By Mina Haq
It’s no surprise that after three years of being a Resident Assistant, Ben Borchers has mastered friendliness. It was clear within five minutes that he seemed to know everyone around him and everyone felt comfortably at ease in his presence.
The 21-year-old senior was born in Columbia, Maryland but raised in Ellicott City, where he lived with his parents, grandmother and younger brother Sam. He stayed loyal to his hometown name by living in Ellicott Hall for all four years of college as a Gemstone Honors student and an electrical engineering major.
“I’ve always had Ellicott in my address in one way, shape or form,” Borchers joked.
After graduating from Mount Hebron High School in 2011, Borchers decided to come to the University of Maryland for both the affordability and the engineering program, which he called “outstanding.”
“I didn’t feel like I was settling,” said Borchers. “Even though it was the most affordable option, it was also a good match.”
Borchers came to campus focusing strictly on academics, and realized at the end of his freshman year that he wanted more out of his college experience.
“I realized I needed to get out more and stop worrying about academics and putting all my eggs in that one basket,” said Borchers. “I really needed to get out there and explore and make new friendships. Being an RA has helped me with that.”
Borchers described himself as “the kid on the floor who was just going be an RA” freshman year, as he was unafraid in social situations and got along well with his RA at the time. His decision was also influenced by his father.
“My dad was originally an RA and he always had the craziest stories because this was back in the day when everything was legal, or you really couldn’t write anyone up for anything,” said Borchers. “He had a lot of fun with it and I wanted to bring that energy and community development to my residents.”
Now, Borchers plans on graduating in December and hopes to work full time at Isagenix, a business designed to help entrepreneurs get financially and physically fit. He’s involved in the triathlon club on campus, and spends his free time at the gym. He attributes most of his leadership qualities to his experiences as an RA.
“It’s made me more open,” said Borchers. “It’s definitely helped me work on responsibility, team building, and all that stuff. It’s kind of like being a leader and a babysitter.”
Despite Borchers’ personal growth, spending four years in the same building allowed him to really build a community and have a presence. He constantly waved hello to residents and friends with the perpetual enthusiasm of an RA on move in day, helping him foster a better environment for his residents.
“The most rewarding part is definitely making new friendships with my residents and seeing them come together and really creating their own community,” said Borchers. “Anything from going out to dinner with them and seeing them interact and go to events, all my floors have just been really well bonded together.”