RHA looks to unite students

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Students attend a Residence Hall Association event. Photo by Anthony Garnier

After an energetic Groundhog, students are likely looking forward to a semester full of similarly exciting campus events.

But while Student Programming at the University of Dallas (SPUD) hosts the largest and most heavily funded events, other organizations tailor their events to target different audiences and fit available funds.

“SPUD isn’t just for students; it’s for alumni, it’s for administration, it’s for faculty, it’s for everyone,” director of Student Programming Moey Brown said. “We kind of integrate the whole community.”

SPUD‘s mission of broad integration is complemented by the Residence Hall Association (RHA) and the Resident Assistants (RAs) who work with RHA in order to unite residents, especially freshmen, and foster a more closely knit community in the dorms.

“We’re a whole separate organization, and we’re catered primarily to just the residential students,” Residence Coordinator Anna Hotard said.

“Just by definition I would say RHA really focuses on their specific residence halls, and because mainly it’s freshmen they’re trying to integrate,” Brown said. “If we were to lump RHA with us we wouldn’t have the time or the energy to get to know individual residents as well as they can, and I don’t think RHA would have the experience or the time or the budget to do what we do.”

For RHA, each side of campus is required to host five events, and each individual residence hall must put on three. RAs put on three programs per month, with a $100 budget per semester.

“RHAs typically have to … submit proposals to me while RAs have a little more relaxed events,” Hotard said. “[RAs] have a lot more to complete over the course of the semester, [but] they can be as simple as, ‘Hey, let’s all go get dinner together,’ and that doesn’t cost anything if they go to the Rat or they go to the cafeteria … It’s just a different approach to their programs.”

Still, RAs must be creative to stay within their event budgets.

“Thriftiness you learn fast as an RA,” RA Nick Krause said.

The two groups often plan events together so as to combine budgets and energy.

“RHA has a bigger budget so a lot of times they will team up to have better programs and more help for them,” Hotard said. “If they can attend these and bring residents, that can count as a program for them … I definitely encourage it.”

One issue to consider with regard to cooperation is different characters among the residence halls. Clark Hall, with its private bathrooms and large population of older students seems to present particular difficulty.

“Clark Hall has big ideas,” Hotard said. “Clark Hall is always hard because our [representatives] change mid-semester, since some go to Rome and then the others come back … But they also have a bigger population to cater toward.”

“If you’re in a triple you’re basically in a hermitage, you have no incentive to even interact with the people you’re living with,” Krause said. “It’s not to the discredit of the Clark RAs, just sociologically, it’s not easy … Community-building isn’t easy in Clark, and I think [funding and energy] would be better spent in the freshman dorms.”

Though all of the organizations are aimed at improving campus environment and student relationships, monetary issues can lay varying forms of stress on individual efforts.

“RHA, OSA and SALC just have to decide what is the priority,” Krause said. “The community, you’ll get undoubtedly, because freshmen are a captive audience, or [you can focus on] one big event. That’s just a decision people will have to make.”Moey Brown said. “We kind of integrate the whole community.”

SPUD‘s mission of broad integration is complemented by the Residence Hall Association (RHA) and the Resident Assistants (RAs) who work with RHA in order to unite residents, especially freshmen, and foster a more closely knit community in the dorms.

“We’re a whole separate organization, and we’re catered primarily to just the residential students,” Residence Coordinator intern Anna Hotard said.

“Just by definition I would say RHA really focuses on their specific residence halls, and because mainly it’s freshmen they’re trying to integrate,” Brown said. “If we were to lump RHA with us we wouldn’t have the time or the energy to get to know individual residents as well as they can, and I don’t think RHA would have the experience or the time or the budget to do what we do.”

For RHA, each side of campus is required to host five events, and each individual residence hall must put on three. RAs put on three programs per month, with a $100 budget per semester.

“RHAs typically have to … submit proposals to me while RAs have a little more relaxed events,” Hotard said. “[RAs] have a lot more to complete over the course of the semester, [but] they can be as simple as, ‘Hey, let’s all go get dinner together,’ and that doesn’t cost anything if they go to the Rat or they go to the cafeteria … It’s just a different approach to their programs.”

Still, RAs must be creative to stay within their event budgets.

“Thriftiness you learn fast as an RA,” RA Nick Krause said.

The two groups often plan events together so as to combine budgets and energy.

“RHA has a bigger budget so a lot of times they will team up to have better programs and more help for them,” Hotard said. “If they can attend these and bring residents, that can count as a program for them … I definitely encourage it.”

One issue to consider with regard to cooperation is different characters among the residence halls. Clark Hall, with its private bathrooms and large population of older students seems to present particular difficulty.

“Clark Hall has big ideas,” Hotard said. “Clark Hall is always hard because our [representatives] change mid-semester, since some go to Rome and then the others come back … But they also have a bigger population to cater toward.”

“If you’re in a triple you’re basically in a hermitage, you have no incentive to even interact with the people you’re living with,” Krause said. “It’s not to the discredit of the Clark RAs, just sociologically, it’s not easy … Community-building isn’t easy in Clark, and I think [funding and energy] would be better spent in the freshman dorms.”

Though all of the organizations are aimed at improving campus environment and student relationships, monetary issues can lay varying forms of stress on individual efforts.

“RHA, OSA and SALC just have to decide what is the priority,” Krause said. “The community, you’ll get undoubtedly, because freshmen are a captive audience, or [you can focus on] one big event. That’s just a decision people will have to make.”

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