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Skidmore College

When a hall is a home

September 14, 2017

For Sanju Mohan ’19, Fortouma Sissoko ’18 and David Stephenson ’18, living on campus is more than just having a place to sleep. For these three resident assistants (RAs), it’s an opportunity to build community and help new students adjust to life at Skidmore.

“I always had in the back of my mind that I wanted to be an RA,” says Stephenson about applying for the position two years ago. More than 45 students are hired as RAs each year, serving as resources for students living in residence halls and apartment complexes on campus. RAs participate in a two-week summer training session that covers important topics including fire safety and sexual and gender-based misconduct.

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Sometimes questions from residents aren’t complicated. Mohan recalls that as a first-year international student, she had many questions that seemed trivial at the time. “How does the bus schedule work? What kinds of clothes should I wear for the Saratoga weather?” she explains. Now an RA, Mohan understands that answering those questions for her residents makes them feel welcome and comfortable in their new home.

At Skidmore, students are not grouped in residence halls by graduation year. Instead, they are given the opportunity to meet students from all graduation years, academic majors, and experiences. The Office of Residential Life has begun a new Special Interest Housing initiative, allowing students to live in floorwide communities such as gender-neutral housing, multicultural community, and substance-free housing. As the year unfolds, Mohan, Sissoko and Stephenson are excited to create community for their residents.

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