RA/AIR Selection 2023-2024

Building the RISD Community Together

Thank you for your interest in joining the Residence Life team!  The RA/AIR application for the 2023 – 2024 academic year is now live on the RISD Involved site. You must sign in using your RISD ID to complete the application. 


You read that correctly above! This year, there will be a Common Student Staff & Leadership application. Students will be able to apply for any and all of the following positions at the same time:

Advocate for Inclusion in Residence (AIR)
•Resident Advisor (RA)
•Health & Wellness Ambassador
•Orientation Leader (OL)

If you are a student who is committed to social justice and inclusion and who invests in building authentic, meaningful relationships, we highly encourage you to learn more about all of the Student Staff & Leadership positions available.

Common Student Staff & Leadership Application Process Timeline

Fri, December 2:
Common Application Goes Live @ 8AM on Involved
Fri., December 2:
Common Info Session 1
  • Time:  7PM
  • Location:  Met A
  • Learn about ALL of the available student staff & leadership positions available
Wed., January 20:
Common Info Session 2
  • Time:  6:30 PM
  • Location:  Zoom (please see on Involved)
  • Learn about ALL of the available student staff & leadership positions available
Wed., January 25:
Common Application Closes @ 11:59 PM
Fri., January 27 @ 6pm:
Candidates invited for group process
Sat., February 4:
Group Process (all day, mandatory)
Tue., February 14:
Individual interview sign-ups sent to all candidates continuing in the process. Status updates sent to all applicants.
Mon., February 20 – Fri., March 3:
Individual interviews occur
Wed., March 8:
Candidates Notified of Status for any/all positions applied for in common application process.

Please note that the Student Staff and Leadership selection timeline will NOT interfere with housing selection, which will take place at the end of the hiring process.

Position Descriptions

Position descriptions for the Resident Advisor, Advocate for Inclusion in Residence, Orientation Leader, and Health & Wellness Ambassador roles can be found HERE.

