90% of applicants accepted to be CAs

Shelly Banjo

University Residential Life officials accepted 90 percent of students who applied to be community assistants during the 2005-06 academic year, officials said Wednesday.

For the past month, Residential Life officials have been conducting interviews with the 115 students who applied in January to be community assistants. About 27 percent of the applicants were freshmen, who in the past were not eligible for the job.

Community assistants will replace resident assistants next year in an effort to build more community in residential areas. Officials announced the change in November.

During group interviews, candidates participated in 14 role-playing activities to simulate situations CAs would face. Applicants were evaluated by Residential Life staff as were returning RAs who will become CAs.

“Interviewing is a skill that all students can improve on,” said Virginia Koch, senior assistant director for Residential Life. “The interviewing process is a learning experience and for that reason we offer applicants who were not invited back to come in for feedback and to apply again next year.”

Koch could not release the number of freshmen who will become CAs, but she said about 10 percent more women than men applied for the job.

She noted the difference is not significant and was expected.

“There are almost always more women applicants than men applicants, but that happens across the board,” she said. “We are just looking for good, qualified people, no matter which gender.”

Koch said a certain number of both men and women are needed in different areas because of different needs of all-female and all-male dorms, as well as gender-separated floors and wings.

Over the next month, Residential Life officials will conduct final interviews with students to determine the residential area where they will work. The new process allowed potential CAs to preference up to three residential areas, unlike RAs who previously were placed in any building on campus.

“I have lived in smaller dorms in the past and am looking for a smaller community,” said Weinberg sophomore Emily Murrin, who interviewed to be a CA in the Freshman Quad area on North Campus as well as in Kemper Hall and Sargent Hall. “My RAs in the past have been really good models and I am looking forward to the responsibility and experience of building a community.”

More students preferred South Campus to North Campus because of South Campus’ proximity to most classes and downtown Evanston, Koch said.

As a result, some applicants were asked to interview in areas they did not preference to make up for the difference.

Paul Pavlica, an area coordinator for the Willard and other small dormitories on South Campus, said allowing applicants to preference areas is a positive change.

“Since we’ve revamped the selection process — even though it’s the first trial for the new system — it’s proven successful so far,” he said.

Final decision letters to CAs will be mailed later in Winter Quarter. The letter will list the general area where they are accepted.

Additionally, all CAs will participate in an eight-week course in community development with Residential Life staff and area coordinators Spring Quarter.

“We will cover a variety of topics throughout the quarter concerning community development and leadership to help prepare the CAs for next year,” Koch said.

Reach Shelly Banjo at [email protected].