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By L. Anne Newell
Arizona Daily Wildcat
November 13, 1997

Res. Life begins search for spring 98 RAs

So you say you wanna be an RA?

Residence Life is looking for a few good men and women to help in dormitories campuswide as resident assistants.

But the job isn't for just anyone, say people involved.

"Really take a look at why you want to be an RA," said Patrick McCafferty, an RA in Sierra Residence Hall.

"It requires you give a lot of your self," he added. "For people doing it to meet people, help others and make connections, this is a great job."

To find the cream of the candidate crop, the Department of Residence Life will conduct an RA selection process beginning Nov. 16 with the first of three information sessions.

Students interested in becoming a RA attend the meeting and receive a packet of necessary paperwork.

"People who do it just for room and board won't be happy," McCafferty, a molecular and cellular biology senior, said of RAdom.

"Someone inspired me, you could say," he said. "I came here and met someone who helped me figure out the intricacies of college life. I wanted to be in the same position for someone else, and this is the best way I could do that."

La Paz Residence Hall RA Antonietta Meli said time commitment is key.

"If a person wants to be involved with a lot of other things, they can't do that and be an RA," she said, "but there's a lot of people (out there) who'd make great RAs."

To qualify, perspective RAs must be sophomores or older with a 2.25 grade point average as of spring 1998 and, if selected, maintain that GPA through their RA year, said Kathy Adams Riester, hall director at La Paz and co-chairwoman of the RA selection process. She added the selection committee prefers students who have lived in a residence hall at least one semester.

After the information sessions, RA candidates take a seven-week-long spring semester leadership class, which attracted about 200 students last year.

"Each year it's hard to tell the number of (open) positions," Riester said of the 172 RA positions, most of which are filled by returning RAs.

There were 80 open positions last year, and the committee received 240 applications, she added.

After the class, candidates break into small groups, where selection committee members watch the students interact. The group meetings are followed by one-on-one interviews, Riester said.

After the final cut, she said the department maintains lists of alternates.

Along with on-duty hours, hall rounds and limited law enforcement, RAs should have good listening skills Riester said. They should have good problem solving skills and be able to listen to students with problems, she said.

In return for their work, RAs receive their dorm room for free, $600 a semester on their All Aboard account and learn many valuable job skills, Riester said.

But many resident assistants find the rewards of the job are more than monetary.

"I've grown a lot," said Meli. "It's worth it."

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