Moving into a new community and a new way of living can be challenging, but the support systems in residence have been set up to make that transition as smooth as possible. Remember – there is always someone there for your son or daughter. Residence staff members can either answer your students’ questions or direct him/her to someone who can.
Residence Manager (RM)
The residence manager is a full-time, live in professional who oversees all aspects of residence life.
The manager supervises all residence staff members (dons, residence advisors, and academic & leadership programmers), and provides them with support and guidance, and ensures they are performing successfully in their roles.
Also responsible for ensuring that a safe, comfortable and welcoming community is formed within the building, the residence manager oversees that the initiatives are in place to aid in this development (please see the following descriptions for more information).
Occasionally, disciplinary issues arise in residence, and the manager oversees this process if residents violate the Residence Understandings or act in unhealthy or dangerous ways that affect other members of the residence community.
Residence Advisor (RA)
An RA is an upper-year student who lives in residence and supports the students on his/her floor or area of the building.
An RA plays a key role in creating an environment for students that is conducive to academic, personal and social growth. The RA helps to ensure a smooth transition to university life and develops social, academic and cultural activities for residents.
An RA is a friend, resource, mentor, role model and community leader in residence. The RA of the floor on which your son or daughter resides can be contacted through the building’s residence manager (see above).
A residence don is a student staff member and is generally a former RA. Dons provide residence advisors with support, mentorship and guidance in their unit teams.
A don is a key member in the development of the living/learning environment of a residence, serving to address the needs and concerns of the first-year students.
Dons work to facilitate programs that can enhance the experience of their residents. Areas such as academics, social, personal development, safety and diversity are explored through a variety of residence and floor activities.
The don of the floor on which your son or daughter resides can be contacted through the building’s residence manager (see above).
Academic & Leadership Programmer (ALP)
An ALP is an upper-year student who performs the role of a traditional RA or Don.
ALPs receive additional training in academic areas such as learning skills, study methods and campus resources. They are available for study advice, time management tips, and all academic programs conducted in residence.
Academic programmers oversee building-wide activities such as breakfast clubs, study relays, guest speakers (visiting professors), “What’s your Major” events, and trivia contests.
The ALP of the building in which your son or daughter resides can be contacted through the building’s residence manager (see above).
A soph is one of 800 student volunteers who guide students through the transition to campus and residence life. Hand-picked from nearly two-thousand applicants, these upper-year students are dedicated to creating a welcoming environment for new students on campus. You can recognize a soph by his or her bright coloured outfit, especially during Orientation week!
Typically each floor within the residence is assigned a soph, who, as an upper-year student, is able to provide a unique type of support, friendship and guidance as students settle into their new community.
Sophs have a reputation of being some of the most spirited students at Western!
The soph of the floor on which your son or daughter resides can be contacted through the building’s residence manager (see above).
Residents’ Councils and/or Associations
Each residence has a student government body elected by the residents to organize and run events, personal development programs and socials. The council also represents student interests through a variety of residence committees.
The council is usually comprised of an executive of six members, including a president, vice-president (finance), representatives of the academic, social, and health aspects of residence life, as well as a head soph. In addition, there are committee positions that focus on the environment, philanthropy, formals, communications, arts, and a number of different faculties.
Every floor/wing in each building has an elected representative on the council. This is an opportunity for all students to get involved in shaping the residence community.
The council member of the building in which your son or daughter resides can be contacted through the building’s residence manager (see above).