It takes a certain kind of student leader to turn a residence hall into a home. For Clemson University Resident Assistants, community building comes with the job. Meet four RAs who love shaping on-campus communities so much, they’ve come back for seconds – or thirds.
Management and psychology double major
RA for Community for Undergraduate Business Students (CUBS) in Douthit Hills East
What do you think students gain by living on campus? I think you gain experiences. In housing, we have a motto, “Live where your life is.” If you’re at Clemson and you aren’t living on campus, you’re missing out on part of the Clemson experience.
What are some events that you have done? Because Douthit Hills is a large community and has a lot of space, we do a lot of block party activities. We’ve done pumpkin decorating and had food and played volleyball. Douthit Hills also has a water deck, so when it’s warm, we have events by the water deck.
Why did you become an RA? My freshman year, I had two great RAs who really impacted my life. That experience made me ready to impact other people’s lives. I love helping people, and I love having daily, one-on-one interactions with residents. At the end of my first year as an RA, I had one resident tell me I was the reason they stayed in Clemson. That was pretty special.
RA for Residents in Science and Engineering (RISE) in Byrnes and Lever halls
What are some highlights from your RA experience? Last year, my Graduate Community Directory told me I should apply to be a Peer Dialogue Facilitator. A Peer Dialogue Facilitator leads conversations like the freshman community dialogues for CU 1000. This has become a huge part of my Clemson experience, and I don’t think I would have applied if my Graduate Community Director hadn’t encouraged me.
What are some events your community has hosted? I recently did an Adopt-a-stream event with Dr. Will Martin, a faculty fellow for RISE. We used water kits to measure the pH and oxygen levels of a local stream to check its health and observe its evolution. It was great to see first-year residents interact with a professor.
What is your favorite on-campus resource? As a STEM major, I love on-campus tutoring. We have tutoring at RISE, but the other resource I really stress to residents is the Academic Success Center because it has tutoring, study spaces and a ton of workshops. I also think good mental health is important for all students, so I like to recommend Counseling and Psychological Services as well.
RA and CDA in Manning and Mauldin
What do you do as a Community Development Assistant? First and foremost, I’m still an RA, so I support my residents and serve as a resource for them. But as a CDA, I get to do the same thing for my staff. In my community, this means that I focus on staff development. I help with key audit and weekly staff meetings, and I also check our monthly billboards and hold my fellow RAs accountable to our high standards.
Why did you become an RA? I was inspired by my RAs from my freshman year. I was impressed with how genuine and honest they were when they asked how I was doing. They also made these amazing billboards and detailed door decorations. Now that I’m an RA, I realize how much effort they put into making our residence hall a home.
Have you made any connections to Clemson faculty or staff as an RA? Dr. Bill Lasser and Mrs. Sue Lasser were my faculty-in-residence in the Honors Residential College. They came to all of our weekly staff meetings and invited residents into their apartment for game nights and study breaks. They were very involved and welcoming, and I feel like I could talk to them about anything.
RA for Stadium Suites
Why did you become an RA? I wanted to find my place in Clemson. As a freshman, I felt like I had a hard time making Clemson my own, and I missed my leadership involvement from high school. As a yearlong, daily commitment, the RA role seemed like the perfect fit. Part of the reason I decided to be an RA a second year is because I loved my fellow RA staff. It was an incredible group of people. I felt like I found my place. I think being an RA is a really healthy option to find great people who will support and motivate you.
What are some highlights from your RA experience? My second week as an RA, one of my residents disclosed that they struggled with mental health and were experiencing a depressive episode. As RAs, we are trained to manage these types of situations. It was scary, but I felt prepared. Right away, I connected her to the help she needed to manage her mental health. Whenever I reflect on my RA experience, this moment is the one that stands out.
What are some events your community has hosted? Last year, when I was an RA for first-year students in the Shoeboxes, we hosted “Boxtoberfest,” which was a huge fall event with popcorn, pumpkin carving, face painting and a costume contest. We also teamed up with CUPD for an alcohol awareness event with mocktails and vision-impairment goggles.
Think the RA role is right for you? Applications are available each fall through Clemson Housing & Dining. Resident Assistants receive an unlimited meal plan, reduced housing costs and a stipend of $4,020.
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