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The Scarlet & Black

Feven Getachew
Feven Getachew
May 6, 2024
Michael Lozada
Michael Lozada
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Nathan Hoffman
Nathan Hoffman
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Harvey Wilhelm `24.
Harvey Wilhelm
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Student Staff restructured: SAs compensated, consolidated

New changes to the Student Advisor (SA) position this year will affect the scope of the program and the responsibilities for individual SAs. 

Less-populated floors in residence halls will no longer have an SA on the floor, but will be sharing one with neighboring floors, meaning some SAs will have more ground to cover. Additionally, each SA will receive a salary of 500 dollars per semester in recognition of their increased responsibilities.

Gabriel Barela, Resident Life Coordinator for Loosehead, said that a discussion of these changes has been going on amongst Residence Life staff for over three years. Barela stated that this would not change the recruitment effort for SAs. 

“Within this last group of SAs, the component of being paid wasn’t part of the offer, so we had told the SAs from last year that we had opened up the lines of discussion for [salary], but we hadn’t solidified being able to pay the [SAs] until closer to the beginning of the school year,” Barela said.

Barela added that the SA position is compensated at similar institutions, and that their effort is “rightfully and ethically” deserving of pay due to the commitment required to support students.

SAs were familiarized during their summer training with resources available to students on campus focusing on several areas such as academic success, social justice and sustainability. Barela explained that these areas were selected by determining which areas individual SAs were passionate about and through a discussion of the College’s values.

These focus areas are meant to “add an intentional or educational component to the programming that takes place within the residence halls,” Barela said. 

Emma Tilden ’17, the current SA for Haines first floor and pit, said that SAs now have ‘focus areas’ with each SA concentrating on a specific theme.

Tilden noted that study breaks would be changing in nature and they would be related to the individual SA’s area of expertise. Tilden added that these specialized activities would also adopt a new change in terminology.

“We do study breaks oriented towards [our focus areas], although they’re no longer ‘study breaks.’ They’re now called ‘programs,’” Tilden said. 

Tilden said her training involved “a session on all of the different resources available on campus, so I got a little bit more acquainted with that.”

Additionally, Tilden said some SAs do have many more people than other SAs, and SAs on Loose, Younker and Kershaw will still have a whole floor to manage.

Tilden said the additional ground she has to cover would inevitably decrease the number of face-to-face interactions between the residences on the first floor, where she lives, and the residences in the pit below her.

“I don’t think I see the people in the pit as often as I see the people in the first floor just because the first floor is where I’m living,” Tilden said.

The change in the ratio of SAs to residents was meant to balance the load among participating SAs.

“The [Residence Life staff] tried to make the work more equitable for SAs, because some people had [fewer] than 10 residents on their floors, while others had close to 40 residents,” Barela said. 

He adds that drive to make the program more equitable was because some SAs “were spending several hours a week following up with residents, trying to be that support which SAs are intended to [be],” whereas other SAs weren’t.

The changes have also resulted in the elimination of Hall Wellness Coordinators, according to Tilden, who pointed out that there are now SAs focused specifically on wellness. However, Tilden stated that she did not know “exactly the degree to which they deal with the same issues.”

Overall, the SAs are fewer in number but the changes to program were primarily aimed at making the level of responsibilities among the SAs more equal, Barela said.

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