According to Pierre Lourens, a residence assistant at The University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, the job of a residence assistant is “to be kind to to all my residents and act with compassion toward them in all situations.”
With this in mind, RA’s have many responsibilities throughout the school year. RA’s at UNC Chapel Hill are required to plan programs each month, be available on their floor, and be on duty three times a month. Being on duty constitutes being available to respond to emergencies that a student may have.
There is a very strong stereotype on RA’s as well. The RA is considered by many to be a strict disciplinarian who is out to ruin everyone’s fun. Lourens defies this stereotype by promoting sociability on the floor and making friends with residents in general. Lourens has not written anyone up for alcohol this year and feels that disciplinarian has not been his biggest role.
To some students, resident assistants are an essential asset to adapting to life in the dorm. According to Will Bennett, Leesville alum and student at North Carolina State University, “My RA is my guiding light socially and academically. He tells me the best studying techniques and where to party.”
Bennett also went to his resident assistants when the janitorial staff threatened to lock the students out of their bathroom. There seems to be no amount of praise Bennett can offer his RA to adequately capture how influential he has been in his life.
Many students feel that without an resident assistant on their floor they would feel dazed and confused. Resident assistants are considered by most to be the way that dorms run smoothly.