by Gregory Hill Thinking about becoming a resident assistant but want to go abroad? Can’t decide whether to work as a student teacher or have an internship? A recent change in the RA application process allows students to partake in a position as an RA one semester while participating in the study abroad program, student teaching or internships the other semester. “I am highly concerned about maintaining and getting higher quality RAs,” said Laura Cantrell, assistant director of Residence Life. Of the 91 applicants, 48 positions need to be filled and five applicants wish to go abroad, according to Cantrell. Of the 19 returning RAs, two wish to go abroad. “I do not think a slight change in the staff will strike discord,” Cantrell said. “This year for various reasons, we have changed five RAs during the year. We are looking to hire the most qualified students first and foremost.” Last semester, two RAs resigned or were dismissed from their positions in Residence Life staff. During winter break, three more RAs resigned from the department for personal reasons. According to Cantrell, the Residence Life department was concerned with how students might react to an RA swap mid-year. However, this was weighed against the experience and guidance of an RA who studies abroad would give to the floor. “Over half of the students changed this year with the study abroad program,” she said. “With that much movement, the entire community altered and having RAs who could understand the changes a student feels going abroad and returning is important to that population.” The current agenda is to have year-long RAs on freshmen floors in Jogues, Regis and Campion. If students are swapping for study abroad, internships or student teaching, they have the possibility to work in Kostka, Claver, Gonzaga or Dolan. “I would not want the entire building staff to change,” she said, “but one or two staff members would be wonderful. They could help the students apply to study abroad, prepare to travel, or even in the process of adjusting back to Fairfield,” Cantrell sees the change as an opportunity for RAs who have studied abroad to help sophomores prepare for the study abroad process and juniors undergo it. She said that she does not anticipate any problems with the future changes. “The staffs I have worked with over the last 15 years have adapted so well to change and accepted new members readily,” she said. Vanessa Roscoe ’07 is an RA in Regis and plans to go abroad spring semester; however, she is opting not to be an RA for the first semester. “I think coming in mid-year is really difficult to do and the residents don’t accept it as readily as many think,” Roscoe said. “It’s not the most ideal situation and harder on the RA.” Roscoe said that if she were to be an RA again, she would want to be an RA for the entire year because she and her residents benefit more from it. As far as the option applies to other RAs, she feels it is a good way to make the job more attractive to a larger pool of students. Lauren Blanchette ’06, who is applying for a position as an RA next year and is trying to go abroad has a similar opinion. “Now I know that I can be an RA during the fall and still go away the spring semester,” she said of the new Residence Life practice. “It definitely makes the job more attractive.” She doesn’t think swapping RAs is an issue because the application process is so particular and applicants must be qualified. The RAs will be given half of the benefits typically given for an entire school year. Future RAs will be notified March 16 of their acceptance. “I think if I were to leave someone could take my place and do as good of a job,” said Blanchette.