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Graduate Resident Assistant (GRA) Position Description

Employment Dates

General Summary

GRAs report directly to a Resident Director, and indirectly to the Program Manager, Area Coordinators, Assistant Directors, and Director of Residential Community and Support. GRAs work collaboratively with all Residential Services staff. 

General Responsibilities and Duties

Administrative and Operational Responsibilities (25%)

Safety and Security/On-Call Responsibilities (50%)

While on duty, the GRA will carry a university issued cell phone and remain within the assigned buildings to respond to the needs of the residents. GRA must be able to be on scene and respond to a situation within ten minutes. 5 GRAs serve on the McManus night duty rotation and 6 GRAs serve on the Engelhart & Garrett Place night duty rotation. This number is subject to change if there are staff vacancies. GRAs may also be asked to assist with duty coverage at any of the graduate housing buildings (Engelhart, Garett Place, or McManus) as needed.

Community Development Responsibilities (25%)


Physical Requirements

This position requires frequent overnight response to student emergencies, which includes interrupted sleep and ability to wake up from a phone call while sleeping, the ability to lift up to 10 lbs., and the ability to walk up and down stairs. 

Mandatory Dates

Summer Term Employment:

Academic Year Employment: Academic Year Employment:

*GRAs are required to be at all training dates for term of appointment.

GRAs are required to assist with all major check-in and check-out processes, including on evenings and weekends. Time-away requests must be submitted at least one week prior to the time away, with the understanding that it will need to be approved by their RD. GRAs must not make travel arrangements without consulting with their RD first. This includes university dates around holiday closures and break periods.


Each GRA will receive an apartment in their assigned community. A one-bedroom apartment will be provided, but another unit type may be assigned (without additional compensation) if a one-bedroom unit is not available. The apartment includes utilities, cable TV access, and wireless internet. A free laundry facility is provided in the building. $150/month in earnings is also provided. GRAs are expected to live in their apartment during the time of their employment.

Staff requiring a two-bedroom apartment will be provided rent credit comparable to a one-bedroom apartment and are responsible for the difference in rent.

Staff members who leave the position will be required to vacate the assigned apartment and may be required to relocate to a different apartment community within 48 hours of when their termination letter or verbal resignation is received. 

Additional Information

Northwestern University is an equal opportunity, affirmative action educator, and employer. Northwestern University does not discriminate against any individual on the basis of race, color, religion, national origin, sex, sexual orientation, gender identity, gender expression, parental status, marital status, age, disability, citizenship, veteran status, or other protected group status in matters of admissions, employment, housing, or services or in the educational programs or activities it operates.

Residential Services invites you to approach us early in the application process and contact AccessibleNU (; 847-467-5530) if you think you may require a housing accommodation. In addition, we welcome you to work with us and the Office of Equal Opportunity and Access (; 847-491-7458) if you think you may require a work-related accommodation.

At Will Employment

Either the staff member or Northwestern University may end the employment relationship at will, with or without cause or advance notice, at any time during or after the orientation and review period.