Although freshmen, at times, feel comfort in knowing there is an Resident Assistant down the hall, juniors and seniors seem to have mixed emotions about still being “checked-up on” by someone, possibly younger then them, who is paid to enforce rules and regulations.
While freshmen at Temple utilize their RAs for everything from class scheduling to personal advice, it seems that the older one gets, the less frequent the visits to the RA become, and contact is often limited to a quick hello in the hallway.
Some Temple students feel that upperclassman could function without RAs, while others believe that RAs function as an important mediator between the University and its residents.
Criminal Justice major Ian Spino, a resident of Temple’s 1300 apartments, said that as a senior he doesn’t feel that having an RA around is necessary.
“I can take care of myself, and by this point I know the rules … Plus, I’m older than my RA,” Spino said.
Spino continued, saying that in the past few years he only used his RA if he was locked out or had a maintenance problem.
However, he was quick to admit that when he was a freshman he readily used, and needed, an RA.
“I looked up to him because he’d been at Temple and he knew what was going on …We needed an RA freshman year because without one it would have been pandemonium,” said Spino.
Spino atributed the fact that his current floor isn’t experiencing “pandemonium” to the reality that there is an RA on duty keeping people in line and documenting any problems.
“You know there’s a chance that you could get in trouble,” Spino said, but added, “Everything would probably still be okay without an RA as long as people weren’t partying in the study lounge.”
Spino’s roommate, fourth year architecture student Mike Boyer, said he also felt as though the RA’s presence was a deterrent to misbehavior, but added that the lack of disorder on his floor is due to students maturing over time.
“We’ve definitely matured,” Boyer said.
“A freshman dorm has RAs, yet there’s always stuff going on. Even the underclassmen suites in 1300 experienced vandalism last year.”
However, despite the fact that he believes older students show more maturity in the dorms, Boyer said upperclassmen RAs are a still a necessity at Temple.
“RAs are somebody in between yourself and the front office. If a problem arises, there’s always someone you can go to,” Boyer said.
Junior Melissa Zeiset serves as an RA in the 1300 building and echoed Boyer’s sentiments on the need for upperclassmen RAs.
“We provide a go between for residents and Temple University, as well as help to maintain organization in the dorms,” Zeiset said.
Zeiset said she wanted to be an RA for upperclassmen because she can relate better to older students.
Despite the fact that Zeiset is younger than some of her residents, she feels no awkwardness because of the age difference.
“Age difference doesn’t really come into play. Unless you’re a freshman, age doesn’t seem to be a recognized thing on a university campus,” Zeiset said.
Last year Zeiset served as an RA for a floor that consisted mainly of sophomores and said that she feels a difference now that her residents are juniors and seniors.
“Last year students came to me for personal, academic and housing questions … This year, a ‘hello’ in the hallways is about all I get,” said Zeiset.
Zeiset said that this lack of personal contact is due to the fact that upperclassman “know what they’re doing.”
She added that this factor does not make RAs for upperclassmen any less important than RAs for freshmen and sophomores.
While Zeiset’s is well aware that many junior and senior residents don’t feel that RAs are necessary, she is still conscious of her role as an RA.
“We are here to enforce policy and document what goes on in the residence halls so the University isn’t oblivious,” Zeiset said.
Alix Gerz can be reached at Agerz@temple.edu