The student adviser role is one of the more unique aspects of life at Grinnell and,personally, it's defined my growth and development as a Grinnellian. In my first year, my student adviser became my fist go-to person when it came to adjusting to Grinnell. She was able to help me smooth my transition from living in my own room to living with a roommate. She even kindly accompanied me to student resources on campus, such as academic advising or the student health and counseling center (SHACs). My student adviser also inspired me to become a student adviser and to serve as part of the residence life student staff.
What exactly is a student adviser? Is that the same as residence adviser? Well, yes and no. A student adviser is placed on each floor of the dorms to act as a peer mentor and a resource to students. We're also in charge of building floor community, understanding the floor atmosphere, and facilitating fun community-building programs such as study breaks. Similar to residence advisers, student advisers go through intensive training to prepare for how to handle all facets of student dorm life. Unlike residence advisers, the student adviser position is voluntary. Even though I'm in a leadership role and hold authority, I don't feel that student advisers are meant to be perceived as authoritative or intimidating. My floor residents approach me in a friendly manner and understand that I'm a community member as well as a student adviser. They don't see me as an intimidating figure that's out to get them, because I regularly throw wellness-related study breaks (such as cooking, baking, birthday notices, ice cream trips). Student advisers are important to residence life at Grinnell because they understand the difficulties students face and they also know the importance of building a fun, close-knit community.