What is a UGA?
This year, I was selected to be an Undergraduate Advisor, more commonly known as UGA, for first-year students in the North Park housing community.
So, what is a UGA?
For starters, there is generally one UGA per floor in the dormitories; so, each UGA is assigned twenty or so residents. UGAs are meant to be a support system for their floors and go through a rigorous training process at the start of each school year. This training is one week long, and covers topics such as academics, mental health, and job resources, amongst others. Our training does not give us the answer to every concern that our residents may have throughout the year, but it does teach us where they can find the resources they need—on and off campus
As a UGA for first-year students, I have some additional responsibilities. These include leading weekly floor meetings to pass along information on community events, resources, and anything happening around campus. It is also a chance for the residents to come together and chat at the end of the week—there's also snacks! Additionally, we hold a few large events each term, from spa day to sunrise-hikes, to give residents a chance to step back from school, relax and get to know one another.
UGAs also do "walkthroughs" a few times a week, in which they walk through the dormitories later in the night to make sure everyone is safe and that noise levels are appropriate (not everyone's a night owl).
The job does come with some pretty cool perks. UGAs are given a stipend to cover their meal plan each term, are assigned a one-person room for the year, get unique gear, and receive three paychecks each term. Additionally, UGAs in the same housing community are a team, and as such have team-building activities every once in a while. These range from dinners to out-of-town trips, and are an awesome way to bond and feel part of the community.
In short, UGAs at Dartmouth are a support system to make students are safe, feel at home, and have access to all the information they need. I love my job, and I can't wait to see what the rest of the year brings.