The Residence Hall Association: Cultivating a home away from home

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The Residence Hall Association is happy to announce its return after being cut three years ago due to budgeting. RHA had been a long standing tradition at the University of Dallas that allowed residents living in the halls on campus to become more involved in student life.

“RHA is a student-led organization that aims to strengthen and foster UD’s residential community through programing,” said Kaylie Vo, a senior politics major and the RHA intern. RHA’s main goal is to motivate students to participate in community building activities and events by having the students host and make the events possible. 

This year, RHA consists of two student representatives from each traditional dorm and five student representatives from Clark Hall. The student-run organization is devoted to fostering a community among the freshmen and sophomore halls through sponsoring dorm wide events that bring students together. 

RHA and the events it hosts can be particularly valuable to first year students. 

“Freshman year is such a transition period and I think that it is really nice to get on the ground running and get involved and really put yourself out there,” Vo said. 

Richi Avila, freshman politics major and RHA representative, explained how RHA can help students integrate into the community more effectively and add to the overall experience of residence life. 

“[RHA] really completes the school experience,” Avila said. “It gets you together with the people around you and in that way you make the school yours.”

In Clark Hall, where a lack of community has been highlighted recently, RHA is working to put on events that carry the community created during freshman year over into sophomore year.

Luke Enriques, a sophomore politics major and Clark RHA representative said, “I am not going to sugar coat it, everyone knows that the freshman dorms have a better community and what we try to do at RHA is to continue that community that we started freshman year.” 

For the upcoming year, the representatives have plans for events all across campus. “We are trying to do something that might not be as grand,” Enriques said, “but is something that students can look fondly on and look forward to every other week.” 

One of RHA’s great qualities is that it is separate from RA hosted events and completely carried out by residents. 

“We wanted to make it as student-led and student driven as possible, because the goal is to have residents plan and execute events from their side of campus. It is supposed to be resident driven,” Vo said.  

Vo continued, “RAs do a lot to cultivate community, but there is something different about planning and executing events for your friends and for the other people that live in your hall with you … these are residents that live in these halls planning events that they would enjoy and that they think other people would enjoy too.”

Vo’s sentiment seems to extend to the resident representatives. Avila explained what motivated him to become involved in RHA. 

“The idea of seeing all the activities I organize affects the people around me: all my friends and all the people I care about,” Avila said. 

Through the many efforts of RHA, new and memorable events and activities will thrive across campus in the coming year. 

“We are trying to do something that might not be as grand,” Enriques said, “but is something that students can look fondly on and look forward to every other week.” 

Look out in the future for events being held by your RHA representatives.

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