Nan Whaley, mayor of Dayton, is visiting Wright State Saturday, Jan. 9, to meet with campus resident assistants (RAs).
Whaley, who earned her M.P.A. in 2009 from Wright State, has taught a Women in Leadership course on campus and served as a resident assistant as an undergraduate student at another university.
Whaley will visit Wright State from 10:30 a.m. to 11 a.m. in the Student Union Discovery Room (163AB). This event is not open to the public.
Wright State has 71 RAs. Whaley will speak to them about how to make unpopular and difficult decisions as a leader. There will be time for questions.
“She was chosen to be our keynote speaker because she understands the important role housing and the RAs play in making a student successful and being a mentor,” said Jennifer Attenweiler, associate director for residence life. “Mayor Whaley understands what it means to be a leader in a community 24 hours a day, seven days a week. The job of being a mayor never stops — something our RAs can relate to working the hours that they do.”
“I hope they (the RAs) will be motivated and understand their role more as an agent of change in our residential community,” said Attenweiler. “I also hope they realize their potential for being a leader in the future because of their unique leadership role on campus.”
RAs serve other students by pointing them to campus resources, getting them involved in campus organizations and activities, helping them resolve conflict and keeping the students safe in their living environment.
RAs are given tools and training to ensure they’re equipped for handling most situations. There is a team of professional staff members to intervene if necessary. Common resident concerns are roommate conflicts, maintenance concerns, noise complaints, homesickness, relationship trouble and requesting academic help.
RAs hold an emergency on-call phone when university offices are closed to respond to resident concerns. The phone has a primary and backup person on call. The phone turns on at 7 p.m. in the evening and is turned off at 8 a.m. each day (except the weekends when it is on 24/7), Attenweiler said. There is not a typical RA shift or day. It really depends on the needs of their community and the time of year.
“They help students feel like this is truly their home away from home and that they are welcome in our community,” Attenweiler said. “They help our residential students succeed inside and outside the classroom by being a role model.”
If a resident has a concern or issue, they should first contact their RA. If their RA cannot help them, they should contact their Community Director or the Residence Life & Housing office.