How to Run a Residential Community in a University

Being a Resident Advisor in college can be a great way to earn some work experience, pay for your accommodation, and earn some extra income. The following are steps on how to run a Residential Community in a university.


  1. Leon H. Atchison Hall at Wayne State University
    Prepare the building during the summer: Right after winter semester’s move out day, there are approximately 100 days until fall move in day. The Resident Advisors are responsible for turning the building around. Resident Advisors must organize the cleaning crew, send records to the central office, and prepare every single room for the incoming residents. There is an end of the year meeting with each building’s respective Community Director to set deadlines and goals for the summer preparation period.
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    Get started: The meeting with the Community Director will be about how to prepare a room. To start, inspect every single room in the dormitory according to the Room Condition Report. This report indicates the condition of the entire room at the time of move in and move out. Items are shown on the attached image. If anything on this sheet needs to be replaced due to damages, it is up to the Resident Advisor to make a report about it. If no report is made, the residents that occupy the room in the upcoming semester will not be happy when they move in. To keep the residents happy, the Resident Advisor must complete this Room Condition Report flawlessly.
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    Report Room Condition Report findings: When reporting the Room Condition Report, if there is an item that needs to be replaced, the Resident Advisor must communicate with the Community Director in order to get a replacement item. When examining the Room Condition Report, if an item was checked as OK at move in but damaged at move out, the person responsible will receive a charge. These charges are placed by the Office Service Clerk and sent to Central Housing Office. The item will be ordered by the Office Service Clerk once all the Room Condition Reports for every room are completed.
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    Finalize the checklist: By the time the building is ready to be inspected, there is about 3 weeks left until Freshmen Move In Day. The Community Director will accompany the Resident Advisors as they do a final walk-through of each room. Once the Community Director approves the building, Resident Advisor Training begins.
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    Attend Resident Advisor training: This is a two-week process that trains the Resident Advisor for almost any situation that may be encountered during the school year. This process shapes the Resident Advisor to read and react to an incident. The first week consists of numerous presentations on resources on campus to refer to, how to build community within Residence Halls, and accepting and assisting certain groups of residents. The second week consists of Community Directors recreating scenarios using former Resident Advisors as actors and placing the new Resident Advisor in these situations to respond to a disturbance. Once the scene is over, everybody sits down and explains strengths and improvements on how to handle the incident. Going from a resident to a leader will teach many new abilities, and most of these are learned from these two short weeks.
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    Move In Day
    Prepare for move-in day:
    This is the busiest day of the year for all housing employees. On this day, your students will say goodbye to their families and call campus their new home. The new residents will receive help from volunteer staff to move their belongings to their new room while Resident Advisors keep order during the process. After everybody is moved into their rooms, there are meetings held on every floor by the Resident Advisors to introduce themselves, lay out guidelines, expectations, and rules of the building. Then all the Resident Advisors on campus host a welcoming party.
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    Implement training during the school year: Resident Advisors are expected to assist the Residents in every aspect throughout the entire course of both semesters, such as campus life, homework, and residential issues. The building must be kept orderly and the residents must have an overall satisfaction with living on campus. There are three responsibilities that are met by the Resident Advisor: Meetings, Duty, and Community.
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    Schedule meetings: Every week, the Resident Advisors will have a meeting with their respective Community Directors. These meetings discuss how everybody is doing mentally and physically, ideas for improvement in the building, and weekly wrap-ups. These are pretty general and simply just a check up on everybody’s status.
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    Assign duty: Duty days are assigned to each Resident Advisor according to availability due to personal and school events. Duty is defined as the person responsible for the building when the Community Director is not in office. This is the most important step in running a Residential Community. Throughout the course of the night, the Resident Advisor on Duty can be called upon to respond to an incident, must do three rounds, and show presence in the community.
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    Answer duty calls: When a resident calls the front desk to report an incident, the front desk staff immediately calls the Resident Advisor on Duty to respond to the problem. The Resident Advisor Training sessions come into play in these situations. This is when Resident Advisors are tested in real-life events and try to handle it how the Community Director would. However, if the incident needs higher authority, the Resident Advisor could call the Community Director for further instruction. After each duty call, there will be an incident report submitted to the Community Director to be investigated for further involvement.
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    Do rounds: Rounds only apply to the Resident Advisor on Duty. Throughout the course of the night, the Resident Advisor is responsible for walking around each floor and making sure everything is normal. These are called rounds. During rounds, the Resident Advisor checks for any damages in the hallways, trash, and also checks in with residents to check on their satisfaction.
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    Build community: Residents are encouraged to leave their doors open to make new friends, hang out in study lounges, and/or attend a program hosted by the Resident Advisors. These programs can serve as a break from everyday life and relax with friends. These help the Resident Advisors to build community and get people involved in the building and around campus. They are meant for fun and can get attendees of upwards of 300 people to come to an event.
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    Speed up the move-out process: As the winter semester draws to an end and everybody is saying their goodbyes to their new friends, the Resident Advisors are responsible for checking the residents out of the building. The residents remove their personal belongings, make sure the room is left how they were at move in, and turn their key into the Resident Advisor. The Resident Advisor then does a walk-through of the residents’ rooms to see if there are any damages. Once all the residents are moved out and the building is empty, the process restarts all over again.


  • Respect the residents, and they will reciprocate that same respect.
  • Don't get too stressed out; the fellow coworkers are here to assist if the load gets too overwhelming.


  • Don't assume anything. If you have a question, don't be afraid to ask a coworker or the Community Director.
  • During an incident do not intrude a room, search anything out of plain view, and never touch anything that could be evidence if police are involved.

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Categories: Campus Life