Babson’s RAs: Building Bonds Beyond Residence Halls
It’s a statement overheard in nearly all Babson College residence halls during the frantic hustle and bustle of move-in day: “I’m trusting you with my baby.”
Delivered with a handshake, a self-deprecating laugh, or an intense stare, parents are almost always speaking to a resident assistant. And, though they laugh along, resident assistants understand this major trust.
“It’s an incredible responsibility,” said Olivier Melay ’25, a third-year resident assistant (RA). “It’s also very gratifying. This is the first glimpse, for both the parents and students, of what everyday life at Babson is like.”
Creighton Williams ’24 knew he would be an RA only months after his first move-in day.
“My first year at Babson I felt like I kind of already functioned as an RA,” Williams said. Now serving as head resident assistant, Williams was able to help fellow students and kept a list of helpful tips on his phone that he still updates. “It’s pretty basic, things like staying on top of email and connecting with your professor.”
Briana Campos ’24, an RA for third- and fourth-year students, was inspired by and impressed with an RA who helped her through a difficult first year at Babson.
“I really appreciated my RA’s presence in helping me take care of myself and show me the resources that were available,” Campos said. Plus, many assume that third- and fourth-year students don’t need much help. “I want to make sure that support continues throughout the undergraduate experience.”
Above and Beyond
Aiding overwhelmed student-athletes, guiding students through academic struggles, and dealing with breakups of high school sweethearts are all par for the RA course.
But, every RA has at least one story in which they’ve gone beyond their typical RA responsibilities.
“One day I got this text message from a number I didn’t recognize. Turns out it was a parent telling me that her son was very sick,” Melay said. The mom said her first-year son couldn’t leave his dorm; but needed basic supplies. “I let her know right away that I’d be able to help,” Melay said. He stocked up on Gatorade, chicken soup, Kleenex, and other supplies and left them outside the student’s door.
A first-generation college student, Campos is particularly proud of her work with Babson’s Semillas Society, a group of first-gen students. This is the first semester those students will be living in the special interest housing.
“It’s a part of my identity that I hold dearly,” Campos said. “I’m glad I get to be a part of the first semester. It’s nice to be able to help develop the community from inside and outside of the building.”
Being an RA involves planning events, engaging with residents, and fostering a supportive environment, the jam-packed role is not without challenges. Managing academic commitments alongside the emotional well-being of residents presents occasional hurdles.
“I was surprised how managing school and the responsibilities as an RA can have a major impact,” Melay said. “Juggling all those things and making sure you are bringing the best version of yourself for your residents can be challenging.”
Campos was friends with many of the students she now oversees on a personal level. Setting boundaries and navigating the shift from friend to include her RA job was an unexpected snag.
“I had to make sure to let them know that now if you tell me something, I might have to report it,” she said, underlining the delicate balance between maintaining friendships and the responsibilities of the role.
The many benefits of becoming an RA, in addition to representing the College and being able to help fellow students, make the challenges worth it.
“It looks great on a resume, because it’s great leadership experience,” Williams said. “You get a lot of access to the resources on campus, and you get a single room.”
Just as RAs seek to create a sense of community among their student residents, many find that their fellow RAs become a family.
“I’ve got great relationships with other RAs on campus who I can reach out to at any time and have a conversation, and that’s been so helpful,” Melay said.
In the end, Campos said Babson’s RA camaraderie has boosted her entire college experience.
“The community of RAs and how we support each other has been huge for me,” Campos said. “We established a family that’s so amazing, and that’s what made the process and experience at Babson so cool.”
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