• Taking Lessons from the Woods to the Residence Hall
Navigating the high ropes course with the support of friends helps build teamwork and confidence. Below: RAs Reycine Thomas, Yna Beltran, and Malorie Kranis in training camp.


Camping, a high-ropes course, and canoeing on a lake can be challenging as well as exciting, but these activities also help Suffolk University resident assistants, or RAs, gain team-building skills that are important for their success as student leaders.

The resident assistant training balances learning job skills and having fun, according to Caroline Davis, associate director of Residence Life and Housing.

Reycine Thomas, Yna Beltran, and Malorie Kranis “I had such a fantastic experience in New Hampshire at the campsite we usually attend during RA training,” said Reycine Thomas, a second-year resident assistant. “I participated in a high-ropes course, canoeing, a bunch of team-building activities, and a few other, more intimate sessions in which everyone on the RA staff and Res Life professional staff got to know each other better.”

Suffolk RAs go through a highly selective application process. Those who make the cut help to build a strong connection between the University and its students, according to Davis. The job entails a great amount of time management and commitment, and the extensive training gives students important skills that they will carry with them through their journey at Suffolk and in life.

Teamwork is an important aspect of training, said Davis. RAs are presented with challenges such as conquering a rope structure suspended high in the air. Team members help one another across the structure and work together to fight their fears.

The exercise allows students to learn their strengths and weaknesses and what they are able to contribute to the team. Not only do RAs learn strong team-building skills, but they also gain a great social experience and meet many new people, said Davis.

“I now have a group of fantastic friends who I know are going to help me through the ups and downs of the year,” said Thomas. “And as a second-year RA, I hope that I can use my past experience to help the first-year RAs and my residence director to better shape the experience of students living in the residence halls.”

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Greg Gatlin

Mariellen Norris