Every semester, roughly 2,500 Colorado Mesa University students load their cars with lamps, comforters, hangers, full-length mirrors — all the dorm room essentials — and move into one of the 12, soon to be 13, residence halls on CMU’s campus. They get acquainted with their roommates, familiarize themselves with the space and become a part of the campus community.
As students leave their home to start anew, staff in the Residence Life Office quickly give them a sense of belonging, and not by accident. The team involved is carefully crafted, and all positions — including professional staff and student employees — have important roles to play to effectively serve campus residents through support, collaboration and educational mentorship. They build a safe space and foster growth through a positive, inclusive environment.
Student resident assistants (RAs), are peer-leaders who are directly responsible for making on-campus living a safe, fun and rewarding experience.
“RAs are student leaders who live on campus and make sure students are being engaged in activities, offered resources and are the first responders to any type of instance we have on campus,” said Residence Life Assistant Director Emily Bollinger.
The nearly 80 RAs are trained and supported by a dedicated team of professional staff members who rally behind them, including area coordinators and residence hall coordinators. These staff members play a crucial role in making sure RAs have what they need to succeed, and CMU regularly looks for great people to fill these coordinator positions. While RAs often apply for and take on a coordinator role following graduation, candidates don’t have to have resident assistant experience to join the team.
These full-time, entry-level positions are filled by diverse individuals with varying degrees who are responsible for day-to-day leadership and supervision of the student learning experience within the residence halls and connect with students regarding a number of subjects.
“Being a part of this professional staff, we not only help the students but we support the RAs,” said Resident Life Area Coordinator Greer Hanes. “Getting to see RAs mature through the years, develop an increased desire to help people and see that they want to come back makes the work so rewarding.”
At 23 years old, Hanes has been an area coordinator for two years. She’s responsible for three buildings on campus, manages 16 RAs, 26 desk attendants and oversees about 550 students. Greer moved from Colorado Springs to Grand Junction to study at CMU. She received her undergraduate degree in 2018 and never thought she would go into higher education after graduation, but says it’s one of the greatest decisions she’s made.
“I feel like this position has given me a number of skills many people my age ... haven’t had the opportunity to learn yet. I feel I’m so prepared for whatever comes next in my career,” said Hanes.
Area and residence hall coordinators receive great benefits including, housing on campus, MAVmoney to go towards a portion of their food and tuition waiver of 12 credit hours per academic year that can be used toward a master’s degree at CMU. If interested in working for WCCC or CMU visit www.coloradomesa.edu/human-resources/employment.html.