During a normal school year, there are 62 full-time RA’s on campus. After the news broke that students would be asked to move out early and leave campus, Residents Assistants were deemed unnecessary and their positions terminated March 17. Although most students did decide to leave campus, nearly 150 decided to stay in campus housing, leading Residence Life to rehire 9 RA’s to continue campus rounds and other RA duties.
The RA’s that were hired back to do work in the buildings and continue to be a helping hand to those who are still on campus were picked on a first-come-first-serve basis. Camdon Anderson is one of the RA’s who stayed on campus.
NO Place to Go
“I decided to stay for a couple of reasons—the first and biggest reason is that I have nowhere else to go or live. I am a trans individual without an accepting family and it would not be a healthy or safe environment to return to. The second is that I accepted a job after graduation in Residence Life at UW-Eau Claire. I wanted to gain my experience and knowledge of working with Residence Life during this difficult time.”
Camdon has been an RA for two years and described the work they are continuing to do. “Our responsibilities right now are split into two categories: duty and hourly work. Duty takes place from 9 PM-12 AM every night and each RA is required to have rounds three times a week. We do two sets of rounds through all the campus buildings. The first at 9:15 to check for any maintenance or security issues, and the second at 11 to ensure the safety of those on campus. We are required to do three duty shifts a week.
The other portion of our job is done on a week-by-week and hourly basis. These responsibilities change on a week-to-week and day-to-day basis that reflect the current needs and policies. Currently, we are divided up into teams and are completing a bag and tag process. Because students were asked to leave on such short notice, and were not required to clean, we are going through the rooms and collecting any items that were left behind, logging them, and putting them in storage to be picked up. We are also completing room inspections in rooms or apartments that are completely vacant so that the commercial cleaners can come in to clean the spaces.”
RA’s that are completing this work is receiving compensation for duty/rounds by having their housing rates covered until the end of the semester. For all other hourly work that is done throughout the week, RA’s are paid $10 an hour.
Changed Whole Jobs
The COVID RA position is drastically different from usual RA work. “As a COVID RA, we are basically doing the opposite of what we are trained, Camdon added. “Staying away from others, not interacting with our residents, not holding events or programs… this virus has changed our whole job.”
COVID RA’s are set to stay on campus until the end of the semester; it is unclear if this position will continue in the summer term.
Written by Shelby Smith 64.5 | 8.2
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