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Roles of Dorm “Supervisors”

VinceLestradeVinceLestrade 145 replies12 threads Junior Member
I have heard that most dorm complexes have floor supervisors, who are sometimes members of the student body. These are, I believe, disassociated from the larger campus security department. I was wondering what these people’s roles are, and what your interactions with them have been like. Do they invade personal space? Are they power-hungry? Are they generally nice? Etc.
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Replies to: Roles of Dorm “Supervisors”

  • thumper1thumper1 76586 replies3391 threads Senior Member
    Most dorms have at least one resident assistant on each dorm floor. They are there to help you. They are also there to make sure the dorms are safe, and no rules are seriously violated (thinks like smoking in the rooms...things that would affect safety).

    Power hungry for what? This is a very sought after and competitive JOB on most college campuses.

    Invade your personal space? Please see my suggestion on your other thread about counseling for dealing with your paranoid ideas about college.
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  • VinceLestradeVinceLestrade 145 replies12 threads Junior Member
    thumper1 — I wasn’t insinuating that they were negative in any way. I was just wondering what experiences others have had with these individuals — good or bad. I definitely think that the position being a job, as you mentioned, makes the possibility of the individuals being power hungry less likely. I just thought that, if they were students, there may be issues with giving certain students authority over others.

    I see that, in many ways, they function as security officers, as you mention; they ensure the codes of conduct maintain on-campus are abided by. I obviously have no issue with that, nor did I wish to insinuate that I did in my initial comment.
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  • momofsenior1momofsenior1 8807 replies85 threads Senior Member
    My D's RAs have been amazing. Last year her RA hosted fun floor events for the freshmen to mingle and get to know each other. He also helped them out when one of their friends drank so much he needed to go to the hospital. This year the RA helped when a young woman threatened suicide and was able to get help right away. She followed up not only with the woman who needed help but her roommate and all their friends.

    RAs are generally trained well and are there to help. The can do everything from mediate roommate disputes, to facilitate floor bonding, to getting help when needed. If an RA has a situation they aren't equipped to handle, there are adults in residence life to call.

    The RA should be looked on as a friend not foe :)

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  • VinceLestradeVinceLestrade 145 replies12 threads Junior Member
    That’s good to know! I hope to form positive relationships with as many faculty members as possible. I am glad to hear that there is somewhere to ensure people remain safe and secure.

    How old are these individuals, generally. Is this a hired position, or is the RA chosen from the student body? Do the RAs live there as students?

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  • momofsenior1momofsenior1 8807 replies85 threads Senior Member
    At my D's school, RAs are upperclassmen, either juniors or seniors, and go through a very rigorous application and interview process. They live in the dorm, rent free, in exchange for their service as an RA. It's a very coveted position.
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  • VinceLestradeVinceLestrade 145 replies12 threads Junior Member
    momofsenior1 — I see. I’m sure they are largely nice people.
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  • UGG2023UGG2023 255 replies4 threads Junior Member
    At my DD’s school the RA’s are sophomores, juniors, or seniors. They go thru rigorous training, perks include single room and discounted/free room. Also there are faculty resident advisors (faculty and their families, and pets) that live in an apartment in each dorm. They are all there to Support and help students.
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  • VinceLestradeVinceLestrade 145 replies12 threads Junior Member
    @UGG2023 — I certainly think it’d be fine as long as they are helpful and do not prove obtrusive. I won’t break the rules, and they won’t be overly critical. I’m happy there are people there to enforce school policy, handle emergencies to some extent, and give advice to those who ask for it.
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  • blossomblossom 10177 replies9 threads Senior Member
    Vince, you might want to explore colleges which operate on the "house" system. The faculty resident advisors are not the norm for colleges which have huge dorms. They will have RA's on every floor, but it won't be the same experience as having a professor or dean, plus spouse, plus kids living in your building.

    Nothing wrong with wanting more support as you transition to college, just be aware that you need to assess every college on your list.

    You should also explore "theme" housing-- foreign language houses, etc. I lived in a substance free dorm one year in college (I didn't care about the substances, but I wanted a single and had a terrible lottery number. So I had to choose between roommates in a popular dorm or a single in a less popular dorm). It was great. We had quiet hours (no blaring music, no parties, no loud activities) which the RA enforced; the common areas (a gorgeous lounge with couches and small work tables) was always very quiet, even the common kitchens were nicely maintained and never crowded.

    So you might need to be a little flexible to get the kind of living environment you want. Also putting out there that you might be surprised. Over the years I've had horrible roommates and fantastic roommates (living in an expensive city after college and for grad school I had no choice but to live with roommates) and I was generally surprised by the experience. The best roommate I ever had I thought was going to be a disaster. We had nothing in common, had completely different lifestyles (I was in grad school and she was working) and were not even on the same body clock timewise. It was great!!! We were warm and cordial to each other on the very infrequent times we were in the apartment at the same time; she was very social and was out every night after work when I needed quiet to study, she went away almost every weekend, she was quiet at home because she had talked herself out at work all day. And she was really clean and liked things done "her way" in terms of housekeeping.

    Did we have anything in common? Zero. But if you needed a roommate to cover expenses, a cordial but never there roommate is the one to get!!!!
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  • VinceLestradeVinceLestrade 145 replies12 threads Junior Member
    @blossom — That’s really good advice. I’d definitely consider pursuing a less-popular dorm in order to get a better room. I also look forward to getting a roommate.
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  • TS0104TS0104 1133 replies29 threads Senior Member
    FYI I've never heard of a power hungry or overbearing RA. The few complaints I've heard are more the other way (not effective enough). As you now know, it's a student, who went after this position and was trained...they won't be out to make any enemies, they live there too. But they are somewhat of a low level authority figure on the premises. Do they roam the halls each night looking for transgressions? No. But they are there, if someone needs to report something or needs some help.

    As for personal space, my kids' experiences have been that any entering of rooms without an invitation is only done as a pre-notified Health/Safety inspection. I believe that you could google this for your schools (or "housing policies") to see how this works.
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  • VinceLestradeVinceLestrade 145 replies12 threads Junior Member
    @TS0104 — That’s good advice. I don’t want anyone invading personal space, but I certainly respect Health and Safety procedures. Additionally, I am happy there are people there to help when requested.
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  • thumper1thumper1 76586 replies3391 threads Senior Member
    In an emergency, where I was an RA, we could enter rooms to make sure students were safe. For example, if a fire alarm went off in the middle of the night, it was our responsibility to make sure no one was left in their rooms. Believe it or not people sleep through the fire alarms. If one went off, our RAs did knock loudly first, but if no one on answered, we had keys to unlock rooms to make sure they were empty and not holding a sleeping student.

    Safety reason...and thankfully doesn’t happen often.
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  • VinceLestradeVinceLestrade 145 replies12 threads Junior Member
    @thumper1 — Certainly, I respect all safety procedures effective in dorms. It’s always good to have somewhere there to help out in emergencies.
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