Wednesday, September 24, 2008

DOTS to limit Parking Permits to underclassmen

The Department of Transportation Services (DOTS) has sold 600 fewer parking permits than last year due to construction taking place near Lot 1. There will be even fewer spaces in Lot 2 when construction starts on the new Denton community. Who does this affect?

The students of course but we have been provided a way to voice our opinions. Director of DOTS David Allen says this will especially affect freshmen and sophomores. Freshmen and sophomores have been able to register for permits in the past but now only a select few might be able to.

Here's where you and your Residence Hall Association (RHA) comes in. Director Allen will start dialogue with your elected representatives to decide who gets priority over parking spots.

How to be heard:
Get involved!

Read the Diamondback article. DOTS sold 600 fewer permits than last year - News

Posted by: Josef K. Mensah, Vice President

Tuesday, September 23, 2008

Your Execs Attend the Invitational Forum on Leadership Issues (iFli)

A few weeks ago your RHA execs were invited to attend the Invitational Forum on Leadership Issues (iFli) and decided this would be a great opportunity to connect with other student leaders around the campus as well as influential faculty members. Tonight proved that iFli was just that!

As mentioned, iFli consisted of representatives from various student leadership groups on campus, as well as an extensive list of important faculty members, including President Mote. The main focus of the forum was discussing the University's strategic plan. The overall goal of the strategic plan is to enhance every aspect of the University by giving specific bench marks and objectives to achieve these overall aspirations. Your student leaders were broken up according to issues brought up in the strategic plan and brainstormed, with your administrators, ideas of making all of this possible.

An issue that specifically concerns many students living both on and off campus that was discussed is transforming the surrounding community. Your RHA execs gave special voice to advocating for the development of East Campus and improving the Rt.1 area to foster this sense of community. Many students, and visitors, find the the College Park area to be rather sparse concerning the amount of activities available. The development of East Campus would bring along more high-end retail, nicer hotels, a variety of restaurants, entertainment and conference facilities. East Campus has the potential to transform downtown College Park into an admirable area that students and residents of the area could enjoy and take advantage of. Another issue your execs voiced their strong support for was increased housing both on and off campus. In order to embrace a feeling of community, students must feel comfortable in their housing options. Making more housing available to students off campus would help to alleviate the fear of making the transition from on to off campus housing. Additionally, providing more on campus housing would help to meet the strong demand of students who already enjoy living on campus more available. Among the other issues discussed were improving safety on and off campus, re-structuring the CORE general education requirements, and improvements to undergraduate and graduate education. Please take time to view the University's strategic plan at:

If you would like to voice your specific concerns or ideas about the strategic plan, please e-mail us at

Alicia Hartlove, Public Relations Officer

Friday, September 5, 2008

Interested in Progress and Change?

The Diamondback editorial printed on September 3rd, Call and Response discusses some of the efforts made by the Department of Resident Life to alleviate the housing crunch which everyone was so painfully aware of at our University.

The three main strategies employed by DRL were earlier notice, doubling up in some rooms in Courtyards, and limiting leasing in South Campus Commons. All three of these "solutions" were formulated in conjunction with the Residence Hall Association. The first was decided immediately after the April 2007 announcement, and the last two were suggested through legislation passed in the RHA senate during the 2007-2008 academic year. It is great to see the hard work of our student leaders recognized, and know that it is truly improving our campus.

These are perfect examples of how your representatives are working to better the lives of our 10,000 resident students. Do you see what you are capable of changing? Do you see the difference you can make for yourself and others? I encourage you all to get involved in our organization, you can truly be productive. If you want to represent your peers, apply for a hall or area council position on our website If you just want your voice heard, go and vote on September 16th and 17th for your representatives, and then let them know when an issue arises.

There are so many opportunities for University of Maryland students to BE INVOLVED!

We will have an Open House on September 10th at 7pm in the Cambridge Community Center if you have questions about different available positions in your community.
Any other questions, feel free to email us at

Posted by: Alex Beuchler, President

Tuesday, September 2, 2008

Welcome Back!

It's hard to believe the summer is over, but we are looking forward to a great and successful year for the RHA. Your execs have already been hard at work planning for the upcoming year. Tomorrow, Sept.3, the Diamondback will be featuring an editorial in the Opinion section about all the RHA accomplished last year, what we are looking ahead to, and finally some very important dates. Make sure you check it out, but if you can't, I've included it here:

The University of Maryland is no doubt a large and sometimes intimidating campus. With about 25,000 undergrads, over 300 student groups, 27 varsity sports teams and more than 100 majors, it is easy to slip through the cracks and go unnoticed. The beauty of this university, however, is that getting involved and voicing your opinions about issues you want to see changed or improved is extremely simple and even more gratifying. The University of Maryland’s Residence Hall Association strives to foster this mentality and aid the students’ voices in being heard and recognized by administrators.

The RHA is one of the most prestigious student government organizations that focuses primarily on issues concerning the on-campus student body. The organization is comprised of student representatives from the thirteen hall/area councils on campus. These students are elected to voice their constituents’ concerns and wishes to the university departments that deal with residential issues such as Resident Life, Residential Facilities, Transportation and Dining Services. As the premier lobbying group for residential students, the senators sit on committees where they directly meet with the directors of the four aforementioned departments. In addition to the policy-related branch of the RHA, the hall/area councils include other positions aimed at building a sense of community in their particular residential area and, ultimately, the campus as a whole.

In the past year, the RHA worked tirelessly to serve its constituents in order to bring about positive change and improvement around the campus. For example, you may have noticed “Late Night” at the diner appear during finals week last semester. The RHA heard the student population and successfully lobbied the Department of Dining Services to pilot this program for the first time ever. Also, in order to better convenience the student population, the RHA constantly met with the Department of Residential Facilities to push for wireless internet and peep-holes in all the residence halls. Thanks to your representatives, both of these amenities are now staples in the residence halls. Reforming Nite Ride has been another issue the RHA has continually voiced. Students were frustrated with the long wait time, and as a result, additional resources have been allocated to Nite Ride in order to improve upon this service. Also in the same realm of transportation issues, the RHA was the first student group to endorse the Campus Drive alignment of the Purple Line after several presentations and much contemplation. Underlying all of these accomplishments was the continual passage of legislation aimed at making our campus more “green.” In order to thoroughly tackle this initiative, the RHA created an ad-hoc sustainability committee which will serve as an advising group to the university departments.

Seeing students’ wishes recognized on campus is an exciting experience, and for that reason, the RHA is always looking forward to even more ways to serve the on campus population. This fall will be the first mixed-gender housing pilot to take place on campus, and the RHA is anxiously awaiting results to measure the success of the program we advocated for. While the RHA was triumphant in encouraging Dining Services to eliminate focus dates for sophomores, we will continue to advocate for the complete elimination of focus dates for all students. In reaction to the current exciting political climate, the RHA will also be working with Terps Vote, a committee armed with advocating for student involvement in the national elections. Finally, the RHA will continue to lobby the Board of Regents for more student housing in order to ensure that students can obtain the living experience they desire.

As you can see, the RHA is a great way to positively affect the on campus environment. Not only does the organization serve as a tool to mediate change, but is a great way to get involved, forge relationships, and make this large campus feel a bit smaller. To learn more about the RHA please visit and All are welcomed and encouraged to attend our open house on Wednesday, September 10th where students can ask specific questions and gain insight about each available position. Hall/Area Council elections will be taking place on Tuesday, September 16th and Wednesday, September 17th. Don’t miss out on an amazing opportunity to make a difference on your campus. After all, what have you got to lose?

Alicia Hartlove, Public Relations Officer