The residential colleges have finalized the list of the 81 residential advisers and minority-affairs advisers and the 16 alternates. Now these students are ready to learn the ABCs of having 'zees.
After an extensive selection process, overseen by Assistant Dean of Student Life Ande Diaz, the new advisers were chosen from a field of 185 applicants.
Diaz said the strength of the advising team is in "the sum total of its members, who are role models both academically and socially."
"MAAs and RAs share a lot of responsibilities," said Ben Sommers '00, a newly appointed RA for Butler College. "RAs can definitely help with general support, but the MAAs promote awareness of diversity."
Sommers said he applied for the advising program because he likes the "community atmosphere" in the residential colleges.
"I had a very good RA my freshman year, and a lot of my good friends are from my RA group," he added. "At the end of the day, you want to come home to your entryway and have friends, people you can count on."
"The individual residential colleges make the actual hiring decisions. The role of the Office of the Dean of Student Life is to provide centralized coordination of the selection process," Diaz said.
Both RA and MAA applicants submitted a written application and then underwent interviews to win their positions within the colleges.
In addition, to prepare for their fall assignments, they must attend training sessions this spring.
"It's a lot of hard work that I didn't expect. It's hard to understand the limits of what you can and cannot do," said Claudia Charles '99, a returning MAA from Rockefeller College.
The training for advisers consists of two sessions – a five to six hour spring period and a four to five-day fall program before Orientation Week. According to the adviser application memo, the training sessions are designed "to provide a comprehensive, coherent context for peer and other educational programming that will be consistent across the five residential colleges."
In response to questions regarding the training sessions, Diaz said, "According to the evaluations, in general, advisers were quite satisfied with the fall training. But there is always room to improve."
"To my knowledge, there's not a college residential advising system that couldn't stand improvement. Any program needs to be adjusted and strengthened based on the realities of student life," Diaz added.
Diaz cited the diversity of next year's advising team as one of the program's strengths. "The interests and talents of next year's team range from Bible study to the Black Arts Company, from soccer to silk-screening," she said.
Former advisers speak highly of their experiences with their 'zees.
"I hope my 'zees learned as much from me as I learned from them," Charles said. "That's what brought me back to the advising program."
(Stephen Fuzesi contributed to this story.)