Residential Adviser: one job where you can’t clock out

Tori Scala

Residential Advisers do so much for the UVM community, the least we can give them in return is a substantial paycheck, and be truthful of what the job entails.

As an RA at UVM, your room and board is waived. This might seem tempting to possible applicants, but once they hear the real truth of being an RA, they should rethink their decision.

Junior Tyme Finnerty is an RA this school year as a part of the Wellness Environment.

To no surprise, her experiences being an RA were not what she expected.

“I definitely consider being an RA a full-time job,” Finnerty said. “I’m constantly thinking about the residents in my hallway and elsewhere in the building.”

If the stressors of being on call 24/7 were not enough, Finnerty said she and her colleagues spend more than 30 hours a week doing hands-on work as well.

The issue is not that a fulltime job is bad by any means. The fault rests with Residential Life for putting too much stress on college students.

I can’t imagine keeping on top of my school work, extra-curricular activities and then my full time job.

If you consider what RAs do, it is a lot more than holding the inconvenient floor meeting everyone wants to skip.

The average student’s room and board is near $12,492 for the entire academic year, according to the UVM website.

The perk of getting this fee waived as an RA is great until it interferes with a student’s financial aid packages.

“RA compensation can affect each person’s financial aid differently,” according to the UVM Student Financial Services website.

This means that for some unlucky RA’s, they may be cheated out of essential financial aid.

RA compensation should not affect financial aid.

Finnerty has heard from fellow students that other universities offer their RAs stipends to reward them for their work.

According to Finnerty, RAs have asked for stipends through the RA council.

To no surprise the RAs’ request for stipends was shot down.

In my mind RAs are doing the University a favor.

I certainly cannot imagine a dorm without any sort of RAs. It would be complete chaos.

Amidst all these negatives, Residential Life representative Brandin Howard has apparently heard students complain for long enough to make some changes.

“For the upcoming school year, returning RAs, called Lead Residential Advisers, will receive 500 additional meal points as part of their remuneration,” Howard said. “Additionally, students will attend a student leadership conference.”

I’ll take what  I want from this breakthrough information, but I still think RAs should be rewarded somehow and waived room and board should not be the only perk.

Along with increased pay, RAs should be told up front how many hours they will be truly working. It is bad enough that they have to endure the stress of a 24/7 job.

As for what will come of the RA position in the future, we will just have to wait and see. Hopefully Residential Life hears the current RAs’ complaints and frustrations and takes a positive stance on this pressing issue.