Faculty focus RA training on community, safety

Tyler Manning

Resident assistants work on decorations for their halls before students return from winter break at Legacy hall on
Friday, Jan 12, 2018. Photo by Francisco Martinez

To regroup and refresh on community and standards, the office of Residence Life and Housing hosted training sessions for the resident assistants from Jan. 8 — 12. in the Legacy Hall Multipurpose Room.

Norma Ramirez, assistant director of Residence Life, was in charge of coordinating the training sessions for the RA staff. She said the core themes that she wanted to highlight were community development and safety.

“If we had to pick the two most important topics or areas for our RAs to be trained and developed, those [community development and safety] are definitely the two that we would chose.” Ramirez said, “A lot of their job is slowly building relationships with residents, getting them connected at MSU, getting to know them and making them feel welcome.”

According to Ramirez, building a better community is dependent on the safety of the residence halls, and staff in the office of Residence Life and Housing are continuously looking at ways to improve community development.

“If students don’t feel safe where they live and we don’t attend to those areas, then we can’t begin to develop community because their worried about is this area safe,” she said.

Spring training offers a great opportunity to reflect back on the past semester and  Kristi Schulte, director of Residence Life, said spring training is always a good time to “bring the team back together, refocus our goals and priorities and to take a look at areas that we might want to have additional attention given to.”

Tera Humphrey, associate director of Residence Life, said despite only being her second RA training she liked it. According to her, the RAs also covered the topic of mental health in their training.

“We focused a lot on mental health because there have been so many mental health concerns that we have seen in the halls,” Humphrey said.

Representatives from different areas on campus presented workshops at the training. Those who presented at the training included Syreeta Green, director of Equity, Inclusion and Multicultural Affairs, Jesse Brown, coordinator of Student Organizations and Leadership Programming, representatives from the Counseling Center and Mario Ramirez, interim director of Student Affairs. Schulte said training focused on long term lessons and the fact that there is always room for improvement

“This semester we keep going back to these fundamentals and these principles of building community,” Schulte said. “We were able to have some excellent presenters come in and talk about the functions of the community and how they relate to the RA position. Even though training happens semester after semester, we’re all trying to reiterate the point that this is about life-long learning. You never know everything you need to know for this job. You can always sharpen your skills.”