by Jeff Peters
Coordinator of Residence Life
In the U.S, resident assistants
came into the spotlight when an RA at Seton Hall University in New Jersey
was honoured recently for saving the lives of a number of freshmen on
his floor during a fatal fire in January 1999.
That opportunity for heroism fortunately hasnt come up at Concordia,
where six student Resident Assistants are hired each year to aid in the
transition of 144 new students to university life.
Student RAs juggle full-time studies with what equates to more than a
full-time job, as they live where they work and work where they live.
This is all done for minimal pay. In fact, it has been jokingly calculated
many times by RAs across the country that their pay works out to about
17 cents per hour, by no means a stretch.
The dedication these students show to incoming students is extraordinary.
In late August, they are trained in basic counselling skills, mediation
and conflict management, first aid and CPR, and, most importantly, attentive
listening, as home sickness and second-guessing decisions to move away
from home are two of the biggest dilemmas that our students face.
This years staff comprises Tammy Edson (Studio Arts), Audrey Lefebvre
(Communication Studies), Ann Marie Brescio (Spanish), Ian Reimer (Mechanical
Engineering), and Josh Lewis (Theatre). Paul Murphy (Education, TESL)
has come back for a second year and is the Senior RA.
RAs have to put their lives and schoolwork on hold many times throughout
the course of the school year to help out their fellow students. They
get little recognition, but these six students will leave lasting impressions
on every student who lives here. I cannot thank them enough for the fantastic
job they do day in and day out. They are wonderful people.
The training of the RAs would not be possible without the generosity of
Counselling and Development, Environmental Health and Safety, and Health
Services. Residence now falls under the care of Health Services Director
Melanie Drew. The staff will be working with Health Educator Owen Moran
to implement new educational programs for the benefit of all residents.