Jay Roy: Student, Resident Assistant, Friend
If you’re like most kids on campus, you probably hide whatever you shouldn’t be doing from the patrolling resident assistants. Armed with nothing but walkie-talkies, you’ve seen them make students dump their beers cans, break up fights, solve room problems, schedule programs, and leap small buildings in a single bound. Jay Roy is one of these see-all, do-all R.A.s. But just who is Jay Roy?
Born Jason Richard Roy, he began his life on May 19, 1980 in the southern town of Medery, Louisiana. Roy moved to Cleveland, Ohio at age one, then moved a second time to settle in North Kingstown, Rhode Island. His parents chose a Catholic school education, which he calls “a good basis for discipline.” However, most of Roy’s manners come from his mother Cindy, a Mississippi native.
“I had a strong `southern gentleman’ upbringing,” explains Roy. “My mom was more strict than any Catholic school. She was real big on the way I carry myself in public, and how I treat women.”
Roy is proud of his close relationship with his parents, Cindy and Richard. “Family is the one cushion in life. You can’t neglect that, or you’re lost,” he says.
Close inspection of Roy’s dorm room reveals that he is a “Star Wars” fan, from the numerous posters taped to the wall. A self-proclaimed movie buff, Roy also likes to play video games and beach volleyball. Neither movies nor volleyball are in Roy’s future career plans though- the mass communications major’s heart is set on being on television.
“That would be my dream,” says Roy, a junior. “I’d love to be a sportscaster.”
For now, Roy is content with his R.A. job.
Being an R.A., in my 20 years of living, is probably the greatest job I’ve ever had,” he says. “I like being able to meet a ton of great people.”
Besides the social aspect, being an R.A. allows Roy to help out people.
“It’s the little things that don’t seem like a big deal -people need numbers to call, or need answers to campus questions,” Roy says.
He also adds that getting to live in a single, with two desks and two closets, isn’t such a bad deal.
Before actually beginning the school year as an R.A., one must return to school two weeks early and train.
“It was cool,” says Roy. “No one’s here, and you can walk around naked.”
About 60 returning R.A.s attended this summer’s program. Roy admits being intimidated at first, considering it was his first time training.
“Everyone was really friendly though,” he says. “I think I learned those 60 names faster than I’ve learned anything.”
During the training program, R.A.s learn crisis management – dealing with eating disorders, drugs, alcohol, for example. They also learn how to make programs.
“We use what’s called D.S.P.I.C.E: diversity, service, physical, intellectual, cultural, and emotional. Then we incorporate these into the programs we do,” says Roy.
His latest program, being an R.A. for the second floor boys od Dana, was “Sex with Cream.”
“It was about safe sex,” he says. “We spoke about being safe and not being stupid.”
New programs Roy plans to have are paintball, a Chinese food dinner, and masseuses during finals week.
The R.A. training course also consists of camping in the woods for three days. During this time, they perform rope courses and team trust falls. Roy’s most memorable experience was the “Leap of Faith.” With a harness on, R.A.s climb a 40-foot pole, and carefully walk across a rope to the other side. Once at the end, they hook themselves up to another cord, and then jump.
“It was the next best thing to bungee jumping,” recalls Roy. “It’s about overcoming fears. I don’t have a fear of heights…but it was a scary-ass thing to do.”
While Roy admits that being an R.A. is one of the best things that has ever happened to him, he also says it’s not all fun and games. Students break windows, urinate wherever they choose, throw up in bathrooms while cursing him off, and 6’4″, 230-pound drunks need to be carried to the nurse- all these would certainly not make the job of R.A. seem at all glamorous. Roy has learned that all this is just part of being an R.A., which he describes as a “24-hour job.”
“I was on the phone, talking about problems at home, and some guys from the hall come in, wanting me to solve problems with their room,” recalls Roy. “I wanted to say, `My personal life is more important.’ But these guys come to me, and I have to help them out. I put the phone call on hold. As an R.A., you have to prioritize.”
Roy gets along well with all the students in the hall.
“He understands that we’re young adults and not children,” says sophomore Chris Munzing. “Jay Roy is more of a friend, yet still an authority figure.”
Bill Horne, also a sophomore, agrees with Munzing. Horne also praises Roy’s programs.
“He puts on a bunch of socials,” says Horne. “They’re very interactive. Not many people show up- but when you do, you definitely have a good time.”
“Jay’s a lot cooler than my R.A. last year,” Munzing says. “I felt like I was in a prison. This year, I feel like I’m at home.”
Sophomore Pat Rogers likes how Roy always helps the floor out.
“We needed another player for our intramural basketball team,” says Rogers. “Jay helped out by going on our team.”
“Of course, he always yells at me for not getting back on my defense,” adds Munzing.
Basketball is one of Roy’s favorite sports. On his wall is a Michael Jordon poster, reading:
“I’ve missed more than 9,000 shots in my career. I’ve lost almost 300 games. Twenty-six times, I’ve been trusted to take the game-winning shot and missed. I’ve failed over and over again in my life. And that is why I succeed.”
Jordon is one of his idols. Roy admires him for his “never-say-die” nature.
“In his career, people said he couldn’t do it, but he did – and he did it great,” says Roy. “I’ve always been someone who’s afraid of losing or failing, of making an idiot of myself. But in reality, when you do that…it gives a springboard for doing it right the next time.”