The primary resource for a first-year student is the resident adviser (RA). The RA is an upperclass student who has been selected through a competitive process, has undergone training for responding to student concerns, and is familiar with University resources.
RAs live in close proximity to their first-year students, usually on the same hall or floor. This person is a good first contact for a student if she or he is not sure where to go for help. The RA may know the answer, or may refer the student elsewhere.
The RA also sponsors programs and helps residents to organize their own activities. Programs vary, from simple social events that help students get to know one another to sessions that convey important information about safety or academic planning.
It is also a part of the RA’s responsibility to guide the community in responding to behavior that may violate the University’s Standards of Conduct (University Judiciary offenses) and the Housing & Residence Life agreement. Because the Resident Staff program operates under a peer support model, the RA often will encourage and expect first-year residents to approach one another and hold each person accountable. Finally, RAs know what to do in case of an emergency.