The secret life of RD’s: The ins and outs of resident directors
Published in the September 14, 2016 issue of The Bells
Most students know resident directors as the adult figures who enforce rules and make sure everyone is keeping their rooms spotless. But, Resident Directors are so much more than rule-keepers.
“We manage the building, inform them of the rules, and try to make their [resident’s] experience as pleasant as possible,” Gettys Hall Resident Director Brian Street said.
“I think it’s easy to view an RD as a law enforcer, but the conversations we get to have with the students are sometimes overlooked. I think our impact on the students is underestimated.”
The university has a team of 13 resident directors who live on-site with the students to mentor them, answer questions, and ensure the overall health and safety of the students in their living quarters.
College View Resident Director Rebeka Retta has spent almost 30 years as an RD at UMHB, including 25 years at Burt Hall and two-and-a-half years at College View. She has many memories of her residents and their exploits.
“I’ve always thought I should write a book one day about just different things that happen in the resident halls and apartments… I could have a chapter on freshmen, a chapter on sophomores… because everybody does funny things.”
Retta fondly recalls an incident with one of her RAs.
While Retta was in Burt, one of her RAs made copies of the room check rules and slid the list under the residents’ doors.
“When we got together after room check, I said, ‘How’d room checks go?’ and the one who’d slid the note goes, ‘mine went really good, but it was interesting when I went into the room, the papers were right there on the floor where I slid them.”
“The next day she came to me and said, ‘I know why the papers are there. I took the sign down that was on the wall to make copies. Look at what the sign says.’ The sign said these are the rules, make sure you follow these rules, and do not remove this sign [from the wall]. When she made that copy, the girls looked down at the floor and they left that paper right there.”
Street, who has been the resident director of Gettys for three years, enjoys the camaraderie shared between the male residents.
“I think the funniest things are the pranks that the guys try to play on each other. The inside jokes are a lot of fun, especially when ping pong nicknames start.”
But there are times when residents do not want to follow the rules, and according to 6-year Independence Village Resident Director Chris Green, this is the hardest part of the job.
“The calls at 2:00 in the morning from an RA because there’s a wild party going on and I have to inspect the apartment for alcohol and other prohibited items is never any fun. But it happens and we just move on.”
Resident Directors enjoy working and developing relationships with their resident assistants.
“Having a group of students who are committed to service and ministry, and interacting and mentoring to them is real key,” Retta said. “If I can pour into the RAs, they can turn around and pour into the residents.”
As an ordained minister, Green had the privilege of performing the marriage ceremony for two of his RAs.
“They started dating each other and got engaged. I got to officiate their wedding for them. That was a really cool moment for me. To be able to have an impact on the lives of these RAs that goes beyond the job is a big thing for me.”