Inconsistent Quality of Resident Counselors Hampers Student Life
By The Executive Board
Here’s the story of a select few students who opened their campus mailboxes to find a letter of congratulations; that’s the way they all became the RC bunch. Residential life selects students out of a pool of hundreds to commit to a full year of dealing with rambunctious freshmen, mature seniors and sophomores and juniors with a middle-child complex. As resident counselors, students are expected to create an open and sociable environment within their designated dormitory through self-availability, house events and a general family, feel-good attitude.

As the head of households, RCs are picked based on how they would respond to something as lame as spilled milk to more serious issues such as family problems; they are those who leave an open door and ear for their residents. In this respect, Residential Life does pick people who are genuine, friendly and outgoing; they are your best friends, your neighbors, the kid you sit next to in class. All of them have the potential to be that older sister you can talk to or that brother you can throw a Frisbee with.

Of course, you can measure any person’s potential, but it is their actions that truly count. For instance, it is vital, in fact required, for RCs to actually be involved with their residents by throwing the occasional study break to foster family-dorm bonding. Nothing is stranger than not knowing the name of your next-door neighbor who you meet at the bathroom every morning when you brush your teeth before heading to class.

An RC should not only be that nice, good-looking guy or that outgoing, cute girl but should work to create something we can all call home. Certainly, this is of utmost importance for those young-uns living in the freshmen quad. An RC is one of the first people you meet during your first day at Amherst and, therefore, leaves a impression that lasts all year. Cultural, faculty and community service events, in addition to study breaks, are the responsibility of each and every RC, and they should utilize all their resources to the fullest to promote a close, family-like feeling in their residences.

Unfortunately, not all RCs live up to their potential. Some rarely interact with their residents while others fail to organize events with their provided funding. Because they get monetary and living benefits, they have the responsibility to earn their positions, and this means being a vital leader in dormitory life. It is easy to blame Residential Life for hiring those students who either never had the motivation to begin with or who lose it on the way, but we must look to the RCs themselves. Each one must be wholeheartedly dedicated to his or her job and aware from the day they receive that congratulatory letter of the effort expected. Every year, RCs receive their evaluations, some good, some bad. Those who receive good evaluations get them deservedly, and it is safe to say that those who receive the bad ones deserve them, too. Consequences, too, should come with the bad evaluations because the point of an evaluation is to create an incentive to change.

Hopefully, all future RCs recognize the importance of their positions and work to improve the residential experience of their residents through thoughtfulness and humor. After all, what would the RC bunch without its residents’ laugh track?

Issue 17, Submitted 2010-03-03 04:51:28