Journal of College & University Student Housing Vol 49, No. 1 - 14

Resident Assistants with
Minoritized Identities: The Promise
of Identity-Affirming Microclimates
in Enhancing RA Experiences
THE MINORITIZED IDENTITIES OF MANY RESIDENT ASSISTANTS are rarely
a topic of studies that evaluate their campus experiences, yet these identities are
crucial in making these experiences positive. This qualitative research study helps
fill this gap in the literature by reporting the experiences of 21 resident assistants
with minoritized identities attending four different four-year institutions in the
United States. Following the methodological strategies of constructivist grounded
theory, our findings contribute new theoretical and practical knowledge on how
identity-affirming microclimates can complement identity development, capacity
building, and empowerment among resident assistants with minoritized identities.
Our study's findings can be translated into practical implications that can be used
by professional staff to support the creation of identity-affirming microclimates
that actively champion skill development, team development, and appreciation
through humanizing social justice praxis.
Editor's note: The authors have chosen to lowercase the word White, which would normally
be capitalized according to APA guidelines, in order to avoid seeming to center whiteness.
S
ocial justice remains a competency, goal, and process within housing and residence
life as well as student affairs (Association of College and University
Housing Officers-International [ACUHO-I], 2021; College Student Educators
International [ACPA] & National Association of Student Personnel Administrators
[NASPA], 2015; Wagner & Scott, 2019). Residence halls maintain strong potential to
serve as transformative spaces that can engender social change and promote social
justice (Otchere et al., 2017; Sears & Tu, 2017). In particular, residence life staff and residence
hall student organizations can spark conversations about social change efforts
on campus and bring attention to broader campus climate issues through programming
and inclusive community living. Professional and paraprofessional residence life
staff are well positioned to advise, support, and mentor students through educative
processes that result in positive developmental community outcomes (Blimling, 2015;
Sears & Tu, 2017).
Volume 49, No. 1 * 2022 11

Journal of College & University Student Housing Vol 49, No. 1

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