In Wannamaker residence hall, senior Kira Panzer is responsible for 70 residents, twice as many as most resident assistants.
Panzer has 62 residents on the third floor—the same number of residents on the first floor and second floor, each of which has two RAs—and eight residents on the fourth floor. However, there are no immediate plans to relieve Panzer of some of the burden of assisting 70 students. Joe Gonzalez, interim assistant vice president of student affairs and dean for residential life, said that HRL will discuss whether to hire more RAs in the 2018-2019 academic year later this semester.
“I really hope there can be another RA added so that I can get to know how my residents are feeling and be their friend when necessary," Panzer said.
However, Panzer added that another RA was not absolutely necessary. Wannamaker has a total of 220 residents and six RAs, wrote Gonzalez in an email. So despite Panzer's large share of residents, the student-to-RA ratio is 36, which "falls within the general range of ratio on campus,” Gonzalez noted.
Since RAs are responsible for providing residents with resources, they must get to know their residents’ needs and interests. With 70 residents under her purview, Panzer must not only learn the names and corresponding dorm numbers of every resident, but also program on a regular basis for those residents.
“For the first several weeks of the semester, I must plan at least one activity a week," she said. "Essentially it's my job to connect the residents and build a community. I also have to take on-call shifts, open doors for locked-out residents, meet with other staff and report facility issues.”
Panzer added that she will have to figure out she will balance her busy schedule and concurrently get to know each of her 70 residents on a deeper level. Although she is planning leaving notes for every resident, she added that it would be too time consuming to knock on all hers residents' doors and start up conversations with them like other RAs do.
Panzer's desire to form deeper relationships with her residents and provide them with resources coincides with what HRL wants from its RAs. Gonzalez said RAs should connect students with necessary resources on campus, specifically regarding mental wellness and study abroad opportunities.
Still, some Wannamaker residents don't see the need for an additional RA. Sophomore Yifan Wang said that upperclassmen do not utilize their RAs nearly as much as first-years and junior Suman Bajgain-Ghimire agreed
“I think it affects the RA more than the students, because students don’t really contact their RA unless they, for example, get locked out of their rooms,” Bajgain-Ghimire said.
Editor's note: The Chronicle spoke with Gonzalez both over the phone and via email.
Correction: This article was update Friday night to reflect that Panzer said that hiring another RA was not necessary.