Located on Stevenson’s Owings Mills campus, the residence life team plays an important role in keeping students safe and comfortable while living in the residence halls. The resident assistants (RAs) are student workers who are dedicated to helping and being role models for their residents.
In his third year at Stevenson, resident director Patrick Murnane oversees residence life on campus. He is directly in charge of the apartments on campus, and oversees the other residence halls.
In addition to maintaining residence life, Murnane conducts the search process for RAs from advertising to interviewing and hiring with the help of other residence life staff.
Stevenson’s residence life staff currently has 59 RAs, eight of whom are Senior Residence Assistants (SRAs) who help lead staff and teams and respond to some of the lower-level calls or complaints. SRAs are resident assistants who have been promoted to take on more responsibility within the community.
The RAs at Stevenson go through intensive training to ensure that they are informed and prepared when it comes to situations that may arise. Two weeks before school starts, Murnane said they hold a training session that educates each RA on every aspect of their job.
RAs also learn emergency crisis responses, watch active shooter drills and get opioid training to at least prepare them to be knowledgeable in all types of responses according to Murnane.
Within each building, RAs are in charge of holding community-building activities in order to bring students together, foster friendships and get to know the people with whom they live. They also are in charge of planning large-scale events which usually have a learning component to them.
The daily schedule of a resident assistant varies from day to day. Mustang meet-ups are a big part of learning and communication between RAs and their residents. They are also responsible for roommate agreements and intermittent health and safety inspections.
“At any given day, an RA could be doing something different, which kind of keeps the job exciting,” said Murnane. “There are some days where they aren’t doing anything, too; it depends on the day.”
Sophomore Lauryn Davis and senior Norman Greenwell are RAs at Stevenson. Davis just started her first year of working for Residence Life as an RA. She was motivated to apply because she admired her own first-year RA and wanted to make a difference in someone’s life.
“It is very special to be considered a leader on campus,” said Davis, “and someone entrusted with so much responsibility.”
Greenwell, who has been an RA since he was a sophomore, first applied to Residence Life because he wanted to get involved in his school and also make a difference in residents’ lives.
Along with training and a leadership role, RAs also receive free housing and meal plan C as compensation for their position. Greenwell said the benefits go far beyond that, though.
“You get to network with a lot of the higher-level staff and faculty at Stevenson,” Greenwell said. “It’s a huge responsibility, but the rewards that you get easily make up for it.”
There are three upcoming Residence Life information sessions on Nov. 4 and Nov. 7 at 7 p.m., and a final session on Nov. 8 at 2 p.m. They will be held in the Claire Moore room in Garrison Hall North. Those interested in being an RA must attend one session in order to apply.
At these information sessions, students will learn what the staff is looking for in possible candidates. Murnane will also review the process of how to apply and who is eligible for the job.
Murnane said they are looking for RAs who are friendly, understanding and reliable, adding, “We look for someone who wants to make a difference on the Stevenson campus.”
The Residence Life staff are currently looking to hire RAs who can start in the fall of 2020 and work through the spring of 2021.
Even those who are not interested in being an RA should know that the RAs are available for those who need any help or someone to talk to. Davis advises residents not to be afraid to talk to them.
“A lot of times we have this bad reputation of being the Res Life police, when in reality, we are students just like you and just want to ensure that everyone is safe and doing the right thing,” she said.