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Jaguar Hall R.A.s enjoy perks, interaction of job watching over residents

Jan. 15, 2011 at 3:04 p.m.
Updated Jan. 14, 2011 at 7:15 p.m.

Gerald Kelley, Jaguar Hall maintenance supervisor, points out safety features to Resident Advisers, from left,  Lauren Clark, Anita Strange, Ashley Kellis-Carr and Moses Olukoya.

Some students dive right into university life, while others may have an adjustment period after they leave home. Resident Advisers, or R.A.s, are there for both kinds of students at the University of Houston-Victoria's Jaguar Hall.

"How they adjust depends on the person. One rewarding thing about being an R.A. is just being there for those who need to talk to someone or just vent," said Ashley Townsend, the veteran R.A. on a team of five at Jaguar Hall.

This will be the second semester the residence hall is open after UHV's expansion to add freshmen and sophomores. Another dorm is planned for a fall 2012 opening.

The diverse R.A. group is charged with working with management and staff to keep maintenance and discipline to a minimum, and to maximize responsible enjoyment of the college experience for their fellow college freshmen.

"You've got to be patient and not let the little things get to you," Townsend said. "I learned to just take a step back, breathe and then keep going."

At 23, Townsend is an older student, and that gives her some perspective that benefits the freshmen.

"It's a good bit of work. There are a lot of handouts, paperwork, plus planning and holding events," said Townsend, who held weekly study hall sessions for other Jaguar Hall residents in the fall. "But it is a unique and fun experience, too."

Jaguar Hall is run by American Campus Communities, which has a contract with UHV.

R.A.s must work a minimum of 15 hours each week and are paid with room and board for the semester. For each hour they work over 15, they receive $7.25 per hour.

Problems can present themselves to R.A.s in the form of noise and other discipline issues. And even though ACC uses roommate matching techniques, sometimes conflicts arise. R.A.s must manage and report these problems while keeping up with their own studies.

"Things are going to happen," said Anita Strange, a Victoria resident who wanted the full college experience, so she moved into the dorms. "We're in a dorm with about 200 students, most of whom are away from home for the first time."



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