Graduate Housing Assistant (GHA) Position Description

Employment Dates

  • Summer GRA Employment Dates: June 16, 2020 -August 25, 2020
  • Summer Training: June 16 – 20, 2020
  • Academic Year Employment Dates: August 18, 2020- June 16, 2021
  • Fall Quarter Training Dates: August 18-22, 2020
  • Winter Quarter Training Date: TBD

General Summary

The Graduate Resident Assistant (GRA) is an essential member of the Northwestern Residential Services team whose primary role is to facilitate the social, academic, and personal transition of graduate residential students to the Northwestern community. The GRA is an integral member of the Engelhart, McManus, and Garrett Place communities. The principal GRA responsibilities involve three main areas: administrative duties, event planning/community development, and on-call responsibilities.

GRAs report directly to a Resident Director, and indirectly to the Assistant Directors, and Director of Residential Life. GRAs work collaboratively with all Residential Services staff. GRAs in McManus will also collaborate with the Kellogg Housing Coordinator to provide support to students in the building.

Responsibilities and Duties

Administrative and Operational Responsibilities (25%)

  • Serve as a liaison to students and administrative offices, and collaborate with campus partners.
  • Be available to educate interested applicants about the GRA position and assist with the selection process, as needed.
  • Attend bi-weekly 2 hour team meetings, as well as meet bi-weekly for one-on-one meetings with Resident Director for team development, program planning, and to receive community updates. In addition, McManus GRAs will attend a bi-weekly meeting with the Resident Director and Kellogg Housing Coordinator.
  • Assist with operation processes such as resident check in and check out; administer keys for lockout situations; and room inspections.
  • Communicate regularly with RD, GRA team, and central office staff.
  • Perform administrative tasks, including duty logs, incident reports, program planning forms, and evaluations, in a timely manner.

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

  • Serve in a duty rotation to ensure safety, security, and policy enforcement within the residential area during nights and weekends (8:00pm-8:00am) throughout the academic year, as well as weekend day duty (8:00am-8:00pm). There will also be duty responsibilities during designated break periods through the academic year.
  • Perform on-call duties, including rounds of building, lock-outs, assisting residents with maintenance concerns, confronting and documenting policy violations or inappropriate behavior. Enforce rules and regulations such as noise concerns, property damage, fire safety, and other potential policy violations in a consistent and professional manner. GRAs will also assist residents with these items during times when not on-call.
  • Ensure the security and safety of the building by aiding with fire alarm evacuations, educating residents on security protocol for the building, and maintaining an alert and engaged community.
  • Submit all reports (Duty Logs, Incident Reports, and Maintenance Requests) to RD with details of incidents as needed and in a timely manner.
  • Appropriately handle building keys.
    Respect the confidentiality of privileged information.
  • Build and maintain a good working relationship with all University staff.
  • Provide suggestions and recommendations in order to improve the living experience for residents and their families.
  • Other duties as assigned.

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%)

  • Develop relationships through intentional and meaningful interactions with residents in the residential area to build community and create a welcoming environment.
  • Implement the community development model.
  • Plan and implement small scale and large scale programs to meet the needs of the students, support department initiatives, and collaborate with university offices.
  • Propose, advertise, facilitate, and evaluate building-wide social and educational programs throughout the year, specifically, monthly building wide programming.
  • Support fellow team members through attendance at programs and activities.
  • Publicize campus events by posting fliers, banners, posters, electronic means, and/or word of mouth.
  • Other duties as assigned.

Qualifications and Requirements

GHA positions are available for graduate students enrolled at Northwestern University full-time. Candidates and GHAs must be in good academic and conduct standing with Northwestern University. Preference will be given to individuals who have prior residential life or similar experience.

If you are a Kellogg student planning to participate in exchange during the fall, winter, or spring quarters you are not eligible for the academic year GHA position. If you planning to be away for the fall, winter, or spring quarter for other reasons you are also not eligible for the academic year GHA position.

A background check will be conducted for all individuals selected during the hiring process. Employment is conditional upon a successful background check.

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 GRA Employment: June 16, 2020 -August 25, 2020
  • Training Dates: June 16-20, 2020
  • Break Duty: July 3-July 5, 2020
  • Summer Quarter Inspections: August 2-5, 2020

Academic Year Employment: August 18, 2020- June 16, 2021

  • Fall Quarter Training Dates: August 25-29, 2020
  • Fall Quarter Move-Ins: August 18-September 2, 2020
  • Fall Quarter Inspections: December 13-16, 2020
  • Winter Quarter Training Dates: TBD
  • Break Duty (Will need to work part of one or more breaks in academic calendar): November 25-29, 2020; December 11-January 1, 2021; March 19-28, 2021

*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 GHA 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. GHAs 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 Life 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.