Purdue News

August 10, 2005

Resident assistants prepare for year as 'primary resource'

WEST LAFAYETTE, Ind. – More than 260 Purdue students are on campus learning how to be better leaders, mentors and resources for their younger counterparts.

University Residences will hold its resident assistant training through Aug. 19, where new and returning resident assistants will go through one of the most intensive training programs of its type in the nation.

"Resident assistants play a vital role in each of Purdue's housing facilities," said Thomas M. Paczolt, Purdue's director of residential life. "They aren't babysitters – we treat our students like the adults they are – but resident assistants can help build a community environment in the halls. They also serve as a primary resource for residents as they progress through the school year."

During the 11-day training period, the students learn about topics including responding to crises, fostering diversity, conflict resolution and program planning, as well as strategies for helping residents in their day-to-day interactions.

Purdue's resident assistants live among residents of the university's 15 residence facilities. Each is on duty in the hall at least four nights a week, giving Purdue residence halls more of a continuous presence from trained resident assistants than any comparable university, Paczolt said. While on duty, resident assistants not only monitor the hall for conduct and safety issues, but also are available for students with problems and concerns.

In addition to working with students living on their floors, they are responsible for floor- and hall-wide education and social programs.

"Some of the most successful programs are those that provide students with tools for their future," Paczolt said. "For example, last year Young Hall won a national award for a program designed to help students keep their credit and finances intact.

"Seminars about things like resume writing and job interviewing are among the most well attended, and are an example of the ways that resident assistants help students build their futures."

Other programs can include pizza parties while watching football games, ski trips, self-defense seminars, study breaks and seminars about eating disorders, sexual assault prevention and substance abuse treatment.

Purdue University operates 15 residence facilities for students: Cary Quadrangle, Earhart Hall, Harrison Hall, Hawkins Hall, Hillenbrand Hall, Hilltop Apartments, McCutcheon Hall, Meredith Hall, Owen Hall, Purdue Village, Shreve Hall, Tarkington Hall, Wiley Hall, Windsor Halls and Young Hall.

More than 11,000 students live in Purdue residence halls each year, the largest number for a university that does not require any of its students to live on campus.

Writer: Matt Holsapple, (765) 494-2073, mholsapple@purdue.edu

Source: Thomas Paczolt, (765) 494-1000, tpaczolt@purdue.edu

Purdue News Service: (765) 494-2096; purduenews@purdue.edu


Note to Journalists: Journalists are invited to attend the "Incident Hall" session of residence hall training from 9 a.m. to noon Aug. 12 in Harrison Hall. During the exercise, students go to different rooms and experience role-playing scenarios they may encounter while in the residence halls.

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