Saturday, March 29, 2008

Meal Point Donation Drive


OnThursday, March 6, 2008, the University of Maryland Residence Hall Association (RHA), the Student Government Association (SGA), and the Department of Dining Services teamed up for a great cause. After several tornadoes devastated the campus of Union University in Jackson, Tennessee, student leaders united for a cause. Students with meal plans were able to donate one meal-point. Sumner Handy, President of the RHA commented: "It was a pleasure to work with SGA President Andrew Friedson on this endeavor, and even more satisfying to take the opportunity we had to help others in need."

Members of the RHA and SGA staffed the drive at the North Campus Diner and the South Campus Dining Hall, respectfully. On just one day their efforts managed to raise nearly $1,300.

If you’d like more information on this topic, or to schedule an interview with Seth Salver, please contact him at or visit our website at

Friday, March 28, 2008

Buried the Lead?

...all the way out of the paper?

Regarding this article, relative to the rest of the week's events, I am a bit disappointed. I spoke with author Carrie Wells last night and I asked her if she was writing a story on only the exemption policy, and she said yes, defending it by saying that since it was the first time it would be implemented, it's pretty important.

I don't disagree with her. I think the public should know. It's a clear policy, but it's a potentially controversial policy.

The real question is why Diamondback thought this was the story that should come out of Tuesday's RHA Senate meeting: a 5-minute explanation of a policy designed to provide on-campus students with the best leadership and to foster growth of that student leadership is the one and only RHA headline during a week where the Senate voted to launch a new campaign for more on-campus housing, voted to invite the residents of Courtyards Community to affiliate with the RHA, and heard nominations for President and Vice President of the RHA, to serve 2008-2009.

It's not that I think the exemption policy is not newsworthy; it's that I don't think it was more important than other items, and thus should not have been printed with priority.

Update: See the DBK's staff editorial here.

Posted by: Sumner Handy, President

Thursday, March 27, 2008

Wednesday, March 26, 2008

Courtyards Community Invitation

Last night, the RHA Senate passed a resolution that supports inviting the Courtyards Community to officially affiliate with the Residence Hall Association. If accepted, this will create a Courtyards Area Council that will include a President and one RHA Senator (voting member in the RHA Senate) per 250 residents, plus whatever positions the Council believes necessary and proper for the functioning of the council.

The resolution stipulates that the invitation be accepted by the residents of Courtyards via referendum, not by any supposedly representative body, any Courtyards staffer, or other entity. We are currently looking into the possibility of hosting this referendum within Testudo or via the Department of Resident Life's capabilities.

We hope that CTY (of which I am a resident) will accept our invitation. We believe that it will be mutually beneficial - RHA will benefit from a more diverse group of students at the table, and CTY will benefit from the RHA's already-constructed advocacy conduits.

Posted by: Sumner Handy

More Community, with Creativity

SGA Legislator Josh Swanner first brought up the idea of renaming South Campus Commons buildings with names of Muppet or Sesame Street characters. As of right now, a meeting with Department of Resident Life Associate Director for South Campus Cindy Felice and Director of Residential Facilities Jon Dooley yielded a denial of the proposal and a recommendation that Swanner compile a list of Maryland's most populous, non-governmental cities, by county, and include with it a list of state symbols. Swanner plans to meet with Felice and Dooley again soon to present this list.

Thank goodness for a little creativity. Too bad it's been diluted. Swanner is exactly right: numbered buildings are boring. While I'm not particularly partial to naming Commons 1 after Cookie Monster, I certainly would prefer that to calling it "The Aberdeen Building." But this state symbol idea has some merit. Oriole (state bird) Place? Skipjack (state boat) Hall? Or even "The Joust" (state sport)? Everyone would want to live there. I think these ideas get at what Swanner is talking about - add a little sense of community, a little fun, and the symbols are relevant to Maryland.

Concerns about whether or not new names will stick are understandable, but I think unfounded. Students are already calling our (the class of 2009, and maybe 2010, and older) beloved CRC by its new, official name, the ERC (Eppley Recreation Center).

Again, Swanner's brought up a cool community-building-centered conversation, but I think there's a more obvious place to start: South Campus Dining Hall. That's about as bland as you can get, as bad as or worse than naming Commons buildings with numbers. I think we should name SCDH after Pat Higgins, former Dining Services Director, who served UMD Dining for nearly half a century.

A sense of community is important to the thriving of any community, but this sense is especially important at a large, diverse university. Renaming Commons won't solve all our problems, but it can't hurt. Let's do this, and do it a little differently.

Posted by: Sumner Handy

Monday, March 24, 2008


Welcome to the new and official blog of the University of Maryland Residence Hall Association! We are happy that you've found us and taken the time to visit.

It is the belief of the current RHA Executive Board that it is always important to set out the goals of any new endeavor, to explain the principle by which decisions are made and opinions held. In light of this view, I will begin by setting forth the goals of this new blog.

First, this blog will become a portal through which resident students can peer into the current activities, thoughts, feelings, opinions, and otherwise of current RHA members. That is, a goal of this blog is to promote transparency.

Second, this blog will serve to relay official news from the RHA. While our website undergoes renovation and a transfer of servers, it is important that the RHA maintains a way to communicate important news items with its constituents.

Third, it is the opinion of the current RHA Executive Board that "student leader" has become, to a greater or lesser degree, a nebulous term and that students that are supposedly our peers can too often feel more like unreachable administrators than students who act directly on our behalf. Thus, a goal of this blog is to help to shrink, and hopefully eliminate, this sense of distance, lack of definition, and potential mistrust. In that vein, I refer you to the disclaimer found on this blog, and repeat a sentiment found there: the postings on this blog do not necessarily represent the opinions of the RHA as a whole organization, but only those opinions of the poster, unless otherwise stated. Official RHA releases will be noted as such. Blogs have many unique benefits. One of the best, in our opinion, is its property of a mixture of a journal/diary and official correspondence. Thus, connectedness and commentary are goals of this blog.

Fourth, and perhaps most importantly, we hope that this blog will continually contribute to and further conversations being had on campus. Hopefully the comments found on this blog will help to illuminate important perspectives and points and serve to improve life and culture here at the University of Maryland.

As for goals, those are the major ones. Others will certainly be filled along the way.

We thank you very much for visiting our new blog.

Posted by: Sumner Handy, President