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Davis, California

Monday, April 15, 2024

Community advisors for on-campus housing find joy in mentoring fellow students

Despite its rewards, being a CA carries a lot of responsibility


By LYNN CHEN — features@theaggie.org


According to the 2022-2023 Joint Housing Report, approximately 38.1% of UC Davis students live on campus. With so many students in residence halls and campus apartments, Community Advisors (CAs) play a vital role in developing safe and comfortable living spaces for these communities.

As part of their employment, CAs are given a single or double room on the floor of their assigned residence hall or apartment. Additionally, they receive a five-day or seven-day unlimited meal plan depending on which property they are appointed to. In exchange, CAs have a variety of responsibilities in their position.

For example, in order to foster an inclusive and positive environment for their residents, CAs organize social events that range from designing T-shirts and making Orbeez jar decorations to mug painting. CAs may also host educational events such as study breaks.

CAs are also tasked with administrative duties. “[We do] facilities checks, occupancy checks and we also put up informational bulletin boards,”  Mahek Bhora, a third-year economics major and one of the CAs for Live Oak Hall in Tercero, said.

Additionally, part of a CA’s job is interacting with students on a day-to-day basis. They must be up-to-date with all the resources and services available on campus.

“We make sure to check in with our residents and see where we can help out,” Madison Wong, a fourth-year environmental policy analysis and planning major said. “If we get an email from a resident saying that they need a resource or that they need some information about something, we do our best to connect them with those resources or answer any questions we can.”

Wong is currently a CA for the Orchard Park and Primero Grove apartments. Because of this, she interacts with a resident population that is much more diverse than that of the residence halls.

“We serve undergraduates, graduates and families,” Wong said. As a result, she has to prepare for all ages to attend the events she organizes.

Furthermore, an important part of being a CA is resolving conflicts between residents. Cindy Dam, a second-year sociology major, stated that she experienced friction while living with her first roommate in the dorms last year. However, her CA was able to quickly connect her to the school housing administration and relocate her to a new room.

“[My CA was] very supportive and made me feel validated and heard,” Dam said. “They were willing to do something [about my issue] and report it to the higher-ups.”

In situations like this, being a CA can be a rewarding and enjoyable experience. Bhora appreciated the opportunity to get to know her residents and witness their growth throughout their time on her floor. 

“It’s nice seeing them finally getting in their routines, building their life on campus,” Bhora said.

Wong found herself becoming more empathetic as a result of being a CA. 

“You just have so many people from different backgrounds, and you don’t have any way of knowing what it’s like to be them,” Wong said. “But you can definitely listen, you can definitely ask questions and you can definitely try to find some similarities between your experiences and theirs.”

Bhora echoed a similar sentiment, commenting on how important this job is: “I think [future CAs] should know that this is a really, really meaningful job. It impacts hundreds of people each year, and you affect others pretty deeply. I definitely wouldn’t trade this experience for anything else.”


Written by: Lynn Chen — features@theaggie.org


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