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Residence Life ready for packed year

August 22, 2019

Sean Weimer will be in Anderson Hall. Sophie Trobitzsch will be in Hayman Hall. They’re ready for the upcoming academic year and they’re ready to be mentors and leaders on campus as Resident Assistants.

Jen Nelson, Director of Residence Life at The College of Idaho, has everything mapped out and comprehensive lists of who goes where.

They’ll all work together, along with the rest of the staff and faculty, to welcome what is expected to be the largest incoming freshman class in school history to campus later this week.

“It’s a good challenge,” Nelson said. “It’s been a really fun process because I’ve interacted, one-on-one, with so many students this summer.”

There are 730 beds available on campus and every one of them is filled. Nelson said every chair, every space is spoken for at this point. Once students move into the dorms, Nelson will rely on her staff of 30 RAs to help ease the transition to the students.

 “When I was a freshman, I enjoyed watching the interactions of the RAs and seeing how they did things,” said Weimer ’21, a philosophy major. “Being that kind of helpful person and, ‘hey, you can come to me if you need to,’ that’s a good draw.”

Nelson said all RAs go through an application and vetting process that includes group interviews and one-on-one interviews as well. All are trained in conflict resolution, diversity and inclusion, suicide awareness, emergency situations, and are CPR/first-aid certified. She said the group has been working together since last spring in preparation of this week.

“Our RAs have good training,” Nelson said. “They’re chosen because they have good instincts. They’re natural leaders who want to help other people out.”

She calls it “sparkle.” She wants RAs who are thoughtful, pro-active, and genuinely like people. She also wants a balance between gregarious, outgoing leaders and people who are a little more subtle in their support of students.

That includes the campus’s growing international population. Trobitzsch is a native of Germany who admitted to being intimidated when she arrived last fall because so many students arrived with their families while she came to Caldwell with just one suitcase.

“Everyone already had that support system and I didn’t, so I really appreciated everyone who helped me, especially my RAs, who helped me feel at home,” said Trobitzsch ’22, a double-major in international political economy and environmental studies. “I want to be that person to other people and help them to make that connection to other people. To encourage that interaction because it is so important, especially for internationals, to feel like they are home.”

The College of Idaho has a 128-year-old legacy of excellence. The College is known for its outstanding academic programs, winning athletics tradition and history of producing successful graduates, including seven Rhodes Scholars, three governors, and countless business leaders and innovators. Its distinctive PEAK Curriculum challenges students to attain competency in the four knowledge peaks of humanities, natural sciences, social sciences and a professional field—empowering them to earn a major and three minors in four years. The College’s close-knit, residential campus is located in Caldwell, where its proximity both to Boise and to the world-class outdoor activities of southwest Idaho’s mountains and rivers offers unique opportunities for learning beyond the classroom.  For more information, visit