If you live in housing owned by the university I can guarantee you have an RA. I could probably tell you who it is. Did you know that they have a boss, and that person lives in the building as well? If you didn’t know, I can promise you aren’t alone. This person is called the Residential Area Manager (RAM) and, in simple terms, they oversee everything that happens in the building. As an RA myself I take for granted that my residents and the other freshmen on campus might not know who the RAM of their hall is. So in an attempt to try and explain what a RAM is to freshmen, I sat down with Jess Brown who is my RAM and the RAM of Cardinal Campus; which includes Villiger and Sourin and asked her a few simple questions about what a RAM really is.
What exactly is your role as a Residential Area Manager?
“In short, to support the RAs and to support the students within my building and across campus, and part of that is conduct, community standards, programming, on-call things, and emergency management”
Who are the other RAMs?
Shawn Washart oversees Merion Campus which includes McShain and the campus houses on Lapsley Lane. Courtney Laganke oversees West Campus which includes Pennbrooke, Lancaster Courts, and Merion Garden. Ashley Lillie oversees City Ave which is Lannon and Rashford and Sarah Smith oversees two different areas: LaFarge and Quirk and the other being the Overbrook area which is Moore, Ashwood, and the Townhouses.
Do you have a favorite memory from your time here?
“I had a resident a couple of years ago who became an RA, and actually lived in the same room that I lived in when I was an RA here. When he was a senior I was the facilitator on the APEX trip that he was a leader of so it was really really cool to see him grow throughout his four years here at Saint Joe’s but primarily the interactions that he had with his group members”
If you could tell the freshmen class one thing what would it be?
“Give it [the transition period] time, we expect it to be happy and have a great time from day one, but it takes time to get acclimated or to make friends … give it some time to adjust”
How can you encourage freshmen to get to know you and the other RAMs?
“I think it is as easy to just pop in our offices and just introduce yourself to us. All of the RAMs have an open door policy, so if our doors are open we encourage you, residents, to pop in.”
Do you think that the RAMS get a bad reputation and are often portrayed as the “bad guy”?
“I think there are some residents that come in and have preconceived notions about what our role is or have a bad first experience with us … and sometimes it can start off on the wrong foot, and that is one of the most frustrating parts of the job because it is the opposite of what we want to do. We have these jobs to support the students and to help them but overall I don’t think so.”
What is your favorite part of the year as a RAM?
“I love RA Training! I love meeting the new RAs forming a staff … RA training is two weeks of sessions; we go from 9 to 9 to every day with sessions and the RAs are doing other things to get the building ready for residents. In the sessions, we cover topics such as alcohol and drug awareness, sexual awareness, mental health, and programming … It is just a lot of fun seeing all the RAs come together as they get ready for the year to begin.”
How do you react when you find out that residents find out that the RAM lives in the building?
“I think I laugh because I see them a lot, I bring my groceries in. They see me on the weekends sometimes but I just laugh because some residents are shocked.”
Now, I encourage you to introduce yourself to your RAM. They live in the building with us so I promise you it isn’t hard.They are an extra resource in the building who are there to help you alongside the RA. The RAMs do a lot of work behind the scenes but I can tell you that it is a very taxing job. Pop in and say hi; it is as simple as that.