Summer break is just around the corner, but the Pitt-Greensburg Residence Life staff is already planning for next year. Ten new students were hired to fill Community Assistant (CA) positions for the Fall 2015 semester.
“We had a very strong group of applicants this year,” said Brian Root, Assistant Director of Housing and Residence Life.
Out of 55 applicants, including both new and returning CAs, only 21 positions were available to be filled.
“We couldn’t even hire half of the applicants,” Root said. “Some students didn’t even make it to the group process stage because of GPA restrictions or other factors, but even then, we had tough decisions to make.”
The Residence Life professional staff takes many aspects of an applicant’s character into consideration during the hiring process.
“I personally look for applicants with leadership experience and I try to determine how well they might be able to meet the expectations of the job, like handling one-on-one meetings with their residents,” Root said.
Sarah Young, Resident Director of Robertshaw Hall, said that the two qualities she looks for in CA applicants are attitude and initiative.
“I want a team that’s friendly and compassionate and has a strong work ethic,” Young said. “It’s my opinion that leadership starts from the firm determination to not only want to help, but to act on the plan.”
The professional staff also looks for experienced applicants when making their decisions.
“We rely on our CA staff to be a resource for our resident students and to help them successfully connect with our campus, our curriculum, and with one another in the halls,” Young said. “This is best accomplished if the C.A. has some experience with getting involved and taking advantage of campus resources so that they are better able to refer students who may need guidance.”
The new hires are enthusiastic about starting their jobs and they are eager to make a difference in the on-campus community.
“I live in College Hall this year. I love it, but there are some people on my floor that I never got the chance to know. Being a CA will be exciting because I know I will get to know all my residents on a personal level,” said Mike Spadafore, a freshman business management major.
Freshman Sara McConnell said she’s most excited to plan programs for her residents.
“I want to know what people are in to and create events that will make them happy to participate,” she said.
Marissa Shaffer, a freshman Chemistry major, said she’s excited to bond with, and learn from, her fellow Community Assistants.
“I think that being part of the friendly, close knit group of C.A.s will be super exciting.”
While the new hires are excited, they’re also aware that there might be challenges along the way.
“I think my biggest challenge will be having to prioritize things, such as clubs, schoolwork, work, and the CA position,” said Sade Banks, a sophomore chemistry and psychology major. “I know I will definitely have a huge calendar on my wall just so I will be able to keep everything organized.”
Age differences and maintaining authority are also concerns.
“It’s weird to have an authority position when those you’re in charge of are older than you,” McConnell said.
“I will always want my residents to come to me with issues and concerns and to have faith and trust in me with anything,” said Kate Andrews, a freshman Secondary Education major. “At the same time, I will be looked to as a rule-enforcer and a role model on this campus, so it will be a challenge balancing friendships and authority.”
To be considered for a position, students had to fill out an online application of short answer questions, attain two letters of recommendation, and have at least a 2.5 G.P.A. Students that met those requirements were invited to Group Process Day, which included group activities and half-hour interviews with the Residence Life professional staff.
The following 21 students will serve as Community Assistants for the Fall 2015 semester: University Courts: Sami Lipp, Jess Jaszcar, Lynn Evans, and Paidamoyo Muzorori; Academic Villages: Cassie Foradori – Apollo House, Sara McConnell – Athena House, Rob Pokora – Franklin House, Tara Ritenour – Marshall House, Kate Andrews – Mead House, and Kara Goughnour – Selene House; Westmoreland Hall: Marissa Schaffer, Noel Saraceno, and Mike Spadafore; Robertshaw Hall: Jake Giffen, Gabby Mack, Maria Yates, and Tyler Lookabaugh; College Hall: Brandon Herrington, Zach Mozingo, Sade Banks, and Amanda Bateman.