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

  • What are the differences between the RA & AIR positions?
    • Resident Advisor (RA): They live in the residence halls and build safe, inclusive communities while serving as a resource to residents. RAs build relationships with their residents and conduct small floor and building-wide programs. RAs also serve in an “on-call” rotations, meaning that they will walk their communities after business hours to engage with residents and ensure that the community is safe
    • Advocate for Inclusion in Residence (AIR): AIRs also live in the residence halls and are tasked with building a safe, inclusive community and serving as a resource. AIRs serve all residents generally and to students who have marginalized social identities specifically. They work to educate their residential community on issues of inclusion, social identity, and social justice. This happens both on large and small scales and in collaboration with others. AIRs are also resources to RAs on issues of inclusion and climate. AIRs do not serve in the “on-call” rotation, but spend some time collaborating with other partners across campus such as OISS and ISE.
    • Both positions are a 10-15 hour/per week active time commitment. Active means that individuals in these positions devote 10-15 hours actively working on job commitments.
  • What does the time commitment look like for the RAIR roles?
    • The RA and AIR positions are jobs that require 10-15 hours of active work a week. This means that you will spend 10-15 hours a week in meetings, meeting with students, planning programs, checking in with residents, responding to emails, serving on call, etc. Some weeks you may work less than 10-15 hours a week, other weeks you may work more than these hours (e.g. opening, training, closing). On average, these positions average out to be 10-15 hours a week. The vast majority of RA and AIR responsibilities are flexible, meaning that you can complete the job responsibilities at various days/times of the week that works best for you and your residents. 
  • What is the compensation for the RA and AIR roles?
    • RAs and AIRs receive a private room and meal plan as their compensation for the role.
  • Can I have other jobs on/off campus in addition to the RA or AIR position?
    • Yes. It is required, however, that all on- and off- campus jobs as well as extracurricular involvement cannot total more than 10 hours per week and that you speak to your supervisor about these commitments. Also, please note that it is expected that the RA or AIR position is your first non-academic priority on your schedule over other employment and involvement opportunities.
  • Can I study abroad while I’m an RA or AIR?
    • New RAIRs may not study abroad in their first year in the role. After having served one academic year on staff, RAIRs can work with their supervisors and the department to further explore what options exist for remaining on staff and studying abroad. We realize that studying abroad is an important and impactful experience that some students desire to have and we will try our best to work with you throughout this experience.  We ask that you are transparent in your communication with your supervisor. Please note that for Wintersession Away courses or internships, that these are approved based on the number of staff interested in participating.
  • Can I become an RA or an AIR for just one semester?
    • The RAIR positions are on a one-year appointment, however we do have some flexibility as things change, such as graduation dates being moved up, the choice to take a Leave of Absence, etc. Please connect with our department directly if you believe that you may be impacted in these ways.
  • Can I have a partner live with me?
    • The vast majority of our RA & AIR spaces are single occupancy.  We do have some double spaces in our apartments.  In this case a partner would be able to live with you and they would be responsible for the cost of the space. RAIRs are assigned where they would fit best – we do not make RAIR placement decisions based on if you have a partner.
  • Can I select my roommates?
    • Yes, depending upon community placement.  If you are placed in a community that requires you to live with other students you will receive instructions on how you can select your roommates.
  • Do I have to have lived on campus previously to become an RA or AIR?
    • Nope!  It is not a prerequisite that RAs or AIRs have lived in residence.  We are looking for candidates who value residential community and are able to speak to its importance at RISD.
  • How will being an RA or AIR impact my financial aid?
    • We highly encourage all students offered an RA or AIR position to connect with Student Financial Services to learn more about how being an RA or AIR may impact their financial aid. RAs and AIRs receive free housing and a meal plan as compensation – this is shown on your bill as a credit and thus may have an impact on financial aid. Historically, the RAIR position does not impact your financial aid package.
    • Resident Assistants (RA’s) are granted a waiver of room and board for their work as RA’s at RISD. RA benefits at RISD are not considered taxable income. The benefit is tax-free because it is provided to the RA for the convenience of RISD, meals are furnished on the institution’s campus, and the RA is required to live in an assigned room in the residence hall as a condition of their employment.
  • Can I pick where my RA or AIR placement is if I’m hired?
    • No. While we take your preferences into consideration during the interview and selection process, we ultimately do not allow students to choose where they are placed. We make every effort to ensure that our teams are cohesive and are centered around serving their communities by evaluating your ability to connect with students. Not every RA or AIR is suited to work with upperclass students in an apartment setting or with first year students in a hill house. We want you to succeed, so we play to your strengths! 
  • If I’m hired and do not get my top choice of community, can I be put on a waitlist?
    • No.  The Residence Life professional staff team places RAs and AIRs based on where their strengths would enhance the community.  During the interview process, you will be asked for your preference and your rationale.  Please note that indicating preference does not guarantee your placement.  You will receive one offer from Residence Life for either an RA or AIR position with a specific community assignment attached.  If you do not get your top choice of community and decline the community assignment, you thereby decline the position and remove yourself from the process.  
  • If I need a housing accommodation, how should I let you know throughout the process?
    • Students who are selected to be an RA/AIR and are in need of specific housing (e.g. need a kitchen for allergies, etc.), should request a medical housing accommodation via the housing portal.  Medical housing accommodation requests for 2023-2024 are due by Wednesday, March 1, 2023.  To be considered for an RA/AIR placement accommodation you must have an approved housing accommodation for the 2023-2024 year.
    • If you have an approved accommodation from 2023-2024, you will need to resubmit a request for 2023-2024 by March 1st. We highly recommend that all housing accommodation requests be submitted as soon as possible. If you have any questions regarding housing accommodations and the RA/AIR role placements, please contact Melynda Heying-McMahon, Associate Director for Housing Operations (mheying@risd.edu).

Still Have Questions?

You can send all questions regarding the Common Student Staff & Leadership Selection Process to StudentLeaders@risd.edu.

Specific questions regarding the RA or AIR roles can be sent to Zach Raso at zraso@risd.edu.