RA goes the extra mile for her residents

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Bridget Janis

Natalie Bielecki, junior, said she wants her residents to feel like they can talk to her at any time.

Bridget Janis, Features Editor

The resident assistants (RAs) on campus help provide students with encouragement and useful tips throughout the semester. RA Natalie Bielecki, a junior at Oakland University studying public relations and strategic communications, started working as an RA this year on the seventh floor of West Vandenberg Hall and has already learned a lot about herself and her residents.

“I want to make sure I’m present, and I want to make sure I have an open door,” Bielecki said. “I want my residents to feel like they can come to me at anytime, they can knock on my door if I’m here. If I have my door propped open, if I’m in the lounge, they can come and stop and talk to me. I just basically want to be a person they know they can always come to.”

RAs learn throughout the year to help the residents on their floor by using and finding out about multiple campus resources, helping students adapt to change and provide advice when needed.

All programs held by RAs hold a purpose to them, whether it’s gaining something academically, financially or culturally. Bielecki’s academic event for her residents, she had dream and vision boards for the students to make. Students put what they wanted to be in the future, and her plan was to help with career building. They also had them write on a star what their academic goal for the semester and placed them in the lounge on the floor, allowing them to have a set goal to aim for. 

She hopes to create more fun programs for her residents in the future. She would like to team up with Save Our Planet Earth (SOPE) to create an event involving plants. 

“Plants have a lot of benefits to them, how they can bring you happiness and affect your mood,” Bielecki said. “That’s a program I wanna put on for my residents, I think they’d really like it.”

Along with holding events regularly for their residents, most RAs try to get to know their residents by having a group chat within GroupMe, gathering everyone on the floor together for floor meetings and holding “Grizz Chats” to get updates from the students on the floor about their time at Oakland so far that semester.

Besides being an RA, Bielecki is involved in National Residence Hall Honorary, which revolves around residents on campus that value service. She also works in the ID Card Office in the Oakland Center. 

RAs have to be on duty from 7 p.m. until the next morning in case students get locked out of their rooms or if there are any issues on campus. The RA on duty will go help the person, whether it be a minor or major problem. They also walk the building and serve their rounds with another RA and work together through the night.

Last year, Bielecki was a part of community council, which was her first step into getting involved with housing. She lived in Vandenberg at the time, so it holds a special place in her heart.

“I like meeting new people, so even with my staff, my staff is probably one of my favorite parts. They’re all super nice, super helpful, super funny and we all get along really well,” Bielecki said. “I like just meeting people on my floor it’s like a good feeling when someone comes up and I’m able to help them.”