News from the Aurora University community

Becoming an RA develops leadership and team-building skills

Posted by on February 14, 2012

The Office of Residence Life is recruiting new resident assistants for the 2012-2013 academic year. As essential members of the AU community, RAs strive to provide guidance and support for students living on campus. In return, they receive valuable lessons in leadership and mentoring that will benefit them as they prepare for future careers.

We asked junior nursing major Beth Thomas, an RA in Wilkinson Hall, about what the position entails and what she has learned from the experience.

Beth ThomasWhy did you decide to become an RA?
I applied to be an RA in hopes of meeting new people, developing my leadership skills and helping provide the type of community that students at AU are looking for.

What type of training did you receive to prepare for the position?
RAs go through continuous training, but we had an in-depth training session in the fall prior to students moving into the dorms. It focused on providing a safe, fun and relaxing environment for our students and included leadership, team-building skills, conflict management, mediation and program planning.

As an RA, what are your duties?
My duties go beyond just walking the halls or decorating the floor. As RAs, it’s our duty to act as a resource and provide residents with the additional support and encouragement they need to be successful. We aim to provide a safe and fun environment that students can thrive in.

What do you enjoy most about being an RA?
I enjoy meeting people that I otherwise would not have had the opportunity to meet.

What’s the most challenging part?
The most challenging part about being an RA is maintaining that balance between friend and RA. With such a small community, you can expect many people to know each other, some better than others. As an RA, you have to be aware of what role you are playing at the time, whether the resident is coming to you as a friend or an RA.

How have you benefited from being an RA?
In the two years that I have been an RA, I’ve grown as a person in many different ways. I’ve been able to further develop my leadership and team-building skills with the help of the Residence Life staff, as well as the residents on campus. In addition, the waiver I received to compensate for room and board has helped make college more affordable. Overall, this experience has transformed me into a more well-rounded person, and that’s what I cherish most about being an RA.

How to apply

For those interested in an RA position, here are the important dates:

  • Wednesday, Feb. 15, 4:30 p.m.: All RA application materials due to the Office of Residence Life
  • Sunday, Feb. 19, 6 p.m.: Group Process Night, Dunham Atrium
  • Tuesday, Feb. 21 to Thursday, Feb. 23: New RA interviews, Office of Residence Life
  • Thursday, March 1, 2 to 5 p.m.: Decision letters available for pick-up in the Office of Residence Life
  • Sunday, April 1, 6 to 8 p.m.: New Staff Orientation (NSO), Dunham Atrium

Application materials are available for download on the AU website. For more information, contact the Office of Residence Life at 630-844-4578 or