Category Archives: RA Spotlight

RA Spotlight: Kane Cooper

Kane Cooper

Year: Junior

Residence Hall: Sustainability RLP RA in Morrison

Major: Biology and Chemistry

Other Extracurriculars: Band


Why did you decide to be an RA? My first year, I wasn’t “in the know” on a lot of things. I felt like my sophomore year I was more knowledgeable about everything, pretty much because of my RA. I really enjoyed talking with her and seeing how she enjoyed [being an RA]. I thought, “Huh, I think I might try it. It could be cool.”

How do you come up with ideas for events? At first, I used Pinterest, but after that I wondered how I could personalize it. Some people said that they would want to do things like trivia, so I took note of what people said that they wanted. I kind of ask myself, “Would I come to the event?”

How have you been able to manage your time? It’s a lot of late nights, but it gets done. It’s definitely become a lot more about using my time efficiently, but I have a planner where I have everything written down on it. Planning has become a lot more of a reliance for me.

How has being an RA impacted your experience at Carolina? I would say it’s definitely positively impacted my experience. Now I feel more connected with the community and the people here. The residents are really cool and involved with the community in general. People come together a lot more in Morrison, and it’s just a fun time.



RA Spotlight: Annabelle Holman

Annabelle Holman

Year: Sophomore

Residence Hall: Winston

Major: Journalism – Public Relations Track

Other Extracurriculars:  The Daily Tar Heel , Crash Campaign, NC Fellows

Why did you decide to be an RA? So actually, I was kind of like a mini RA in high school. I went to NCSSM [North Carolina School of Science and Mathematics]. They had a position called an RLA, so I did that. I just went out on a limb and tried it. So I think that’s definitely what kind of pushed me to do it in college.

What’s your favorite thing about being an RA? My first program is tonight and I like programming but I’m waiting to see how it actually goes. I like the planning aspect of it. Generally, I like getting to know people and making sure I’m doing all that I can to serve them. Interacting with them individually is pretty neat.

Do you have any advice for people applying to be an RA? Typically, people would probably think of an RA as someone who’s outgoing, extroverted, and wanting to reach people all the time. But I am an introverted person and I can say that it’s not one specific personality type that can be an RA.

What has been the most unexpected thing about being an RA?  I guess I would say how easily it came to me. Because going into it, I was like, “I’m introverted! Oh my gosh, I don’t know how I’m going to do this.” But after training and all of the get-to-know-you weeks, I feel like I’ve settled in really easily. That was really surprising. It’s actually like, “I can do this!”

How has being an RA shaped your experience at Carolina? It’s definitely motivated me to be more connected on campus. Last year, I spent a lot of time at [NC] State because I have a lot of friends at State. But being an RA has definitely motivated me to spend the majority of my time at Carolina. I’m actually getting to know my staff, learning how programs work in the community, and motivating other people to do the same.

Why RAs Are Actually Superheroes

Guardian Angels. Life Savers. Free Therapists. Housing Heroes. Resident Advisors.

Contrary to popular belief, a Resident Advisor (see also, “RA”) is not someone who’s out to ruin your life. In fact, anyone who has ever actually lived in a UNC residence hall probably knows that’s the complete opposite of what any RA wants to do. Keeping residents safe and making sure people are following community living standards are definitely important, but that is only part of the job description.

RAs are there to be your friend; they are there to guide you, help you, work with you, laugh with you, look out for you, and occasionally even feed you.

Continue reading Why RAs Are Actually Superheroes

RA Spotlight: Jovonnie Quintero



Jovonnie Quintero

Year: Junior

Residence Hall: Morrison

Major: Sociology

Other Extracurricular Activities: Alpha Phi Omega Service Fraternity, Honor Court, NC Fellows Class of 2017

What is your favorite thing about being an RA?: I have 17 siblings, so I grew up valuing the importance of creating relationships. My favorite thing about being an RA is just that – making connections with residents and staff members through appreciating our diversity in identities, opinions, personalities, and interests. We are all dynamic, we have multitudes, and it is always nice to experience those with each other.

What is the most fun thing you’ve done with your residents?: There isn’t one exact moment, but a collection of small instances. I’m a giver. I love giving my residents snacks or baking treats for them. Whenever I have leftover candy or sweets from a program, I make sure to give all the extras away to my residents. I just love how excited they get when I offer them free food! I know it’s not conventionally “fun”, but I so enjoy making them smile through food.

What advice would you give to somebody who is thinking about becoming an RA next year?: Don’t let your doubts keep you from applying to be an RA! It is natural to be hesitant or worried throughout the application process, but don’t let those concerns hold you back from meeting amazing people at UNC and from bringing your charm to the residential experience!


