Community Advisors (CA) and Destination Leaders (DL) are wanted, and applications are now available for students who are interested. The process is currently underway and applications are due Feb. 4.
DL’s are upperclassmen that help first-year students by serving as peer mentors throughout the fall semester of a Simpson Colloquium class. They also act as a guide during summer and fall orientation.
CA’s also help incoming students make a difference in many ways.
“A CA is a Community Advisor who helps first year students transition from high school to college by planning social events, building a floor community, being available to help students through dilemmas and being a resource for facilities around campus,” sophomore CA Kayla Ferguson said.
Sophomore CA Keely Goshia also described the position of a CA.
“CA’s are in charge of helping students get adjusted to their new living environment, whether it be first-year students in Barker and Kresge, juniors in apartments or whatever other situation there is,” Goshia said. “We are also in charge of planning social programs for our floor to build a community that is enjoyable for all to live in.”
CA’s are important for many reasons.
“We believe the CA’s are an important resource to incoming and current students,” said Luke Behaunek, director of residence life. “They can help students acclimate to a new environment, facilitate interaction with other people at the institution, mediate roommate conflicts, handle facility-related issues and aid residential students in many other ways.”
CA’s and DL’s move in early to attend training to learn how to deal with problems that they may encounter.
“CA’s are not only important to enforce the student handbook, but to be able to connect with the students better than an advisor or professor,” Ferguson said. “We have been through training that includes knowing how to handle students with depression or suicidal thoughts, addictions, roommate conflicts, homesickness, students who have been sexually assaulted or abused, as well as many other things.”
According to Ferguson, there are difficulties that come along with being a CA or DL.
“The most difficult part of the job for me is confronting people in situations that are against Simpson policy,” Ferguson said. “Another thing is just knowing exactly what to say when people come to you for advice regarding serious problems.”
Along with difficulties in any job, there are also benefits. CA’s and DL’s are paid positions.
“CA’s get paid room and board plus a little more because we attend many training sessions, meetings, and go on rounds several times each night throughout the buildings,” Ferguson said.
DL’s do get paid minimum wage ($7.25 an hour) for work and training during fall and summer orientation. They also receive one college credit for each 40 hours of work completed during the fall semester.
The decision to become a CA or DL is made differently by each individual.
“As an out-of-state student, I was nervous to be coming to a new state in which I knew nobody,” Goshia said. “But my first-year CA, Molly Swenson, was so helpful to me and we ended up becoming friends. I wanted to be able to do that for the next year’s incoming first years, so I applied.”
Ferguson also enjoys helping others.
“I always loved to help people out and plan events,” Ferguson said. “A lot of people apply because they have a good relationship with their CA as a first-year student.”