Role of Residential Staff
Staff members who live in and/or work with students in a campus (or another Cornell-related) residence are essential to our student support network. Part of the role of Residential staff is to notice students exhibiting early warning signs of distress, and to respond by engaging them in conversation, and offering support and resources.
Student stressors (e.g., noise, lack of sleep, erratic nutrition, roommate challenges) and symptoms (e.g. use of alcohol or other drugs, isolation, binging/purging) are often exhibited within their "home environment." Residential staff are in a unique position to offer:
- a sense of supportive community (e.g., care and concern, limits and boundaries, refuge and encouragement, and guidance in the unfolding process of student development
- health advocacy (e.g., validate the importance of maintaining a healthy lifestyle, illness and injury prevention, and value of early intervention/treatment when problems arise)
- knowledge of campus resources (e.g., options for counseling or support). Residential staff are not expected to take on the role of therapist or counselor, but are encouraged to refer students, and/or to consult and collaborate with others when unsure about how best to support a resident.