Advice for Residential Life Staff
Most traditional campuses follow a similar administrative structure including a director of residential services, professional staff called Resident Directors (RDs). RDs oversee various halls and structures, and student workers who serve as Resident Advisors (RAs) who watch over smaller groups of students on each floor of the hall. Common problems addressed by residential life staff include roommate conflicts, mediations around living conditions, responding to mental health concerns, relationship difficulties, and alcohol and substance abuse violations in the halls. Many schools experience a wide range of diversity in their halls which brings with it a series of challenges as well as benefits. The chapter is designed to highlight some more challenging case examples and offer advice related to the three phases of calming the initial crisis, motivating and inspiring change, and managing the ongoing behavior. This backdrop can provide unique opportunities to grow and learn from the differences while simultaneously offering potential flash-points for conflict and frustrations.