Due to the transition to online, campus life is lonelier than ever this semester
Social distancing policies forces Resident Advisors to rely on tools like social media and video-chatting to stay in touch with students. To make up for the lack of in-person events, housing is putting on several Grab-N-Go programs this semester, where students pick up supplies and participate in door decorating competitions from the safety of their dorms.
Generally speaking, RA responsibilities include daily room and floor rounds, enforce housing policies and provide connections to resources for students in their building.
Stephen St. Onge is the associate vice president for student success at HSU. According to Onge, the RA job responsibilities have not changed, besides the move to online.
The most notable impact of the pandemic on RAs has been on the ability to encourage students to engage with the campus community.
“They are still doing outreach to their residents virtually,” Onge said. “They are still doing duty rounds, the programming, they are just doing it a little bit differently.”
Victor Garcia Balderas is a second year RA. Balderas feels the blackouts of last fall and the transition to online in the spring has prepared him as an RA.
“Because it is my second year as an RA, I feel I have a grasp of how things work,” Balderas said. “I’m flexible and have been hit with so many random events like last year when we had the blackouts.”
Last semester, Balderas worked with new students. In contrast, this semester he works with returning and transfer students. Balderas says these students tend to already have established their own communities, making engagement much more challenging.
Director of Residence Life Donyet King believes engaging with students during a pandemic just requires some outside of the box thinking.
“We have to get really creative about it,” King said. “Initially when programs were held online, people were still adjusting to the pandemic.”
Despite the efforts of housing to fabricate a sense of normality, the single occupancy policy, while necessary, generates an unavoidable sense of isolation for dorm students.
“I’ve gotten lonely and a little bit sad,” Balderas said. “I feel like I am alone.”