RA Spotlight: Jennie Lugten



Jennie Lugten

Year: Sophomore

Residence Hall: Hinton James

Major: Psychology

Other Extracurricular Activities: Summit College

What is your favorite thing about being an RA?: I love having the opportunity to provide an environment that is welcoming and for my residents to know that they are loved and appreciated.

What is the most fun thing you’ve done with your residents?: A few of my residents and I went swing dancing at a Cru event one night!

What advice would you give to somebody who is thinking about becoming an RA next year?: Talk to as many RAs as you can! Write down different programs they have done, bulletin boards, and ways they interact with their residents. It will give you an opportunity to know what has and hasn’t worked and get you thinking ahead for next year!


RA Spotlight: Stephen Hansen

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Stephen Hansen

Hall: Hinton James, 6th Floor

Year: Junior

Major: Business Administration

Dream job: Scuba Diving Guide

Favorite cereal: Cocoa Puffs

Hometown: Charlotte, North Carolina

Favorite quote: “Be the change you want to see in the world.”


What is your favorite thing about being an RA? “Watching how my residents grow and become acclimated to life at UNC.  It is cool to see [the residents] arrive as freshmen not knowing anybody, and then form their own circles by the end of the year.  I would also have to say it is awesome when my residents do my laundry for me.”
How did you decide on Hinton James as your Residence Hall? “I just wanted to work with a first year community on South Campus, and I was assigned to Hinton James.  I was in Craige last year, and I have enjoyed them both.  I feel like I can be the most help to residents when they are first years, as opposed to returning students, so that’s why I chose a first year community.”
What’s the most fun thing you’ve done with your residents? “I love having prank wars with the other RA’s and getting our residents to help out.  This year a girl fake-cried on the balcony and told the RA on rounds that she saw some kind of huge animal in her bathroom.  When the RA went to check it out, it was actually one of my residents in a bunny suit jumping around behind a shower curtain.”
What are your favorite things to do on South Campus? “Going to basketball games at the Dean Dome.  The rest of the stuff doesn’t come close.”
What is a good piece of advice for first year students that are setting up their first residence hall room? “Bunk your beds! It will stabilize the top bed well, but more importantly it will give you more room for activities.”
What else are you involved in on campus? “A few of the more interesting things are Ted Talks, and probably…my supporting role to the Women’s club soccer team as a water boy.  I have gotten to hear a lot of really interesting people speak with Ted Talks, and I am easily the biggest women’s club soccer team fan on campus.”

Note: Hansen’s significant other is on the women’s club soccer team.

What would you tell someone that is deciding whether or not to apply to be an RA next year? “Ask yourself, would you enjoy adopting 30 college kids and helping them with whatever comes up? You have to have a desire to help other people, but if you do have that desire, it is a lot of fun.”
The deadline to apply to be an RA is quickly approaching! Be sure to submit your application by this Friday, December 5th.  Here is the link to do so:

Residents! If you have a great RA and think they should be featured in a Spotlight like this one, please send in a nomination! RAs! You can nominate awesome residents too!

RA Spotlight: Michael Lewis


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Michael Lewis

Hall: Hinton James, 9th Floor

Year: Sophomore

Major: Business Administration and Spanish

Dream job: Sports Announcer

Favorite food: Lo Mein with chicken

Hometown: Richmond, Virginia

Fun fact: “I participated in the track Junior Olympics in high school.”

What is your favorite thing about being an RA? “Getting to know the residents.  I really enjoy meeting new people, and being an RA gives me the chance to meet people and help new students with their transition to college.  Since I’m an out-of-stater, it’s especially rewarding to be able to help out kids who were in my shoes last year… But I am happy to assist the in-state kids too” (laughs).
How did you decide on Hinton James as your Residence Hall? “I lived in Hojo last year, and I just really liked the vibe.  It seems like there is always something going on here, and I would say it is one of the more fun dorms to be in.  Plus, it’s really close to Kenan-Flager, which is convenient for me.”
What’s the most fun thing you’ve done with your residents? “Actually a few of my residents started having a rap battle when we were all meeting up at the beginning of the year.  Everyone was there, so it was pretty cool.”
What are your favorite things to do on South Campus? “It’s a little bit creepy, but I love people watching.  There are so many different types of people living here- athletes, musicians- you name it, and I enjoy seeing what everyone is heading off to do with their day.  Also, basketball at Rams is a lot of fun.”
What is a good piece of advice for first year students that are setting up their first residence hall room? “Go to the poster sale on Franklin Street.  A poster or two can make your dorm room feel like your room from home without much effort.  The place has so many different things to choose from, and it’s all pretty cheap.  I got a huge MJ mural there for 10 bucks.”
What else are you involved in on campus? “I’m in Delta Sigma Pi, which is a business fraternity.  Joining it was one of the best decisions I made at Carolina.  I’ve made some great friends within the brotherhood, and DSP has definitely helped me connect with a lot of interesting people.  The brothers are also a great resource for when I have questions about one class or another, or want to have a few extra people look over my resume.”
What would you tell someone that is deciding whether or not to apply to be an RA next year? “Definitely be prepared for the time commitment.  The first six weeks are the busiest because your residents are making their transition to campus life.  Apart from that, the benefits are great.  You get a room to yourself, you have the opportunity to be a mentor to other students, and the network of RAs is awesome for everything from doing homework to just hanging out.”
Residents! If you have a great RA and think they should be featured in a Spotlight like this one, please send in a nomination! RAs! You can nominate awesome residents too!

