Student scholarship recipients held to higher standards

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There are a number of scholarship positions available to students around campus, but with the added funds comes added responsibilities.

Resident assistants, student government members, and ambassadors are all held to a higher standard in regards to their presence on social media, their behavior while on and off campus, and their academic abilities.

Seth Gubler, director of housing and resident life, said the simple act of having a title does not mean students are held to a higher standard but rather the compensation students are given for their efforts.

“[Students with scholarship positions] are held to a higher standard because there is something for them to lose that other students don’t have,” Gubler said. “If this RA doesn’t meet certain expectations or fails to fulfill [his or her] other responsibilities, then they lose something that another student would not lose because they don’t have it.”

Gubler said there are a plethora of requirements that set students with scholarship positions apart from other students. Students desiring to be a resident assistant are required to have and maintain a minimum 2.0 GPA to be hired. Resident assistants are also prohibited from having jobs or other commitments that are more than 20 hours per week, not including classes.

“We’re worried about [scholarship students] being successful here,” Gubler said.

Ambassador Mitch Siniscalchi, a sophomore media studies major from Stansbury Park, said ambassadors are held to a similar academic standard as students participating in the ambassador program are required to maintain a 3.0 GPA throughout their employment.

Other than academic and extracurricular requirements, resident assistants are also held to a degree of behavioral standards that their peers may not be held to.

“If they violate rules and responsibilities, not only would they follow a similar disciplinary process that any student would, but then there’s added discipline in relation to their employment,” Gubler said.

Ambassadors also have added social media requirements on top of their academic and behavioral standards.

“[The ambassadors] represent Dixie State [University] as a school and a lifestyle, so as you can imagine we do have to be responsible and mature in what choices we make,” Siniscalchi said.

Alumna Keshara Bjorkman, former public relations social media manager for DSUSA, said for her there was a higher standard for social media because she ran The Dixie Life accounts, but overall most other members did not have social media standards and about half did not have active accounts affiliated with their involvement.

Gubler also said resident assistants are dissimilar from their peers in that their duties and standards do not end when they are off campus. Additionally, resident assistants are asked not to enter into relationships with the residents they oversee in order to avoid Title IX issues, Gubler said.

Gubler said willing students are not without compensation, however. Although other programs, such as the ambassadors, have scholarships, resident assistants are offered rent deduction as well as food plans and stipends depending on the location.

Similarly ambassadors, Siniscalchi said, are compensated with full tuition scholarships. Student government members can apply for stipend positions within the organization, Bjorkman said.

“Other than [the scholarships] you make [over] 35 new friends instantly, and those friends turn into family very quickly,” Siniscalchi said. “[There are also] a lot of opportunities to make connections and network.”

Bjorkman said she was able to learn from the added responsibilities and higher standards.

“The benefit of responsibility in most, if not every, case is to learn from the experiences you have,” Bjorkman said. “It’s a kind of pressure to meet expectations that is meant to drive you forward, not hold you back.”

Gubler said despite the added pressures, students with scholarship positions, as student leaders, play an integral part in the college experience.

“The value of student leaders is very high whether that person is a resident assistant, an ambassador [or] someone on [DSUSA] because they really help create an experience that’s not only fun for students, but also turns the attention to student success,” Gubler said.