By Destiny Diggs
Louis Copertino, a sophomore public relations major, is the newest residential assistant of Riggs Hall as of March 2. Residential assistants are normally chosen by application at the end of the academic school year and are trained over the summer and during new student orientation to prepare for their RA duties. The position in Riggs Hall opened halfway through the semester, after the previous RA switched residential buildings.
“Being a residential assistant was the right decision for me because it is a great way to meet people. I am a social person and love meeting new people. I was looking for more responsibility on campus and wanted to get more involved with campus life and promote LIU Post because it’s a great school,” Copertino said.
Copertino was recommended for the position by Alejandro Lopez, campus life coordinator of Post Hall and the South Residence Complex (SRC). Lopez saw potential in Copertino and believed he would be right for the job.
However, Copertino did not initially want to become a RA due to his “hectic” schedule. A public relations major and sociology minor, Copertino also balances his classwork with being a member of Tau Kappa Epsilon (TKE). “Between schoolwork and Greek life, being a RA didn’t seem right for me at the moment. I had a lot of schoolwork, fraternity obligations, and other responsibilities, and it seemed a bit overwhelming to take on such a large responsibility,” Copertino said.
Copertino thought it was too soon in his college career to take on commitments. “I remember I went home for the weekend and spoke to my sister about the opportunity, she was mad that I declined the offer,” Copertino said. Copertino’s sister convinced him that being a RA was a great idea because it would look good on a resumé and that he would learn organization, independence and responsibility. After a week of debating, Copertino accepted the offer.
Copertino underwent a thorough two week interview process. The interview was broken down into sections. “I first met with Joe Vernance, associate director of campus life and Matt Blanar, assistant director of campus life. They asked what would I do in cases of emergencies to test me to see if I can think quick on my feet,” Copertino said. The next part of the interview included discussing his interests and schedule with Ashley John, director of campus life and Michael Berthel, dean of students.
“I remember my first day on the job. I did room checks with RA Heidi, did rounds of checking the halls, and hung up yers for Take Back the Night,” Copertino said. There are a total of six RA’s in Riggs hall. “Even though Louis came mid semester to our RA staff he has already made a huge impact in our Riggs hall community. He is extremely motivated to learn new things and to make a positive experience for all the residents,” Heidi Ritko, a senior digital arts and design major, said.
Copertino has been on duty for about a month and a half. “At this point in time I am very happy that I took the position,” he said. His advice to anyone interested in becoming a residential assistant is to always keep an open mind and to expect the unexpected. “In a lot of situations you have to think quick on your feet, always remain calm,” he said.
Copertino learned the importance of teamwork and how respect and communication with your co-workers is crucial. “I think Louis as a RA is responsible. He takes being a RA very seriously and respects the residents very well,” Brandon Mohan, sophomore and digital art and design major and resident of Riggs Hall, said.
“The best part about being a RA is meeting new people and being social with the campus community,” Copertino said. Copertino hopes to be a residential assistant next fall as well as become an orientation leader.
The application deadline to become a RA for fall 2018 has already passed, but will begin again in spring 2019. LIU Promise sends out in- formative emails to students at the end of February.