RA Spotlight: Savannah Gerlach

 RA SpotlightSavannah

Savannah Gerlach

Hall: Morrison 6th floor “Dark Side”

Year: Junior

Major: English

Minor: Creative Writing

Dream job: Publishing and maybe writing someday

Hobbies: Writing, reading, hanging out with friends, teaching herself guitar

Hometown: Hillsborough/Chapel Hill area

Fun fact: “I’m studying abroad in London this summer”

Why did you decide to become an RA?“I just heard really good things. I enjoyed my RA. I was really excited to plan programs and get to know residents. I’ve spent a lot of time as a camp counselor so I kind of enjoy that personal development type thing.”
What are some of the events you’ve planned?“Earlier in the year we had a basketball day where we just came out and played. Me and another RA made smoothies one time. We played Mafia with those little candy cigarettes, which was cute.”
What’s the most fun thing you’ve done with your residents?“The smoothie night and programs where they all come out and get free food and relax. A lot of my residents I think were appreciative of the fact that it was healthier. Sometimes we have pancake nights and it’s not super healthy, but they all just flocked to this. There were people who weren’t even on the hall that stopped by and got some. So they got to pick out their different fruits and it was a fun time to just sit and talk with them. I think that’s the best way to really get to know your residents, to not create hoops for them to jump through with too many activities. Just let them come and hang.”
What do you love about your residence hall?“I really love how social my residents are. A lot of times when it’s nice out I’ll come out and see them all out on the balcony enjoying the weather. They’re super friendly. They’re always really outgoing so it kind of makes my job easier. It’s all sophomores and they’re busy but they still come out to the programs.”
Describe a time when one of your residents did something that surprised you.“I had one resident go out for RHA president, and he didn’t get it but he was just the most gracious person about it. He really stood up for RHA and was really supportive of the winner. I was really impressed by that and very proud. And I’ve had other residents make RA. One of them has already moved to Hinton James so that’s really exciting for her. It’s really exciting for them to step up and do that.”
What else are you involved in on campus?“I’m in Camp Write UNC, which is this awesome camp that we set up for middle school and high school students and we get to teach them creative writing over the summer for free. They have to apply to get in and it’s all made up of fiction writers, nonfiction writers and poets. It’s completely student-run so it has a very entrepreneurial feel to it, and it’s only a few years old. That’s what I’ve been involved with, writing curriculum and lesson plans and just kind of being a counselor.”
Have you gotten close with your staff here?“Yeah, they’re all very friendly and really intent on having that inclusive environment. There are some really funny, creative people on staff. That’s probably my favorite thing about being an RA. We get to have a lot of multicultural sessions and there are a lot of people there that have a lot to say. It’s kind of like an extension of class, but in a more fun way because you just get to talk to your friends about stuff you would normally talk about in class. I like it.”
What are your plans for next year?“I’m going to be an RA in Olde Campus Lower Quad next year. One of the RAs as well is going to be the RA Mentor, so that’s exciting. We’ll have a new community director and it’s going to be super awesome. North Campus is usually a little bit more laid back but hopefully we can gear things up a little and put some energy into that community.”

Residents! If you have a great RA and think they should be featured in a Spotlight like this one, please send in a nomination! RAs! You can nominate awesome residents too!

Send in a nomination

RA Spotlight: Mauricio Barreto

RA SpotlightMauricio Barreto

Mauricio Barreto

Hall: Old West, 1st floor

Year: Junior

Majors: Biology (Pre-med) and Political Science

Hobbies: “If you run all the way around campus it’s a perfect three-mile run so I do that a lot. I also play indoor and outdoor intramural soccer but I’m an alternate because I always end up having meetings during important games.”

Activities: Eating at Lime on Mondays and Sutton’s on Thursdays. “They’ll give me free stuff because I go all the time. If you go often enough you’ll get to know the cashier and then eventually the manager… And then they’ll say, ‘We have extra dessert today! Here!’”

