A Resident Adviser (also spelled Advisor) or RA is a student charged with supervising students living in a set of rooms in a residence hall. RAs get free housing to do this. RA duties include:
- sorting out Room Condition Reports
- fighting the noble war on drugs, tobacco, and in first year dorms, alcohol (or looking the other way and generally not caring much about it at all)
- being in charge of the vacuum cleaner
- work with the CA for area-wide programs
- create floor programming
Until 2007-2008, Columbia RAs had to be juniors or seniors. The Office of Residential Programs began considering freshmen to serve as RAs during their sophomore year for the first time in 2006-2007. Barnard ResLife had initiated the practice years in advance.
RAs at Columbia are a mixed bag. Some are awesome, others are highly questionable choices for the position. Some RAs have suggested that Residential Programs actually hires unqualified candidates with the reasoning that the position will "help them grow."