Residential Advisors (RA’s) who decided to stay in the dorms during the shelter-at-home order saw a shift in responsibilities.
Jordan Bouskos, a second year psychology major, is an RA in PCV who chose to stay on campus for the remainder of the year. At the start of spring quarter, Bouskos’s floor buzzed with 86 students. Now, only 12 students live on her floor, and she’s only in charge of six of them.
“I decided I wanted to stay,” Bouskos said. “[Cal Poly’s] stipulation was that if you leave then you have to stay home. We had a lot more of RA’s stay than expected, hence the small student to RA ratio.”
There are approximately 450 residents and 75 RA’s still living in campus apartments, according to University Housing’s Marketing Coordinator Julia Bluff.
Because of the drastic decrease in residents, RA responsibilities have shifted.
The job now focuses less on interpersonal interactions and more on keeping track of the residents and administrative work, said Bouskos. This means scheduling Zoom meetings and discouraging in person hang-outs.
However, these responsibilities may be shifting again.
Students who left campus are now able to schedule an appointment time on their Cal Poly portal to retrieve any items left behind, according to University Housing.
“They still keep us busy, and it is definitely going to get very busy once people come to get their stuff again, but there has been a lull,” said Bouskos.
In the meantime, until students come for their belongings, there are weekly meetings over Zoom that Bouskos hosts for her now six residents. More than anything, these Zoom meetings are just to stay connected and reach out to each other. In the last meeting, students were exchanging recipes that they had made that week, said Bouskos.
According to Bouskos, campus isn’t anything like it used to be.
“It gets very dead at night and there is not the same hustle and bustle,” Bouskos said.
Most places are closed on campus, including the pool, basketball courts, the community centers and study rooms in the residential buildings and the UU. The recreational center is also closed and completely fenced off to the public.
“Pretty much you have your room and then like the sidewalks, and the sidewalks are even pretty much closed,” said Bouskos.
Bouskos laughed as she said her friend saw a poster by the recreation center saying, “social distancing keeps campus safe.” She said that it made campus look more like a horror film because of how empty it is.
Some RA’s decided to move home, like public health sophomore Tessa Rodgers. Rodgers was an RA for the new dorms in Yakʔitʸutʸu, and is just as bummed as the freshman to have spring quarter moved online, she said.
It is hard for her even though she is home because she feels like current freshmen are missing out on so much and she would have loved to share it with them, she said.
“Our floor really clicked,” Rodgers said. “Spring is super sunny and a hard quarter to miss out on which sucks.”
Rodgers explained that the biggest thing she misses about being an RA is the energy to bounce off of because there is always someone to talk to. But the one thing that she doesn’t miss is the uncertainty and she is relieved to be at home with her family.
Looking into next fall which has a high possibility of being online, RA’s are uncertain as well as incoming freshmen about what housing will look like.
One thing that many freshmen think about before coming into college is starting to build their community through dorm life. But Rodgers believes that incoming freshmen will not know exactly what they are missing and that it will be harder to find your community when Cal Poly resumes to normal operations.