Welcome New Residential Living Assistants

Washburn surprised the community Friday, Feb. 22 at the Residential Assistant Reveal party in honor of the new recruits that were chosen. 

The Residence Life coordinator Jack Van Dam explained that the staff definitely had a great deal of applicants to choose from but finalized their decision by recruiting 11 new residential living assistants and 10 new alternates. Van Dam explained that their initial decision was based on the applicant’s involvement, recommendations, maturity and team fit. One of the main factors of choosing a residential living assistant was someone who has the time to commit to that position. There were a number of dedicated contenders to choose from.

The excitement of the Residential Living Assistant Reveal Party was dedicated for the new recruits.

“It was a lot of fun. It was the first year that we did it, and I think it went over really well,” Van Dam said. “In the past, RAs found out if they were placed via email, and this year we really wanted to be more intentional and meaningful while revealing the RA positions.”

The recruiting process is based on a series of essay questions and individual evaluations followed by a group interview.

Van Dam explained his hopes for the new recruits.

“I hope the RAs that we hired will really take an opportunity to really to get to know their residents, and not only get to know them, but to create a home away from home, and be their resident’s biggest cheerleaders,” Van Dam said. “Additionally, I hope everyone is able to learn and grow through their experience and has a great time helping their residents to do so as well.”

Ally Rakestraw, new recruit of the Washburn University Living Learning Center, believes Van Dam and his hiring crew made a great decision in their choice. 

“I truly want to become friends with these people and grow along with them,” said Rakestraw.

The Residential Living assistants are provided for students to have a mentor on campus as they adjust to campus life throughout their college career, however the assistant should express a common interest in each member of their home and work at achieving a family-like relationship with the students, and that is what the new recruits promised to aspire. Students and their designated residential living assistant should establish a close enough bond to ensure that the student feels comfortable enough with their RA to genuinely confide in them.

Rakestraw was inspired by her previous residential living assistant and wanted to become one herself.

“In the LLC I found myself and my forever friends. My RA was there for me when I had hard times. She was also there to make college fun. The res living on campus is a place where students grow together academically and mentally as an adult,” Rakestraw said. “I explored new things and truly had a fun time. I will never forget the way I felt in the LLC and I am hoping I can give another student the same experience.”