Q&A with Residential Hall Director


Photo Courtesy of Nathan Runnells

Portrait of Nathan Runnells.

By Kaolin Sewell, Contributing Writer

Nathan Runnells, residence hall director for Nugent Hall, has been in the University housing community for 13 years. He is an advocate for residence hall communities and strives to inspire the next wave of resident advisors and multicultural advocates.

The Daily Illini: Do you have any tips when picking a residence hall?

Nathan Russels: Each residence hall has its own flavor. It’s the students who create a community. Both new and returning students can choose to stay in a hall within an area close to campus. Typically, students choose to stay in a hall close to friends or near certain buildings. Many halls feature Living-Learning Communities (LLCs), which serve as great outlets for additional resident involvement.


DI: What is a ‘Living-Learning Community?’

Get The Daily Illini in your inbox!

  • Catch the latest on University of Illinois news, sports, and more. Delivered every weekday.
  • Stay up to date on all things Illini sports. Delivered every Monday.
Thank you for subscribing!

NR: An LLC is a unit accommodated in certain residence halls. Typically, LLCs are catered toward students with similar study fields or interests. LLCs offer courses for credit in the halls, bring in guest speakers and participate in field trips.

There are currently 10 LLCs in University Housing: Global Crossroads, Health Professions, Honors LLC, Innovation LLC, Intersections, Leadership Experience through Academic Development and Service (LEADS), Sustainability, Unit One/Allen Hall, Weston Exploration and Women in Math, Science, and Engineering (WIMSE).


DI: Do you have any options for upperclassmen?

NR: Yes, upperclassmen can find themselves at home in Bousfield Hall. Bousfield Hall features single rooms and suite-style accommodations. It is our second–newest hall on campus.

Wassaja Hall is our newest hall in Ikenberry Commons. This hall features double rooms within small communities accompanied by individual bathrooms per cluster. This hall is compliant with environmental sustainability.


DI: What are some ways to get involved in the residence hall community?

NR: Apply to become a resident advisor or multicultural advocate. Or, become a desk clerk or peer leader in a Living-Learning Community.


DI: What is the difference between an RA and an MA?

Resident advisors enforce policy, while multicultural advocates live out inclusiveness.


DI: Where can one find the application?

NR: Online at the University Housing website under Parapro Application.


DI: What is the deadline to apply for RA and MA positions?

The application is live between Oct. 2 to 16.


DI: How many RAs and MAs are accepted?

Within each hall, there is only one multicultural advocate, and per building there are between eight to 14 resident advisors.


DI: What does the application look like?

NR: Applicants must write one essay, attach their resume, and if interested, write an additional essay for Living– Learning Community involvement. Check our website for eligibility requirements.


DI: After applying online, what is the next step?

NR: Based off of their online application submission, applicants will undergo an additional interview component. We interview roughly 300 applicants. If selected for the position, incoming leaders will register for a training course, EOL 199: Residential Life Paraprofessional Course.


DI: Do you have any other advice when applying?

NR: Visit the University Housing website to learn more about the educational outcomes under the Illinois Residential Experience: Academic Success, Interpersonal Competence, Engaged Citizenship, Justice Exploration and Campus, Community and Cultural Connectedness.


Visit the University Housing paraprofessional page for more information.

[email protected]