CMU Resident Assistants (RAs) go above and beyond the expectations’ of their residents. Even though a huge responsibility looking after students, RAs greatly impact students, guiding them throughout the year and leaving them with wonderful memories at the end.
Personally, I have absolutely loved my RAs. Living in two dorms my freshman year was not the ideal situation, but my RAs helped me throughout the process and throughout the course of this year. My RA experiences have been completely different—yet both memorable—as I have encountered both a male and female RA.
Junior Christy Sparks was assigned Garfield’s fourth floor this year, mentoring me in my first three months of school. If you were to ask any girl on that floor, they would only tell you positive things about Sparks. She truly puts her heart and soul into everything she does, but really emphasizes making everyone feel welcomed and loved.
Sparks also invests a great deal of time into her monthly programs to make them fun for her residents, planning extravagant events such as “Spa Nights.” Resident Brooke Martin used the adjectives “sassy, sweet, diligent and trustworthy” to describe Sparks.
“What makes her the best RA is that she really cares about her girls and does her best to connect with them. She puts forth her best effort into everything she does,” Martin said.
Sparks not only made an effort to get to know me, but was constantly helping me with everything when I lived in Garfield. From braiding my hair late at night to comforting me through a death in my family to genuinely forming a treasured friendship with me, Sparks deserves an award for best RA.
As a Junior, Sparks explained that her previous RAs inspired her to take on such a position herself.
“I saw this an opportunity to become a mentor and role model to Freshman and other peers on campus and tell them that they have friend right away in college,” Sparks said.
She has made great connections through this job, especially with all the other RAs on campus. Her biggest challenge in this position of leadership is drawing the line between being a friend and an authoritative figure.
After I moved into Wingate Hall, Ben Linzey became my RA. Although probably not his first choice, Linzey does an excellent job caring for an all-girls floor. He is always writing encouraging messages on our community board throughout each week, usually including an inspirational quote for us. Despite his busy schedule, being ASG’s Student Body President and a nursing student, Linzey is constantly lending a hand to help all his residents, saying if we need anything, he’s there for us.
“I wanted to be an RA because I love helping people. I’m a pre-med major, so helping people is kind of what I do—it’s in my nature,” Rait Hall RA, BJ Long, said.
Long is easy going and laid back. People are constantly reaching out to Long and would all say that he is an amazing RA who can always make them laugh. He likes to help students figure out their issues and let them grow.
“I’m not looking to be your mom or dad, I’m here to help you guys,” Long said.
His biggest challenge as RA is remember that everyone is an individual and encounters different problems.
Students across campus form incredible bonds with RAs, speaking highly of their characters. Freshman Carley Jackson described her RA, Emily Reiter, as caring, compassionate, helpful, and a go-getter”.
“What makes Emily the best RA is that she treats everyone like family and makes sure they all have a place to call home at CMU,” Jackson said.
Jackson said Reiter has helped her make an easy transition between high school and college. Her favorite program was their white elephant gift exchange with hot cocoa.
“She is the best at creating cute invitations to place on our doors for those events,” Jackson said.
Another Freshman Lillian Turton described her RA, Christina Woshner, as funny, kind, caring, and trustworthy.
“She genuinely cares about everyone in our hall. She always asks me how I’m doing with friends and family, school, and if I need anything. Every time she asks if anything is wrong, she’d be ready to listen and have a conversation with me,” Turton said.
One of her favorite programs involved facial masks, and eating chips and salsa.