Hometown: Cary, NC

Fun Fact: “I lived in Venezuela for three years as a kid. I also had a pet snake called Billy Bob Joe for several weeks. But then we went on vacation and forgot to leave water for it.”

What else are you involved in on campus? I was a dancer in Dance Marathon for two years and I always loved doing it. I’m also in the student group CPALS so I got paired up with one of the kids in the Pediatric Oncology Clinic and I go visit whenever he’s there. When I was a sophomore my pal benefited directly from the FTK fund so that’s why I dance. I applied for Morale committee after last year’s Marathon because it just looked like so much fun. It’s changed the Marathon for me. You get to know people really well because you’re working on the Marathon starting in September or October. It’s over now and we already miss each other so much. And my best friend Kit is on Morale too so it’s great to hang out with him.
What do you want to do after graduation? I’m going to take two years off before I apply to med school. I either want to do a few years of research or work in the hospital.
Why did you decide to become an RA? My sister was an RA at her university and recommended it to me so I always kept the option open. I’ve always tried to find jobs that I enjoy and that I would be good at and a few of my friends who were RAs recommended this job to me as well so when it came time to find housing for this year I decided to apply.
What is your favorite part of your job? Making stuff. I like doing programs and giving my residents free food. The best part of the job is exactly what you think the best part is, hanging out with the people on your hall and giving them free things.
What’s your favorite event? My favorite or my residents’ favorite? My favorite was when we did pumpkin painting but I don’t think they liked it because none of my guy residents came… It was right before Halloween. We had apple cider and snacks and we all painted pumpkins. Their favorite was probably during finals when I ordered them all pizza. Literally every single one of them came.
What’s something fun you do with your residents? My residents like stealing my door decs. One of them took a bunch and gave them to his roommate. I got kvetched about after that. “To my roommate who stole our RA’s door decoration to make me smile after a rough night: I love ya. Sorry, Mauricio.”

Residents! If you have a great RA and think they should be featured in a Spotlight like this one, please send in a nomination! RAs! You can nominate awesome residents too!

Send in a nomination

RA Spotlight: Kyle Harmon

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Kyle Harmon

Hall: Ehringhaus 4th floor “Woodland Side”

Year: Sophomore

Major: English and Psychology double

Hobbies: Eating, sleeping, laughing “and the occasional Zumba in between the eating and sleeping”

Hometown: Mooresville, NC

Fun Fact:  “Almost two years ago I believe- no, two and a half years ago, I got my wisdom teeth out and my lip has been numb ever since then.”

Why did you decide to become an RA? I had sort of a rough transition to college and I remember one night at like three a.m. I was bawling my eyes out and I texted my RA and was like, “Are you here? I don’t want to be alone in my room right now.” I talked to her and she responded in the exact way that I needed. That’s when the idea popped into my mind. I thought “I can do that! I can comfort people at three a.m.!” I sort of wanted to return the favor. And I discovered that helping people with that transition was something I was really passionate about.
What do you love about your residence hall? I really wanted to be an RA for first years because they just want to get to know literally everyone, do everything and make friends and be loved and love college. I feel like first years actually want a relationship with their RA and want the help of someone who has been around the block. I love being in that environment. Everyone comes to programs and everyone likes each other. It makes for an exciting time and it’s definitely infectious. I also love the staff. I knew we were going to be close but I didn’t realize the amount of love that was possible. They are the most supportive, fun, wacky group of people, and we’re all so different, but we all work together so well.
What kind of events do you do? I am a big believer in ‘if you bake it, they will come.’ If there’s food people will come for the food and stay for whatever is actually going on. I did “Cupcakes and Questions” at the beginning of the year during the first week of classes. I’m a big fan of mental and emotional wellness so we did “Smoothin’ Out The Psyche.” We made smoothies and we had Carolina Dining Services and Counseling and Psychological Services come and they both did presentations. One really fun one I had was right before we left for Thanksgiving break. I got two pies and some yummy cookies and a big poster and wrote What Are We Thankful For? My residents came by and grabbed some goodies and wrote what they were thankful for and it was hilarious. Someone was thankful for carbs. I hung it up in the lobby for everyone to see.
Tell me about a time when one of your residents surprised you. I always get pleasantly surprised when I’m not just their RA anymore; I’ve crossed into friend territory. After the Duke game we rushed Franklin Street and one of my residents were there. I was like “Oh hey you!” and then I was looking around at all the people up on other’s shoulders and said “Oh, that looks like fun” and he was like “Get on my shoulders!” And I was like “What? Okay!” It was just this incredible moment and I thought “Wow, we have a relationship that’s an actual friendship.”


Residents! If you have a great RA and think they should be featured in a Spotlight like this one, please send in a nomination! RAs! You can nominate awesome residents too!

Send in a nomination

On that note, have an awesome spring break, Tar Heels!

Spring break