Community assistant applications released for the 2020-21 school year

Community assistant applications for 2020-2021 are open. Collegian File Photo.

CALVIN PRENKERT| NEWS REPORTER| cprenker@butler.edu

What do Childish Gambino, Adam Sandler and Hillary Clinton all have in common? Each served as a residential assistant at one point in time during their academic careers. Now, Butler’s office of residence life is hoping that Butler students will follow suit.

On Oct. 2, the new application process for becoming a community assistant was announced for the 2020-21 school year. The title, formerly known as resident assistant, changed this past summer to community assistant.

Sarah McClure, assistant director of residential education, sent out an email detailing the application process for those interested in becoming a CA.

McClure, who served as an RA as an undergraduate student, said being a CA provides a massive benefit.

“I think that I grew as a leader, and so if that’s something that somebody is really interested in having on as part of their Butler experience — leadership, involvement on campus and connection — this is a great role for that,” McClure said.

The office of residence life required interested students to attend one of four information sessions hosted within the last week.

Olivia Herrmann, a first year math and middle secondary education double major, attended one of the sessions with interest in learning more about the program.

“I had a lot of leadership positions in high school, and I think that becoming a CA would not only look good on a resume but help me as a professional,” Herrmann said. “It entails a lot of responsibility, like dealing with conflict, and as an education major that’s an important skill to have.”

As a current first-year student, Herrmann knows how hard it can be for students to make that jump to college and residential life.

“I know the transition to college for me was very difficult, so as a CA I want to make sure I’m there for the residents even if they just need someone to talk to or a shoulder to cry on,” Herrmann said.

After attending an information session, students can submit an application and then candidates will be selected for an interview. After their interview, they will be invited to take the CA class offered during the spring semester.

The class is six weeks long and will also serve as an evaluation process. The class is one credit hour, and is focused on the duties and responsibilities that CA’s will have. Students enrolled in the class will have to pass with a B or better to still be considered eligible to be a CA.

After the class, the residence life team will do an extensive file review, and let the accepted candidates know their appointment by March 6. Those who are not chosen will be placed on a waitlist in case someone is unable to fulfill the commitments.

CA’s have many different responsibilities, but McClure summarized their duties into three categories. The first is community development, such as planning activities and helping students bond. The second is initial crisis response or behavioral response, such as reporting and dealing with illegal items in the dorm room or helping locate resources for someone who is struggling mentally and emotionally. Finally there is a small component of administrative tasks of filling out paperwork for facility issues.

The duties have remained the same even though the name has changed from resident assistant to community assistant.

McClure said the name changed because the staff at the professional level are called assistant community directors and community directors; it follows the same structure.

“In addition, we wanted to be focused on the community aspect of what it’s like to live in a residence hall — how we can develop entire units of individuals living in that space that are inclusive and open to discovering more about individually yourselves but also as a community as well,” McClure said.

Sofia Campos, a junior communication sciences and disorders major, is a first year CA in Irvington House.

“I think I’ve grown a lot in leadership, community building and selflessness,” Campos said. “You’re a huge role model to not only those in your unit but also the units around you and other students in the building.”

Campos, who affectionately calls her residents her “kids,” wants to be there for the students who live in her unit through whatever may come.

“I’m someone who wants to help and be a helper,” Campos said. “I want to be there for my residents and I want them to feel like they have someone who will listen to them and that they have a voice.”

For those interested in being a CA, McClure hopes that they will pursue the opportunity while on Butler’s campus.

The application to be a CA closes Oct. 16.

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