halls to assist with issues or questions that may arise with the residents that live on their halls. They work the desk in their building and have their door open for a certain amount of time during the week.
According to Oklahoma Baptist University’s Residential Life Handbook, “RAs and CLs [Community Leaders] are meant to assist residents in ways such as: answering questions, listening, assisting with roommate conflict, referrals, encouraging community on the hallway, and organizing hall/apt activities.”
Kerr Residence Center is home to eight RAs, two on each floor. Many chose to become an RA because of their love for the Kerr community.
“I wanted to become an RA because I love the dorm community, and I wanted to continue living in the dorm while instigating intentional relationships with incoming freshman girls,” sophomore and Kerr RA Emily Boyne said.
Other RAs express the same sentiment.
“I wanted to become an RA because I really wanted to be a leader on campus and build relationships with new freshman coming into OBU, and to walk alongside them through their first year on campus,” junior and Kerr RA Meghan Bowers said.
Resident Assistants create a community among their halls.
“I wanted to become an RA once I realized what a great platform it was to build loving and lasting relationships with people at OBU,” sophomore Julianne Ford said. “I wanted to make a direct positive impact on girls’ lives and show them the love and compassion that God has shown me.”
In Kerr, it is typical to see RAs and their residents hanging out at the desk, watching a movie in the lobby, or taking part in a hall event. The majority of the time, RAs are responsible for making those events happen.
“I love to do movie nights, game nights, and dinners together,” Boyne said. I usually get a general consensus of what sounds interesting to them, and then I text the group chat, put it on my whiteboard, write it on the bathroom mirrors- anything to get the word out.”
Other RAs hold similar events, as well as many others.
“The events I tend to organize are simply movie nights where me and my girls will get some ice cream and turn on a movie,” Bowers said. “I also schedule a day out of the week where me and my hall have a hall dinner. The semester can get really crazy so many of my events are simple ones.”
Bowers held an event for her residents in the fall semester that is particularly interesting.
“Last semester, along with the help of my friend Bryson over in Agee, we played a game called ultimate cow tongue, which is ultimate frisbee, but with an actual cow tongue,” Bowers said. “It sounds gross, but it was very exciting! If I have an idea for an event, I usually plan it about two weeks ahead so that my girls can take off work if they want to.”
At the beginning of each semester, the Kerr RAs determine what kind of events their residents would like to participate in. Julianne Ford hosts many fun hall events for her residents.
“The largest events we have had were Taco Tuesday, Friendsgiving, Café Disco, and Galentine’s Day,” Ford said. “We are having an 80s-themed Skate Night, taking a trip to Pop’s in Arcadia, and going out to a fancy dinner in OKC this semester. I plan the events based on what my girls indicate they are interested in on the Information Sheets we give them at our first meeting. I plan all of my events before the semester starts and give them schedules so they can plan ahead.”
As so many know, maintaining a job while taking a full class load can be difficult at times.
“The most challenging aspect of being an RA is managing my time,” Ford said. “Being an RA is much more than a full-time job because you never leave your place of work. It is difficult to close my door and admit that I need time to work on my school and myself.”
When RAs work the desk, they are able to do homework if there is not something else to be done.
“When we are at the desk, any resident that comes up to the desk is our priority,” Bowers said. “Yes, we can work on homework then, but the residents of Kerr come first. Luckily, we are able to do work at the desk because the long weekend shifts would be very boring if we couldn’t do anything while being there. I try and manage my time wisely before I work for the day and try and get the bigger assignments done first and save the smaller assignments that require less attention for when I am at the desk.”
Working with the same people throughout the year builds relationships and friendships between the RAs and residents and can teach lessons.
“The biggest lesson I’ve learned by being an RA is that if God calls you to do something, He will equip you,” Boyne said. “God called me to apply even though I felt completely inadequate. But obeying is so much more important than listening to self-doubts. God has given me the words to say in every situation when I have felt speechless. If you trust God to do what He has called you to do, then He will be glorified.”
The Kerr RAs find it rewarding to see their residents succeeding.
“The most rewarding aspect of getting to be an RA is the fact that I get a front row seat in all that God is doing in the lives of my residents as well as the other RAs,” Head Kerr RA Abigail Wendt said. “It is so neat to simply have conversation and hear how God has moved in hard situations, or simply is so prevalent in peoples’ lives, and while this can and should happen everywhere, being an RA has presented unique opportunities to connect with and hear from people that I would not have had if not in this position.”