More chances to apply to be a CA

by Allison Wickler

Students will now have two more chances each year to become a residence hall community adviser.

Housing and Residential Life now offers a spring, summer and fall opportunity to submit applications to be a community adviser – a live-in student whose job is to create a sense of community and to be a role model for residents.

Previously, the application process occurred in the spring. Summer and fall deadlines are in May and October, respectively. Accepted students receive a room, a meal plan and a stipend.

Grant Anderson, coordinator of staffing, education and research for Housing and Residential Life, said the new system allows more flexibility for students who start or graduate from school at different times, and for study abroad students who are gone during the spring application period.

“By having only one window a year for people to apply, we felt like we were promptly losing students,” he said.

He said he expects about 150 students to apply during this spring session. Applications for spring are due in January. Ten students applied during the first summer session and 20 applied this fall.

Anderson said there are 147 community adviser positions and 60 to 80 previous advisers return each year.

Qualified applicants not selected will be placed in a pool for one calendar year.

Every year, about six community advisers typically decide to leave at the semester break and the pool can be used to fill spots.

Environmental science and policy management sophomore Mel Collins said it was more convenient for her to apply in fall than during the spring session so she can become financially independent.

This is also the third year applicants must complete a five-week, eight-session leadership workshop as part of the application process, which Anderson said lets housing officials learn more about the candidates than in the one or two interviews they had before.

He said though the workshop is time-consuming, the applicants who participate seem more serious about getting the job.

It also shows candidates more about the job than they could learn on paper, he said.

“To be sitting in a job you don’t like two weeks after starting is a horrible place to be, especially when your housing is tied to the job,” Anderson said.

Before the workshop, Anderson said there were more applicants, but they seemed less prepared for the job, and more community advisers would leave in the fall because the job wasn’t a good fit for them.

Collins said she was skeptical of attending the workshop at first.

“I couldn’t understand why they would put in so much time when they don’t even know if they’re going to hire you,” she said.

But Collins said by attending the workshop she learned more about problems students face.

Theater senior Jamison Tooley, a second-year community adviser in Middlebrook Hall, said the workshop seemed kind of odd when he went through it, but he knew it was the way to get to know the applicants.

He said aside from coordinating programs and monitoring the hall, he decided to continue being an adviser for social reasons, including meeting the students on his floor.

“I look at it as more than a requirement to hang out with the residents,” Tooley said. “Making those connections is important.”