Event assistants aid student groups, receive free housing
As ALAS (Association of Latin American Students) members led auditions for more than 20 hopeful Carnaval participants on Sunday, a sophomore in an emblazoned black polo quietly set up the speaker system and video-recording equipment at the front of the Mudd Multipurpose Room. As they danced, he remained alert for any technical difficulties.
Sophomore Daniel Michon is one of eight undergraduate students given free Residential Life housing for working as an event assistant—a position created by ResLife to make student events run more smoothly.
Event assistants are available for any ResLife meeting space and are required for any group using College Hall. They help student groups use audio/visual equipment, set up rooms, communicate with the housekeeping staff and liaise with catering services to make sure events go as smoothly as planned.
“Really, they’re there to help with the smaller details people don’t often think about,” said Brittney Roetzel, assistant director for special facilities and programs for ResLife.
The assistants also help plan for essential services like trash removal and coat storage at larger functions.
Event Services also has event assistants available for any event planned in the Danforth University Center or Graham Chapel.
More than 40 students applied last April for the ResLife position, and eight were selected after a round of interviews. Next semester, ResLife hopes to expand the group to 12.
Compensation for next year has not been decided, but ResLife stands by its decision to pay for housing.
“For ResLife programs, we compensate with housing, and we want to make sure they’re ResLife students because they work in ResLife spaces,” Roetzel said.
The Social Justice Center (SJC) is also a ResLife program, but its employees are paid through work-study. Roetzel said that this is because the SJC is more of an auxiliary program with ResLife, and therefore does not necessitate free housing.
Michon says that compensation did not play a role in his decision to apply to be an event assistant.
“A lot of [Event Assistants] are on College Council, and they looked at this job as another way to extend to the entire Wash. U. community,” Michon said.
According to Michon, compensation for the position is unrelated to recently contested fees imposed by ResLife.
“A lot of people think the new rent space fees are going to us, and that’s just ridiculous. We’re just getting our housing compensated, but that’s not a main focus or anything,” Michon said. “You have to think of [the position] like an RA—people aren’t nitpicking that RAs are useless, that we don’t need RAs—RAs are an integral part of this university, and we’re trying to make this position look like that too.”
ResLife requires that event assistants live on campus so that they are close to the spaces they care for.
Event assistants are easily able to contact people, like housekeeping and groundskeeping staff, in the event of an unexpected occurrence.
According to Roetzel, an event assistant on duty at a recent College Hall event noticed the steps outside were icing over and promptly contacted the groundskeeping staff, who made sure the pathway was cleared.
“We’re a team,” Michon said. “There are a lot of different viewpoints, and everyone brings their own things to the table.”